Morrisville mulls incentives for company

aramos@newsobserver.comOctober 11, 2013 

— The town is partnering with the N.C. Department of Commerce in hopes of luring a medical device company that could eventually bring 125 jobs.

If the company comes to Morrisville, this will be the town’s biggest incentives-based project since Lenovo in 2005.

Because negotiations are still underway, the company’s name hasn’t been made public. For now, officials are calling it Project Wolverine.

The Morrisville Town Council will hold a public hearing Oct. 22 on a proposal togivethe company $200,000 over a three-year period, said Carlotta Ungaro, president of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, which handles economic development for the town. The council is expected to take a final vote in November.

If the deal goes through, Morrisville would match incentives given through the state’s One North Carolina Fund, Ungaro said.

The company would plan to create 75 jobs in three years and 125 jobs in five years, she said. The jobs would carry an average salary of more than $80,000.

“Morrisville has a strong workforce to support this industry, so it is a good fit,” Ungaro said in an email.

The company, which is looking at space in Perimeter Park, is expected to invest about $23 million, according to Ungaro. The project would add about $100,000 to Morrisville’s tax base.

Morrisville used incentives in the past to lure tech giant Lenovo.

Lenovo moved its corporate headquarters from Durham to Morrisville in 2007, bringing about 1,800 jobs to town. The company received about $1.1 million from Wake County and the same amount from Morrisville. Incentives included tax breaks, grants and job training.

Shortly after moving in, Lenovo cut 300 jobs. Unable to meet the deal’s 11-year timetable to add 400 positions by 2011, the company returned $8.4 million in state grant money.

Aerocrine, a Swedish medical technology company, received state incentives to relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Morrisville in 2012.

The company, which focuses on improving the treatment of patients with airway diseases such as asthma, is eligible to receive $50,000 from the One North Carolina Fund if it adds 45 jobs by 2015 and invests $219,000 in Wake County facilities. Morrisville did not provide any local incentives.

Ungaro is working on at least two other deals that could net Morrisville about 115 jobs, according to her quarterly report before the council on Oct. 8.

One challenge has been the federal government shutdown, which Ungaro said is making investors and companies cautious.

Staff writer David Bracken contributed to this report.

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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