NEWTON – The City of Newton and Catawba County held a special-called joint meeting Monday morning to unveil a new economic development opportunity. The project known as “Project Longleaf” announced a $67 million investment and creation of 210 new jobs by Corning Incorporated.
The new manufacturing facility will create optical cable and will be located in the former General Dynamics building in Newton.
Scott Millar, president and CEO of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, made the announcement during a presentation to both the Newton City Council and Catawba County Board of Commissioners.
Corning contacted the EDC in November requesting facility options to place new equipment in by June, Millar said.
The company looked at several other sites around the county and eventually settled upon the 187,200-square-foot building in Newton, Millar said.
Corning is a 160-year-old company with manufacturing worldwide, and a Fortune 500 ranking of 313. In 2016, Corning had more than $10 billion worth of sales.
Corning has five operations in North Carolina and promise this new facility will be one of the largest of its kind, Millar said.
The 210 net jobs Corning has agreed to open have an average salary of $56,963 and will be in place by December.
Both the county and city offered the company incentives to proceed with the new facility.
Corning agreed to several stipulations in order to receive the incentive grants. Corning will enter into an electrical service grant with the City of Newton and is expected to be one of the largest power consumers in the city, Millar said.
The incentive agreement from both city and county is a six-year plan, in which the company will receive 90 percent of taxes returned to them in year one, 80 percent in year two, 70 percent for year three and 67 percent for the remaining years.
The City of Newton also agreed to a $67,725 grant for other building needs, Millar said.
The incentives are contingent on the company fulfilling its promises of financial investment, as well as providing support for the K-64 initiative, Education Matters, the electrical service agreement, Committee of 100, and both the City of Newton and Catawba County’s Economic Development Agreement.
After the presentation, both Mayor Ann Stedman and Chairman Randy Isenhower opened the public hearing portion of the meeting; no residents in attendance spoke.
Both the Newton City Council and Catawba County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the agreement.
“We are excited about this phenomenal regional and state high-tech industry leader bringing new opportunities to the city of Newton,” Stedman said in a press release. “Corning’s significant investment in our community will make life better for our current residents and encourage people to move here to take advantage of the wonderful amenities and employers we have in Newton.
“I would like to thank the team of professionals at the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation for advocating for Newton throughout this process. With their help, we’ve been able to advance strategic economic development efforts that are yielding significant investment. The future looks bright for our city.”
Corning’s Reuben Cannon addressed the public and officials at the end of the presentation, expressing gratitude for the county as well as the City of Newton.
“What sets Corning apart is our employees, and your neighbors make up our employees. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to grow together as we move forward into the future,” Cannon said.