Proving that August can provide good news, Publix made it official Wednesday, August 29 that it would be building a $400 million refrigerated distribution center in Greensboro and creating 1,000 jobs averaging $45,000 a year.
In March, the Greensboro City Council voted to offer Publix between $14 million and $17 million in economic incentives, and in April the Guilford County Board of Commissioners followed with an offer that is estimated to result in $17 million in economic incentives.
At the time, the only problem was that Publix said it wouldn’t make the final announcement until August, and Publix made that deadline with a couple of days to spare.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “It was a great collaboration between the city, the county and the state. Publix will offer the types of jobs we’re looking for with starting salaries at $42,000 plus benefits. They usually promote from within so there’s room for growth and it’s employee owned.”
The Publix distribution center will be built on 350 acres on Birch Creek Road near US 70 in east Greensboro, owned or controlled by Roy Carroll, the CEO of the Carroll Companies and publisher of this newspaper. Carroll – who of late has been known for his commitment to downtown Greensboro with Center Pointe and the soon to come on line Carroll at Bellemeade, which includes a Hyatt Place Hotel and about 300 apartments – has now extended his reach to what will be after annexation the very eastern edge of Greensboro.
Gov. Roy Cooper, who made the announcement at the annual State of Our Community Luncheon on Wednesday, August 29, held by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce at the Koury Convention Center, said that it took a great deal of cooperation to land Publix. President of the Chamber Brent Christensen thanked Carroll in particular for putting the land together for the project.
At 1.8 million square feet it will be the largest distribution center in the area and is projected to open in 2022.
Cooper and Vaughan were right about cooperation; along with the city and county incentives, the state put together a $16 million incentive package. Greensboro, in addition to the incentives, agreed to run a $3 million sewer line to the site.
And it was a good time for some good news. Earlier this month VF announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters to Denver. The loss in jobs isn’t great, an estimated 85, but the loss in prestige is considerable. In January of this year it was announced that the Toyota-Mazda plant, which people who claimed to be in the know were certain was coming to the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, announced it would be building that facility in Alabama. So Greensboro has had some disappointments. And despite the fact that everyone said Publix was coming, some folks were holding their breath this time until the official announcement was made.
On the upside, VF is spinning its denim division off, moving Lee to Greensboro to combine with Wrangler in a new corporation. FedEx has announced that it is doubling its workforce at the airport by adding 400 new jobs, and Amazon hasn’t announced it yet, but is reportedly building a distribution center in Kernersville that is also in Guilford County.
It looks like the area is going to make a transition from being a manufacturing center to a distribution center.