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Four mystery companies will get nearly $2 million from the county in economic incentives

New Hanover County Government Building.
Benjamin Schachtman
New Hanover County Government Building.

New Hanover County is slated to give up to $1.9 million in economic incentives to four different companies, with the aim of bringing over 1,000 well-paying jobs to the region.

It was random chance that led four economic incentive packages to come to the fore simultaneously, but now the county is set to invest nearly $2 million over five years into the projects.

They encompass four different companies seeking to increase operations in New Hanover County, with a promise of 1,064 new jobs.

According to the limited amount of public information on the potential incentives, industries involved range from sales to warehouse logistics to Fintech, and salaries at each company will average $62,000 on the low end to $131,000 on the high end.

Commissioner Rob Zapple explained the trajectory of the investment:“$1.9 million over multiple years, will bring us over $125 million almost $126 million in investment in New Hanover County in jobs and physical structures," he said.

Scott Satterfield, the CEO of Wilmington Business Development, said the investments would also include over $110 million in payroll, along with more than 1,000 jobs.

The incentives are performance-based, meaning the money won't flow to those companies unless the investments are made.

The specific companies are currently unknown, and operating under pseudonyms. They are as follows:

Project Clear: Project Clear’s grant from the county is up to $250,000 per year for a total of five years, not to exceed $1.25 million. That’s if the company brings at least 485 new jobs with an average salary of at least $131,000, and a minimum investment of $85.2 million in real and business personal property.

Project Buckeye: Satterfield said, “This is a well-known company to the community, one that has over 500 employees currently operating in the FinTech arena.” New Hanover County would offer up to $300,000 ($60,000/annually for five years). In exchange, the company would create 204 new jobs with an average salary of $113,000.

Project Speed: New Hanover County would offer up to $67,500 ($13,500/annually for five years). In exchange, the company would create 75 new jobs with an average salary of $64,000, and the company would invest $16 million in "real and personal property in the City [i.e. in Wilmington City limits]"

Project Transit: New Hanover County would offer up to $300,000 ($60,000/annually for five years). In exchange, the company would create 300 new jobs with an average salary of $62,000.

If the companies don’t come through with the investments, the county’s payments won’t go through. The motion on all four companies passed unanimously at Monday morning's county commission meeting. The City of Wilmington opened a public hearing on similar investments last week, but had to continue a decision until March 1 – due to what the city manager called a "snafu."

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant on the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.