Around the Region: Business publication names N.C. ‘State of the Year’

Published 6:24 pm Thursday, August 16, 2012

North Carolina has been named the “State of the Year” for 2012 by Southern Business & Development, a publication focusing on economic development in the south.
Southern Business & Development ranked states based on the number of economic development projects secured in 2011 that will create a minimum of 200 jobs and/or $30 million in investment. North Carolina topped southern states last year with 89 projects that met the threshold. The economic development projects covered a wide range of sectors, including furniture, data centers, headquarters, financial services, health care, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, biotech and automotive. North Carolina previously took the publication’s top spot in 2005 and 2006.
In addition to the top overall ranking this year, two of North Carolina’s metro areas were recognized for economic development projects in 2011. Charlotte was named the 2012 Major Market of the Year and Greensboro-High Point took the top spot in the Mid-Market category.
– source: N.C. Department of Commerce, 8-14-12
Cleveland County will gain more than 300 jobs in the next four years as Schletter begins operations at its new U.S. headquarters in Shelby. The German company, which designs and builds solar panel mounting systems, plans to purchase a 100,000-square-foot building at the Foothills Commerce Center and invest more than $27 million. The company’s plans represent the largest economic development project in the county in six years.
The average wage at the Shelby facility will be $40,660, plus benefits. That exceeds the county average of $32,760.
Fletcher added that the majority of the partnership’s clients now are international.
– source:, 8-13-12
Sierra Nevada says it plans to open its new brewing operation in Mills River, N.C. a few months earlier than previously announced. The California-based company moved up its opening date from November 2013 to July of next year.
Sierra Nevada announced in January that it was choosing Western North Carolina for its first plant on the East Coast. The brewery will be constructed at the Ferncliff Industrial Park in Henderson County, along with a visitor’s center that will include a restaurant and tasting room. Grading work has already been completed at the site.
Sierra Nevada said it plans to hire about 60 production workers next spring to get operations started at the Mills River plant. The next wave of hiring will come around the end of next year when the company plans to hire about 75 more workers for guest services. Blue Ridge Community College is assisting the company with job placement, along with the Hendersonville office of the N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions.
– source: Hendersonville Times-News, 8-14-12
Sierra Nevada also recently announced that it supplied a $7,000 grant to the Western North Carolina Alliance to complete the second phase of a water quality monitoring program on the French Broad River. The program’s aim is to identify sources of bacteria in the river. The WNC Alliance says bacteria impairment in area streams often comes from sewage or animal waste, which can make humans sick and harm aquatic life.
In the first phase of the program, the French Broad riverkeeper collected more than 550 samples from the Swannanoa River watershed and found that 42 percent of the collection sites were classified as high risk.
– source: Hendersonville Times News, 8-14-12
Michell Hicks, the principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is planning to meet with the owner of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad to discuss ways to expand the scenic tourist railway to Cherokee, N.C.
Al Harper, owner of the railroad, says he looks forward to the meeting, although he acknowledges the lack of railroad tracks in Cherokee presents an obstacle. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad currently runs from Bryson City, N.C. to Whittier, N.C., veering away from Cherokee. At least six or seven miles of new track would be needed to reach Cherokee.
– source: www.smokymountain, 8-8-12
The late Dr. Addison Mangum of Albermarle, N.C. left his entire estate, valued at more than $3 million, to the North Carolina Zoological Society. The gift is the largest single donation in the 44-year history of the society, which supports the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.
Mangum, a retired radiologist and Air Force veteran, who died in April at the age of 78, did not place any restrictions on how the money is to be used by the nonprofit.  Cheryl Turner, interim executive director of the zoological society, said the zoo is working with the executor of Mangum’s estate to determine how to permanently recognize Mangum’s gift.
– source: Charlotte Observer, 8-8-12
The N.C. Court of Appeals backed a trail court ruling that said Henderson County should receive a bond associated with the failed Seven Falls development. The county said it plans to use the $6 million bond to complete infrastructure work, primarily on roads, water and sewer, that wasn’t completed by the developer.
In 2008, Henderson County approved a development agreement for Seven Falls that called for 700 single home lots, 164 townhomes, 24 lodge and inn rooms, 36 condominiums and a golf club. However, work on the subdivision stalled in 2009.
– source: Hendersonville Times News, 8-8-12
A dozen golf courses in the Carolinas made Golf Magazine’s recent ranking of the 100 best courses you can play in the country. The ranking focused on courses that can be played without a membership or an invite from a member.
Pinehurst No. 2 ranked third and The Ocean Course at Kiawah was fifth. They were joined on the list by Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, the Dunes Golf & Beach Club, May River Country Club, Barefoot Resort’s Davis Love III course, Tobacco Road, The Dormie Club, Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head, Linville Golf Club, Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club and Pinehurst Resort No. 8.
– source: Charlotte Observer, 8-10-12
Battleship North Carolina is planning $2.5 million in renovations so it can host overnight visitors. The renovations are aimed at letting groups, such as the Boy Scouts, get a taste of life on the historic vessel, while providing another revenue stream for the ship, which is moored across from downtown Wilmington.
The project includes renovations to two berthing areas, one that includes stacked beds where sailors slept during World War II and another off the engine room where engineers slept.  The two berthing areas combined will have beds for 130 people. In addition, the ward room, where officers ate meals, will be restored to its original state.
– source:, 8-7-12
The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville surpassed its $21.5 million fundraising goal thanks to a $1 million contribution from CertusBank. The donation will be used to upgrade The Huguenot Loft, which previously was dropped from the Peace Center’s renovation plans because of budget limitations. The loft will now be called the Certus Loft. The renovations will include a glass wall on the second floor, a stairway from the main entrance to the loft, a new awning and signage, a catering kitchen and service elevator. The Peace Center will continue booking events at Certus Loft as permitted by construction. No completion date has been set for the work. CertusBank President Angela Webb said the Peace Center “has a tremendous impact on local economic development,” which is vital to the success of the bank.
– source:, 7-13-12

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