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Union County a finalist for $140M printing, data center project

21 April 2015

By Adam Bell, The Charlotte Observer

Union County is a finalist for a $140 million printing and data center project that would create 250 jobs over the next five years, officials said Tuesday.

This would be the second biggest economic development project in county history, said Chris Platé, the executive director of Monroe-Union County Economic Development. Two S.C. towns close to the Charlotte region are the other finalists, along with Monroe, he said.

A California company that officials are not identifying needs an East Coast location to handle an expansion. The company prints materials for the medical and financial markets.

Platé expects to have a decision from the company within the next two weeks. “We’re a finalist so obviously you feel good that you’ve put your best foot forward,” he said.

On Monday night, Union County commissioners unanimously approved an incentive grant of up to $1.96 million over 10 years for the company. Monroe City Council was expected to approve on Tuesday night incentives of up to $1.43 million over a decade.

The state is also involved in incentives discussions, Platé said.

Jobs with the project have average annual salaries of more than $60,000, which is much higher than Union County’s average annual wage of $37,440.

Also Monday, county commissioners unanimously approved a second incentive grant of up to $1.49 million over a five-year period for ATI Specialty Materials. It makes “super alloys” used in components for the aerospace industry.

ATI is considering an expansion of up to $70 million which would create 70 jobs over the next five years.

And like the other potential project, annual salaries here would be more than $60,000. ATI has about 1,400 workers, and is Union County’s second largest employer.

The company was founded in Monroe in 1957. The city is an aerospace hub and a good fit for ATI, whose products are used in engines and other airplane parts. Its $210 million expansion in 2007 was the largest in county history.

Monroe City Council is expected to approve incentives in the form of providing 57 acres in an industrial park near the airport for ATI. The land is worth nearly $1.06 million.

ATI is considering expanding in several sites within four states, Platé said. He expects to hear a decision from the company this year.

ATI’s parent company is Allegheny Technologies Inc. of Pittsburgh.

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