Greensboro may soon be getting 1,000 “very well paying jobs,” according to Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
Publix Super Markets Inc. is considering a site on Birch Creek Road near US 70 for a new 1.8-million-square-foot distribution center.
According to a public notice advertisement for the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 20, the City Council will hold a public hearing on granting up to $17.7 million in economic incentives to Publix in addition to spending about $3 million to extend water and sewer to the site. Vaughan said the city was expecting to get some help from the state on extending the water and sewer and that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners would also be considering incentives for Publix in the future.
Vaughan said that Publix was looking at two other sites for the proposed distribution center but that she believed Greensboro was the front-runner.
Vaughan wouldn’t translate “very well paying” into dollars and cents but said the salaries would be above the median income in Greensboro.
The 350-acre site is currently in unincorporated Guilford County on land owned by Roy Carroll, who also owns this newspaper. Carroll said, “I would say that this is a home run for the city if we are able to get this Publix distribution center.”
If the deal goes through, Publix would apply for annexation and, after annexation, the facility will be in District 1 represented by City Councilmember Sharon Hightower.
Bringing jobs to east Greensboro has been one of the often-stated goals of the current City Council and this would be the biggest influx of jobs at one location in over a decade.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, talking about the support for the proposed incentives, said, “I can’t speak for anyone else on the council, but I have a feeling that everyone wants this to happen. We are all about creating the environment to create jobs.”
Abuzuaiter added, “People have to understand that they don’t get the incentives until they do everything they said they were going to do.”
When asked how long the city has been working on this project, Vaughan said, “I think it’s safe to say over a year.”
Councilmember Justin Outling described the announcement as “wonderful news for Greensboro.” He also said it was his understanding that the final decision would be made by Publix some time this summer.
Officials from Publix are expected to be at the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 20 to officially request the incentive package.
Vaughan said that although the incentive may sound high, it is based on the estimated $400 million capital investment, the 1,000 jobs and the wages.
Vaughan said, “It would be great for Greensboro and Guilford County to bring the distribution center here. Publix is an employee-owned company with very well paying jobs.”
One of the ancillary benefits of having the Publix Distribution Center here according to Vaughan is that “It only makes sense for Publix to locate grocery stores close to the distribution center.” It has already been announced that a new Publix would be opening in the Grandover Village shopping center and Vaughan said she understood another Publix store for Greensboro was in the planning stages. She said it had been frustrating to hear complaints about not having a Publix in Greensboro when she knew there was a much bigger deal in the works but was unable to talk about it.