Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 21 grant requests totaling $6,935,250, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The requests include commitments to create a total of 616 jobs, 304 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $594 million in private investment. 

“Rural communities across North Carolina need support to make smart investments in infrastructure in order to boost economic development,” said Secretary Copeland. “The new grants approved by the Rural Infrastructure Authority will lead to the creation of good jobs, greater prosperity and, in some cases, improved access to health care.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s team of rural economic development professionals supports the Authority’s work. Authority members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs offered and managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, led by Deputy Secretary for Rural Economic Development and Workforce Solutions Napoleon Wallace and Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Kenny Flowers. Grants can support a variety of activities, including infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition, and site improvements.

“Local governments will gain greater capacity to help businesses locate and expand in rural North Carolina, thanks to the projects approved today,” said Assistant Secretary Flowers. “The Rural Economic Development Division at Commerce and the Rural Infrastructure Authority board are pleased to be able to partner with these communities to help them attract hundreds of new job opportunities.” 

The RIA approved 18 grants under the state’s Building Reuse Program in three categories:

Rural Health Category

  • City of Lenoir (Caldwell County): A $500,000 grant will support the new construction of a 16,400-square-foot health facility. Caldwell UNC Health Care will expand their operations to include psychiatric services with the new Dorothea Dix Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Unit of Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Funding for this facility includes a $4 million grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The project is expected to create 50 jobs and attract more than $5.4 million in private investment. 
  • Clay County: A $112,500 grant will support the new construction of a 7,000-square-foot health facility that Union General Hospital plans to open in Hayesville. Union General currently has 21 other operations. This new facility will assist patients seven days per week and provide basic lab, x-ray and ultrasound services. The project is expected to bring 9 jobs and more than $1.9 million in private investment to the area. 

Vacant Building Category 

  • Caswell County: A $120,000 grant will support the reuse of a 6,500-square-foot building in Yanceyville. Mesur.io, a company that provides agriculture-based businesses with automated data tracking, will locate in the facility. The company plans to create 10 jobs and invest $740,000 in the project.
  • Town of Long View (Catawba County): A $250,000 grant will support the renovation of an 80,000-square-foot building. OneH2, which manufactures zero-emission hydrogen gas along with gas storage and dispensing equipment, plans to make this facility a hub for serving its customers throughout the Southeast, creating an expected 21 jobs and investing $262,875 in the project.
  • Craven County: A $130,000 grant will support the reuse of a 17,700-square-foot building in New Bern. McGuckin & Pyle, a machinery manufacturer and structural components fabricator, plans to locate in the renovated facility. The company is expected to create 13 jobs and invest $1,859,518 in this project.
  • City of Rocky Mount (Nash County): A $55,000 grant will support the renovation of a 46,400-square-foot building into the Monk Hotel, a 64-room boutique hotel, which is set to include a restaurant. The name of the hotel pays homage to jazz legend Thelonious Monk, who was born in Rocky Mount. The project, which includes $4,057,500 in private investment, is expected to create 11 jobs. 
  • City of Archdale (Randolph County): A $150,000 grant will support the reuse of a 114,036-square-foot building. Ambella Home Collection, a wholesaler of high-quality home furnishings, plans to relocate their entire operation to the proposed facility. The company plans to create 12 jobs and invest $281,098 in the project.
  • City of Lumberton (Robeson County): A $25,000 grant will support the renovation of a 1,900-square-foot building for use by Cold Stone Creamery, a franchised ice cream shop. The project is expected to create 5 jobs and comes with $560,685 in private investment. 
  • Town of Elkin (Surry County): A $125,000 grant will support the reuse of a 19,500-square-foot building. ACC Coatings, which manufactures water-based, food grade liquid coatings for direct food contact applications, plans to relocate their entire operation from New Jersey to this facility, creating 10 jobs and investing $1,059,641.

Existing Building Category

  • Town of Mocksville (Davie County): A $212,000 grant will support the renovation of a 194,000-square-foot building that is occupied by Comfort Bilt. A subsidiary of Larson Manufacturing, Comfort Bilt is a manufacturer of storm door and storm window products and plans to expand production in the facility, creating an expected 17 jobs and investing $538,001.
  • Forsyth County: A $200,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Kernersville occupied by Grass America, a manufacturer of functional hardware and accessories for kitchen, bath and office facilities. The company will add 74,000 square feet to their facility, with plans to create 23 jobs and invest $29,002,395 in this project.
  • Madison County: A $350,000 grant will support the expansion of a 27,934-square-foot building in Marshall that is occupied by Buchi Tea, which manufacturers brewed kombucha beverages. The company plans to add 28 jobs and invest $674,700 in the project.
  • City of Asheboro (Randolph County): A $250,000 grant will support the expansion of a building where PEMMCO Manufacturing, a precision machining company offering a variety of services from concept design to final assembly, plans to add 15,000 square feet to their existing facility. The project is expected to create 20 jobs, with an investment of $553,000 by the company.
  • Randolph County: A $60,000 grant will support the renovation of a 43,468-square-foot building in Asheboro. FPE NC, a plastic injection molding company that serves the medical device, energy, industrial and automotive markets, plans to create 12 jobs and invest $367,464 in the project at this facility. 
  • Randolph County: A $300,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Liberty that is occupied by Talbert Manufacturing. The company engineers and manufactures a variety of heavy capacity trailers and transportation equipment and will add 52,000 square feet to their existing facility, creating 24 jobs and investing $2,982,741.
  • City of Trinity (Randolph County): A $55,000 grant will support the expansion of a building that is occupied by Trinity Furniture. The company, which manufactures furniture for healthcare, university, judicial, military and office environments, will add 6,400 square feet to their existing facility. Trinity Furniture plans to add 11 jobs while investing $254,785. 
  • City of Albemarle (Stanly County): A $160,000 grant will support the expansion of a 137,652-square-foot building that is occupied by Enforge, a supplier of safety critical suspension and structural components for the automotive industry. The company is expected to create 33 jobs and invest $4,074,324 in the expansion project.
  • Wayne County: A $500,000 grant will support the renovation of a building in Dudley, where Case Farms, a poultry farming and processing company, is set to add 147,000 square feet to their existing facility. The expansion is expected to result in the creation of 44 jobs and private investment totaling $48,885,350.

The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand buildings occupied by existing North Carolina companies, and renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new jobs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and in rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.

The RIA approved one request under the state’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - Economic Development program:

  • Person County: A $1 million grant will support the upfitting of a vacant, 400,000-square-foot industrial building for use by Polywood. The company is a leader in eco-friendly patio furniture, producing outdoor products made from recycled plastic lumber. The upgrades to the facility are expected to allow for the creation of 230 jobs and attract $35 million in private investment.

The Community Development Block Grant program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program administered in part by N.C. Commerce. CDBG’s economic development funds provide grants to local governments for creating and retaining jobs. Project funding is based on the number of jobs to be created and the level of economic distress of applicant communities.

The RIA approved two requests under the state’s Industrial Development Fund - Utility Account program:

  • City of Greensboro (Guilford County): A $1.5 million grant request that will provide new sewer infrastructure to support Publix as the supermarket chain locates a new regional distribution center in Greensboro that will include over 1.8 million square feet in refrigerated and dry goods space. The company is investing $300 million in the project.
  • Transylvania County: An $880,750 grant request that will support the extension of the Town of Rosman's sewer infrastructure to serve Gaia Herbs, an herbal supplement manufacturer that is one of the county's largest private-sector employers. The project will allow the company to expand its operations, adding 33 jobs and investing $55,487,457. 

The Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account provides grants to local governments located in the 80 most economically distressed counties of the state, which are classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2. Funds may be used for publicly-owned infrastructure projects that are reasonably expected to result in new job creation. The IDF – Utility Account is funded through a process tied to the state’s signature Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. When JDIG-awarded companies choose to locate or expand in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 county, a portion of that JDIG award is channeled into the Utility Account.

In addition to reviewing and approving funding requests, the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority formulates policies and priorities for grant and loan programs administered by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development team. Its 16 voting members are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem. The North Carolina Secretary of Commerce serves as a non-voting member of the Authority.

For additional information about N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division, visit www.nccommerce.com/rd

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