Charlotte chemical company will invest around $200M on a technology park in University City

Charlotte chemical company will invest around $200M on a technology park in University City

Albemarle Technology Park Rendering courtesy of Albemarle Corporation

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Charlotte-based Albemarle Corporation is expanding its local footprint in exchange for millions in incentives.

Driving the news: The specialty chemicals company will establish the Albemarle Technology Park in University City, where it will create 200 jobs, according to a statement from the city on Tuesday. Albemarle will invest around $200 million to develop the site.

Details: The technology park will primarily serve as as a research and development facility for advanced materials and lithium products. This includes introducing new forms of lithium to push lithium-ion batteries, which are used in electric vehicles.

Why it matters: Albemarle Corporation’s expansion addresses two goals for not just Charlotte, but North Carolina as a whole: a push toward clean energy and the creation of more local jobs.

  • “Albemarle’s work on the next generation of products related to lithium batteries really advances North Carolina’s leadership in the emerging clean energy economy,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Reducing carbon emissions is good for our environment and great for our economy too.”
  • The average salary at the new technology park will be around $94,000, per the Governor’s office. Mecklenburg County’s current average is $75,907.

By the numbers: The city, county and state offered Albemarle Corporation incentives totaling nearly $13 million to expand here.

  • The city offered a business investment grant of over $7.2 million, which would be paid out over up to 12 years.
  • The county offered a business investment grant of $4.2 million, which Albemarle Corporation would receive over up to seven years.
  • Albemarle Corporation will receive over $1.2 million from the state in the form of a Job Development Investment Grant over 12 years. The JDIG also includes $413,000 from the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account.

Of note: Albemarle won’t receive these incentives until it make its promised capital investment, pays property taxes and creates new jobs.

    • The project is expected to provide a $644.5 million boost to the state’s economy over 12 years, per the Governor’s office.

    Context: Albemarle Corporation moved its headquarters to Charlotte in 2015. It also has a lithium processing facility in Kings Mountain, about 40 miles west of Charlotte.

    • “Albemarle is focused on lithium technology leadership because it drives value for our customers and advances the world’s transition to more sustainable energy,” Albemarle CEO Kent Masters said in a statement.

    What’s next: The technology park is expected to open in 2024.

    Location: 6800 Solectron Dr.

    Zoom out: A number of EV-related companies have selected Charlotte for expansion in recent years, including Arrival, a British electric vehicle maker, as Axios’ Katie Peralta Soloff reported.

    • Last year, Toyota announced it would invest $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery “megasite” near Greensboro, as Axios’ Rebecca Falconer reported.

    The bottom line: North Carolina is eager to cement its position at the front of the EV revolution.

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