Guilford County has had a fantastic run when it comes to attracting economic development projects in recent years, but area leaders and business recruitment officials say there’s a lot more where that came from.
Based on conversations that remain hush hush, area leaders say they expect a lot more companies to start new projects with more jobs for Greensboro, High Point, Guilford County and Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA).
It’s already clear that the megasite at PTIA is having no trouble finding tenants. Boom Supersonic’s half-billion-dollar project was followed by other projects including the recent one being brought by Marshall Aerospace USA, a defense contractor that’s investing $50 million and bringing 240 new jobs to the airport site. In Greensboro, a bio-tech company working on cutting-edge treatments for kidney disease, ProKidney, is coming to Greensboro with a nearly half-billion-dollar investment and 330 new jobs. In September, a Netherlands-based furniture company will make High Point the headquarters of its US operations.
Those are just a few examples of how much it has been raining business in the county and, as everyone knows, when it rains it pours.
Area leaders who are in on the talks to bring companies here say that, based on current discussions, they expect to see a lot more announcements of new companies and new projects coming to the county.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said the county has had a very positive run lately, but the well is anything but dry.
“There’s a lot in the pipeline,” Alston said.
Before companies announce an intent to locate a major project in Guilford County, they typically seek incentives from the county and the relevant city. Alston said that, in those ongoing conversations – which happen behind closed doors due to the nature of business recruitment – there’s a whole lot of interest in Guilford County.
Before Marshall announced its choice of PTIA for its large new project, PTIA Executive Director Keven Baker told the Rhino Times that airport officials were in contact with a good number of companies taking a very serious look at the megasite. He also said that there were several companies that he felt confident would choose PTIA and that talks were going well in the other cases.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan also said she’s extremely excited about what’s on the horizon given the amount of interest in the city and the surrounding area. She said that, over the years, a great deal of time and effort has gone into making these current economic development wins possible. She said area leaders had been working together well for a long time to lay the groundwork for the current boom. About eight years ago, Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County went in together to form the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA) and work together rather than pursue their own agendas with little communication between the players.
Vaughan said what’s happening in Greensboro and the surrounding area is similar to something Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines says of the major economic investment wins in that city.
“He calls it ‘a 20-year overnight success,’” she said.
Vaughan said big economic announcements in this area have become so commonplace that people seem to be getting used to the good news.
“We’ve had a couple of good announcements every month,” she said, “Sometimes it appears to be that people don’t even hear them.”