Brittney  Burns – Staff Writer

The Macon County Board of Commissioners entered into a public/private partnership with a private business to bring jobs and economic boom to the county.

“This grant is allowing a private business to locate in the currently vacant SKF building and will bring $1.7 million in annual payroll and $3.2 million in building value,” said Macon County Commissioner Kevin Corbin. “This is an example of how local government can partner with private business to bring jobs and further improve the local economy.”

The business looking to expand into the SKF building will be announced later this month, but has been operating in Macon County for more than 30 years. The company currently employs 70 people and will be adding more to cover the expansion.

“We have a company that’s looking to expand into the old SKF building, which I think everybody’s familiar with at the industrial park, that building is available,” said Corbin. “This business would be adding an estimated 35 jobs to our local economy.”

The company will be adding employees through 2020 with the salary for the positions being added ranging from $48,886 to $55,000, a total additional payroll of $1,711,000 for Macon County.

“If you look at the average wage of the jobs added, it will create an additional payroll in the county $1.7 million,” Corbin said. “Then, we also talked about the property itself. If you take just the property, which is now an abandoned building, just the value of the building and the equipment this company’s going to put in there, we’ll get our money back in two years, just for that.”

To help make the expansion possible, Macon County approved $30,000 in matching dollars for a $120,000 One NC Grant out of contingency dollars in this year’s budget.

“This one was one that fit that particular business perfectly,” said Corbin. “It’s a 3:1 match, the grant is $120,000, so the county match would be a $30,000 investment upfront one time that’s not recurring. We feel certain after talking to the company and looking at their track record this is a great fit for our county.”

In 2016, the company plans to invest $2,000,000 in expanding the business, with $300,000 invested each year through 2020, bringing a five-year total economic investment into the county at $3,200,000.

The former SKF plant has been vacant since SKF closed in early 2014. The expansion will allow the company to add a new automation line to improve the product quality and renovate the entire building to improve energy utilization through new lighting, drop ceilings and a new HVAC System. The renovations will include converting 15,000 square feet into new office space, removing all the equipment currently in the building and was used by SKF. The company will also create a reduced ESD (electrostatic discharge) environment, critical for electrical manufacturing, and will also be renovating the existing office area to provide training areas for customers that use their products.