By Thomas Sherrill, The News Reporter
An industrial park that overlaps the Brunswick-Columbus county line on U.S. 74-76 will have its first tenant — a high-precision component parts company that will invest more than $9.3 million, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday. Precision Swiss Products, Inc. will locate its headquarters and manufacturing facility in the International Logistics Park by the end of the year, according to the announcement. The company will be on the Brunswick County side of the park, but Columbus County will share in the property tax proceeds because of an agreement between the two counties. Columbus County Economic Development Director Gary Lanier said Tuesday that, while the negotiations were mainly between Precision and economic developers in Brunswick County, Columbus should benefit from the company’s relocation. “Our friends in Brunswick Industrial Development have been working with this company for well over a year,” Lanier said. “We knew it was getting close to working out.” According to Cooper’s statement, “Precision Swiss Products is a major producer of small, high precision parts for the aerospace, medical device and semiconductor industries.
A rendering of the International Commerce Center, a spec building under construction by Cameron Management Company in the International Logistics Park of North Carolina, which overlaps the Columbus-Brunswick County line.
Columbus Jobs Foundation Chair Les High, referring to the Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park, located on the north side of U.S. 74-76 in Brunswick County. “The partnership we have with Brunswick County benefits both in a number of ways, but notably it has the potential to create large-scale employment for both counties.” High is also publisher of The News Reporter. The agreement with Precision happened in part because Columbus and Brunswick counties finished a “big push,” as Lanier called it, to get water and sewer interlocal agreements signed off by each county’s commissioners. Lanier said that Precision will move into a 60,000-square-foot building that Cameron Management Group of Wilmington constructed on spec and marketed as the International Commerce Center. The building is under construction with a tentative finish date of November. “They’re pouring the footings this week,” Lanier said, noting that it took 12–18 months to get steel for the building. High wages Cooper’s statement says that Precision’s average annual salary for all new positions is $54,025, well above the Columbus County average wage of $35,138. “The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s efforts to support PSP’s decision to locate to North Carolina. The new jobs will employ highly skilled machinists, shipping and receiving workers, quality control personnel, executive and administrative staff,” Cooper’s statement said. Lanier said Precision could be a landing point for graduates of Southeastern Community College, specifically in mechatronics, electrical engineering and other such programs. “These are not entry-level jobs; these are high-tech, high paying manufacturing jobs,” Lanier said. Lanier thanked the Columbus County Board of Commissioners and County Manager Eddie Madden for their support, explaining that he gave them updates during closed sessions in recent months. “It’s very clear to me they are focused on doing whatever is necessary to attract good quality jobs like these,” Lanier said. County incentives As far as incentives, Lanier said most of them come from the Brunswick side of the agreement and he couldn’t speak on them, explaining that the state-level incentives were more important. Lanier said that soon an incentive package will go in front of the Columbus County Commissioners after it is approved first by the Brunswick County Commissioners. Cooper’s statement said the expansion is facilitated in part by a Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier Tuesday. “Over the course of the 10-year term of the grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by more than $301 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 125 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,779,000 spread over 10 years,” the governor’s statement explained. Columbus County’s Tier 1 economic distress ranking means that the Job Development Investment Grant precludes Precision from making a contribution into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account.