The big news from the official announcement at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6 at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite was not that Toyota Battery Manufacturing Inc. was coming to the site, because that story had been confirmed earlier in the day.

The big news was the future commitment of Toyota to the megasite and North Carolina.

Chris Reynolds, chief administrative officer for Toyota Motor North America, talked about Toyota’s commitment to electric vehicles and to North Carolina and Toyota’s plans for long term growth in electric vehicle production.  Then he said, “I’m trying to be as clear as I can, this is only the first chapter in our story in North Carolina.”

The first chapter is a huge win, with Toyota committing to spend $1.29 billion and bring at least 1,750 new jobs to the area to manufacture lithium batteries for electric vehicles.  The first battery is scheduled to roll off the line in 2025.

For phase one, Randolph County is transferring ownership of about 625 acres of the 1,825 acre megasite to Toyota, which gives some indication of the expansion possibilities at the megasite after the first phase is complete.

In phase two of the project, Toyota would bring the job total to 3,875 and the investment to $3 billion.

Chair of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners Darrell Frye, who has been involved in the megasite from the beginning, including the big disappointment four years ago when Toyota chose Alabama over Randolph County for a vehicle manufacturing plant, said, “I never once thought this day wouldn’t get here.”

Frye said that two themes of the day would be that this is a “transformative project” and “we wouldn’t be here today without …”

Frye noted that the Randolph County commissioners had bought the first acre that now makes up the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.

And Frye was the first of many to thank Jim Melvin and the Bryan Foundation for the unwavering support of the megasite over its 10-year history.

Machelle Sanders, the North Carolina secretary of commerce, said, “The company we are celebrating today could have gone anywhere in the world but they chose North Carolina to call home.”

Gov. Roy Cooper said, “It’s tremendous that Toyota has selected North Carolina for such an important part of its electric vehicle future, creating good paying jobs and moving us toward a healthier environment. It’s clear the world is beginning to embrace a clean energy future and today’s decision puts North Carolina front and center.”

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan spent most of her time at the podium thanking people and noted that there were a lot of people to thank for their work during the past 10 years to bring this transformative project to the area.

Reynolds, when he spoke, noted that the regional cooperation and the bipartisan support for the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite were major factors in Toyota’s decision.

The North Carolina Railroad Company, which provided funding to buy about two-thirds of the site, also received a lot a praise and, when he spoke, Melvin thanked former North Carolina Gov. John Motley Morehead for founding the North Carolina Railroad in 1849.