Records: Arrival turned down more than $2M in incentives for South End HQ

Records: Arrival turned down more than $2M in incentives for South End HQ

Photo: Courtesy of the City of Charlotte

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The state of North Carolina offered electric vehicle maker Arrival $2 million in incentives to open a North American headquarters in Charlotte, according to emails Axios obtained through a public records request.

  • The company turned down the incentives but decided to start the headquarters here anyway.

What’s happening: Arrival will establish the North American headquarters in South End’s Three30Five development and add 150 highly skilled jobs in areas like engineering and finance, the company announced last fall. Local officials confirmed at the time Arrival would receive no incentives for the new offices.

The backstory: Charlotte officials had their first Zoom call with Arrival last spring, according to Fran West, the city’s assistant director of economic development.

A few months later, in August, Arrival shortlisted North Carolina and South Carolina for its foray into the U.S., according to officials from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, who dubbed the Arrival deal “Project Star,” emails show.

  • Arrival had recently landed “major contracts in the U.S., which has necessitated domestic production and an enhanced corporate presence,” per the EDPNC.

EDPNC detailed plans for $2 million in state incentives over 12 years for Arrival to establish both a corporate and manufacturing presence in the state. On top of that, the city of Charlotte offered about $58,700, per West. Mecklenburg County didn’t formally offer Arrival any incentives, said Peter Zeiler, the county’s economic development director.

  • Ultimately, Arrival opted out of incentives from both the state and the city for the corporate part of the expansion.

In an October 14 email, Parker Poe consultant Morgan Crapps informed North Carolina officials of Arrival’s decision to pick Charlotte.

“We certainly appreciate the incentives and associated savings but we have decided to forego those incentives for this project. However, the company remains interested in partnering on any workforce-related initiatives,” Crapps wrote.

  • Arrival did not respond to a question about why the company turned down the incentives.

Of note: When a company agrees to an incentives deal, they have to know in detail how they are going to grow and on what timetable, notes West. Companies only receive incentives if they meet certain job-creation goals by a certain date.

“It took away some of their flexibility about how they chose to grow here,” West tells Axios of the incentives offered. “At the end of the day, I think they knew they wanted to be in Charlotte regardless.”

Zoom out: North Carolina and South Carolina routinely compete for business. In North Carolina, state officials in recent years have lured corporations here with millions in incentives in exchange for the companies adding thousands of jobs.

Of note: Arrival is also building its first two “microfactories” locally — in west Charlotte and in Rock Hill. The company is receiving up to $1.5 million in city/county incentives for the west Charlotte plant. It’ll get an undisclosed amount in incentives in Rock Hill too, per CBJ.

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