If you ever suspect that economic development incentives are a present for a company that’s already decided to come to an area, rather than a carrot to entice them to come – well, here’s some new evidence to back you up on that.
The case is made clear by two news reports two weeks apart about Key Risk Insurance Co.’s move to High Point.
In the first article, in the Triad Business Journal on May 28, Scott Holbrook, the president of Key Risk Insurance Co., went on and on about how his company will locate in high Point. There’s no mention of incentives.
The Business Journal stated that Key Risk Insurance Co. – which specializes in workers compensation – will move into space at 275 N. Elm in downtown High Point and that Key Risk has finalized an agreement to move into about 25,000 square feet combined on the second and third floors of the North Elm St. building that’s just behind the centerfield wall of the new baseball stadium in downtown High Point.
Holbrook “confirmed” to Triad Business Journal that Key Risk’ would move into the building. He said completion of the office space is expected in March of next year. Holbrook also said it’s possible the company could add even more space.
“We’re going all in on High Point,” Holbrook told the Business Journal at another point in the article. “We couldn’t be more thrilled. We’re really betting on the long-term vision of the development.”
That was in late May, and the article in the Journal makes it crystal clear that Key Risk is coming to High Point.
Now, here’s the June 13 article in the High Point Enterprise. It comes two weeks later and is based on a public hearing notice from the city. Everything is very hush-hush and the city is presenting it as though the deal could hinge on whether or not the city provides the company incentives.
The article states: “The city may offer incentives to a company that is considering leasing office space in a mixed-use building under construction next to Truist Point stadium. A legal notice from the city that was published Thursday states that the company, which was not identified, proposes to lease 21,645 square feet of class A office space at 275 N. Elm St.”
The High Point City Council scheduled a public hearing for June 21 to consider authorizing incentives for the company.
On Wednesday, June 24, the High Point City Council unanimously approved $1.17 million in incentives for Key Risk to hopefully entice the company to decide to open shop in High Point.
Or, in reality, the City Council voted to give away a million-plus in taxpayer money for nothing in return.