When Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) started buying up land and began building a giant empty 1000-acre aviation megasite with a taxiway bridge over a highway, there were a lot of skeptics who thought it might turn out poorly like some other megasite projects across the state have famously done.
However, now that the site is open to takers, it’s become crystal clear that nothing could be further from the truth.
The site is booming – with one company even having “boom” in its name – and the airport is about to get busier due to the impending arrival of the new “Project Sage.”
On Thursday, July 13, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will vote on an incentives package for the new project. Though the county has not made public the company behind the project, it’s believed to be an expansion of Honda Jet’s operations at PTIA.
The Board is being asked to hold a hearing to receive public input on the proposed allocation of $712,820 in taxpayer money in return for the following: “Project Sage is considering a location at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, in addition to other options within the United States, for a projected investment of $55,700,000 and the creation of 280 new jobs. The company is also requesting state and other local incentives before making a location decision. The local approval of incentives does not commit the company to locate in North Carolina.”
In other words – based on the long history of these types of incentives deals in Guilford County – the company is already definitely putting the project at PTIA and the requested incentives are definitely going to pass.
Up until the incentives are officially approved by all parties, the company is legally required to pretend as though it’s looking at other options – if it wants to qualify for the money.
Even though it’s a matter of simply rubber stamping the deal at this point, North Carolina General Statue 158-7.1 requires that the Board of Commissioners hold a public hearing to get input from both sides and then consider approval of the economic development incentive grant for Project Sage.
After the board votes to approve on July 13, the board will authorize county staff to “execute grant agreements in accordance with terms and conditions of the proposal consistent with the County’s economic development incentive policy.”