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CoastLine: Economic Incentives And The Role They Play In Strategic Growth

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County recently approved a financial incentive package worth $580,000 for National Gypsum.

The Cape Fear region is competing with Tampa for the company’s business. 

Thursday morning, WHQR’s Vince Winkel spoke with Nancy Spurlock, Director of Communications for National Gypsum. They say they haven't made a decision yet but say they are very close – with an announcement planned within the next few weeks.

If National Gypsum chooses Wilmington, it would re-open an existing plant that stopped manufacturing in 2009 when the recession hit.  It would commit to a $25 million investment in the facility and the creation of at least 50 jobs with an average salary of close to $58,000. 

Some local residents protested the approval of incentives for a company that will emit formaldehyde as a byproduct.  National Gypsum officials say the plant will emit far less than its permit allows, and they’ve agreed to additional stack testing.  For those reasons, local elected officials say they’re satisfied the company will be a good corporate citizen.

But National Gypsum isn’t the first company to spark controversy over its plans to locate in southeastern North Carolina.  On this edition of CoastLine, we explore the local reaction to incentives and how new definitions of incentives, such as quality of life, infrastructure, and educational resources, are gaining prominence as economic growth strategy evolves. 


Adam Jones,Associate Professor of Economics at the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; Regional Economist at UNCW’s Swain Center, a research center that specializes in executive education and economic development.

Tim Buckland, Senior Government and Politics Reporter for the Wilmington StarNews

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR