CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Concord Mayor Scott Padgett held his secret for more than five years, and today he let the world in on it.
Energy service provider Alevo announced a new manufacturing plant in Concord on the site of the old Philip Morris plant. The plant is a billion dollar startup in a 3.5 million square foot facility, and it's being done without any state or federal tax cuts or incentives.
"I think it's the biggest announcement since Philip Morris announced it would build the plant years ago," said Padgett. "To all of those people that are unemployed or underemployed, this is a real shot in the arm.
For five years there were negotiations and highs and lows until Alevo finally committed to the massive property just off Highway 29. The property is familiar to many for its brown split rail fence, lush fields, and trees that nearly hid the existence of the huge facility.
Jostein Eikeland, Alevo's Chairman and CEO said that choosing Concord was about more than just getting a huge manufacturing space.
"This property has more than just land and buildings, it has a great community," Eikeland said.
In Concord for the announcement on Tuesday, Alevo officials said that the company will manufacture "grid banks." The large boxes, that look a little like a rail freight car, are batteries that combine analytics to substantially cut electricity waste in fossil fuel generation. They store electricity when too much is produced and deliver electricity when too little is produced. They also make expanded use of wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.
Alevo officials said that the company will create lots of jobs. Hiring has already begun, and more than 500 will be hired before the end of next year, with another 200 in three years, and up to 6000 in years following.
Just up Highway 29 at the Parkway House restaurant, diners are excited at the good news that something will be going into the old plant.
"Wow," Chloe Myers told WBTV. "Concord lost so many jobs when the manufacturing and Pillowtex left."
The company says interested parties can apply online, through the employment security offices, and through Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.