Toyota-to-Greensboro megasite incentives could become final next week

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(WGHP) — The plans for Toyota and Panasonic to build an electric vehicle battery-manufacturing facility at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite could gain significant momentum in meetings scheduled for next week.

Two government boards will consider incentives that could be offered to complete the deal for the companies to invest more than $1 billion to build their facility on 1,000-plus acres near Liberty.

There will be special meetings of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, at 9 a.m. Monday, and the Greensboro City Council, at 10 a.m. Monday, to review specific steps and incentives related to the project.

Toyota and Panasonic could open an electric-vehicle battery production facility on the megasite near Liberty.

And the NC Department of Commerce’s Economic Investment Committee also will meet by teleconference on both Monday (11 a.m.) and Wednesday (10 a.m.). That board could review incentives and be a final milepost to an announcement.

Toyota Motor North America had announced Oct. 18 that it would build such a facility in the U.S. to begin production in 2025, starting with batteries for hybrid electric vehicles.

Toyota said it would invest $3.4 billion in the U.S. through 2030, including an initial plan to spend $1.3 billion for a plant that would employ 1,750.

Then last month the NC General Assembly  approved $338 million toward improvements that could lure a manufacturer to the megasite and specified site development and incentives for a company that would invest at least $1 billion and create 1,750 jobs.

Both Bloomberg News and Automotive News have reported that Toyota has selected North Carolina, which was runner-up for the Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plant in 2018. Toyota said it would select its site by the end of the year.

Randolph County commissioners will take comment and ostensibly vote on the transfer of ownership of county property and to grant economic development tax cuts for a project that matches those specified by the state.

Greensboro will consider a resolution to authorize non-assessment of water/sewer development fees. The city is contracted to provide those services for the megasite.

The Army Corps also on Monday also will conclude a public comment period about its environmental approval of the facility.

The state has budgeted to spend about $135 million this fiscal year for site development, $100 million to mitigate wetlands and $35 million for roadwork and more wetlands. There is $185 million to reimburse the manufacturer for costs of further site work, roadwork and wetlands mitigation as needed.

The megasite’s loss to Alabama in 2018 for the Toyota-Mazda facility largely has been attributed to Toyota’s having its supply chain in place there.

But John Boyd Jr., principal in the Boyd Company, a New Jersey-based site selection firm who works heavily in the electronic vehicle segment and in North Carolina, told WGHP last week that he “would not be surprised in the least for North Carolina to get this trophy project.

“Unlike prior misses [by North Carolina], the EV sector is one that requires just a small fraction of the supply of parts that go into a combustible engine,” Boyd said. “The supply chain is not nearly as much of a driver as it was on those near misses.”

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