New details indicate Toyota’s Greensboro-Randolph megasite battery plant “wouldn’t be a surprise”

LIBERTY, NC (WGHP) – We have our latest signals that these plans for Toyota to open a battery manufacturing plant on the Greensboro-Randolph megasite may be real.

The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation, in a request to the US Army Corps of Engineers to carry out work on its more than 1,800 acre site near Liberty, described “an automotive storage battery manufacturing facility of approximately 1 000 acres ”on this site.

And John Boyd Jr., an industry insider who works extensively in the electronic vehicle segment and in North Carolina, told WGHP that he “wouldn’t be at all surprised if North Carolina got this project off. trophy”.

Boyd, the director of Boyd Company, a New Jersey-based site selection company, cited recent actions from the North Carolina General Assembly, a partnership with Duke Energy and the 2018 megasite near-crash for land the Toyota-Mazda plant as key elements in favor of the state.

The Army Corps issued a public notice indicating that it accepted comments on the application, which was filed under the name of Foundation President Jim Melvin and was first reported by the News & Record of Greensboro.

These developments follow a report released Friday by Bloomberg News according to which Toyota is prioritizing North Carolina as the site for its plant in partnership with Panasonic.

Toyota Motor North America had announced on October 18 that it would build such a plant in the United States to begin production in 2025, starting with batteries for hybrid electric vehicles. Toyota said it would invest $ 3.4 billion in the United States through 2030, including a $ 1.3 billion spending plan for a factory that would employ 1,750 people.

Bloomberg’s report follows General Assembly approval last week of a state budget that approved $ 338 million for upgrades that could lure a manufacturer to megasite and specified the development of sites and incentives for a company that would invest at least $ 1 billion and create 1,750 jobs.

The budget provides for spending of approximately $ 135 million during the fiscal year for site development, $ 100 million for wetland mitigation and $ 35 million for road works and more wetlands. There is $ 185 million to reimburse the manufacturer for the costs of additional site work, road work and wetland mitigation, as needed.

Toyota had said in its announcement that it would likely name the location of its plant by the end of the year. And some industry watchers have suggested that Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, Indiana, and Alabama may be the trailblazers.

Toyota-Mazda chose Alabama over North Carolina in 2018, largely because it already had a factory there and critical supply chain suppliers were already in place.

“Unlike previous failures [by North Carolina], the electric vehicle industry requires only a small fraction of the supply of parts that go into a fuel engine, ”Boyd said. “The supply chain is not as critical as it is during these near misses.”

The News & Record said the public notice released by the Army Corps on Friday was similar to that released for the auto plant and that it specified a deadline for public comments of December 6. It lists HDR, an engineering company with an office in Raleigh, as a project partner. Vickie Miller has been appointed to represent the firm.

“Success is cumulative”

Economic developers usually don’t speak openly about potential deals, and no one contacted by WGHP specifically spoke about the idea that Toyota had made up its mind.

Brent Christiansen, president of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and representative for the megasite, did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

David Rhoades, director of communications for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, wrote in an email to WGHP last week that, “Regarding the proposed state ownership of the megasite, our department is communicating frequently with General Assembly leaders to ensure North Carolina remains competitive and in the best position to attract future economic investment opportunities.

State House Majority Whip Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), whose district adjoins the megasite, said he had not been directly involved in discussions with potential businesses, but stressed that the The state is increasingly “business friendly” with policies that include plans to eliminate corporate taxes in the state.

“We designed the incentive model based on our observation of what should be done to attract a large manufacturing company,” Hardister wrote in an email. “We strive to prepare the site as much as possible and demonstrate our commitment to economic development. “

State Senator David Craven (R-Randolph) did not answer questions on the site, and State Senator Amy Galey (R-Alamance), whose districts surround the site, said she couldn’t comment.

Boyd cited the work of the General Assembly and noted that “success in economic development is cumulative. The fact that the Randolph megasite received so much scrutiny in 2018 could be an advantage for this project in 2021. “

He also cited a partnership with “an economic development powerhouse like Duke Energy” as a significant contributor. He cited the relationships the company has in place and that it was “proactive in green initiatives”.

“This will be the last economic development trophy on Gov. [Roy] Cooper’s coat, ”he said.

Public comments

The Army Corps Public Notice is a shallow form that, in a dozen pages, details the site and site plans and checks off a list of requirements that must be approved by the Army Corps, such as its effect on water flow, wetlands and endangered species.

He says written comments can be submitted to the Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, until 5 p.m. on December 6. They should be sent to Andrew Williams, Raleigh Regulatory Field Office, 3331 Heritage Trade Drive, Suite 105, Wake Forest, North Carolina. 27587, at (919) 554-4884 ext 26 or at mailto: [email protected]

The megasite, which was developed in 2011, is a partnership between Randolph County, Greensboro and the North Carolina Railroad, which owns the property. The site has been certified by KPMG and is described as “ready to use”.

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