Apr
05

Business Development Open Thread

By

“Victory has a thousand fathers”, said John F. Kennedy, and this week has made it plain that, in Asheville’s economic development, this couldn’t be more true.

Linamar, based in Canada but with 39 factories based in 11 countries, opened their plant yesterday in south Asheville. By the end of the year they’ll be employing 140 local workers in family-wage, career track manufacturing jobs. It took an enormous network of partners to make this happen from the NC Department of Commerce to the Asheville City Council. The Economic Development Coalition of Buncombe County wooed them, and the Buncombe County Commissioners, along with the state and city, came on board with a competitive incentive package. Volvo and Caterpillar signed contracts with Linamar for products, and suppliers made sure they got what they needed. Linamar is going to invest a minimum of $125 million in the plant over the next five years and employ 400 people. At yesterday’s Grand Opening, executives were already discussing expansion of the plant in the near future.

Today there’s going to be a big announcement, too. Come down to the Chamber of Commerce at 4pm if you’d like a front row seat. Ride your bike if you can, because the matter at hand will have permanent effects on our multimodal transportation network in addition to our employment universe. As with Linamar, it’s taken an enormous amount of team play to coax the group to Asheville. Private and public entities have focused like an effervescent laser beam. More details later, but suffice to say there will be jobs and an historic investment. Any economic incentives offered will have to be disclosed and voted upon in open meetings of public bodies.

Lots of folks have differing opinions about tax incentives, which these days most often take the form of tax abatements, but everyone’s got the same opinion about good jobs. We like ‘em.

This is your thread. Opine wildly.