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Winston-Salem is in the race to recruit health supplements plant for Whitaker Park
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Winston-Salem is in the race to recruit health supplements plant for Whitaker Park

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A company that makes vitamins and nutritional supplements may move to Winston-Salem

A company that makes vitamins and nutritional supplements is considering a move that would bring its headquarters and manufacturing to Winston-Salem into a building at the Whitaker Park business park on Reynolds Boulevard.

According to a Forsyth County Board of Commissioners' legal notice, the project would represent a $21.74 million capital investment.

The Winston-Salem City Council is poised to sweeten the pot with a performance-based incentive offer of $265,000 over five years.

Forsyth County Board of Commissioners said in a legal notice that it plans to offer up to $327,450 in performance-based incentives, also over five years. The commissioners will hold a virtual public hearing on the request at 2 p.m. May 6.

The state of North Carolina is said to be considering $1.5 million in performance-based incentives.

“We are the front runner,” Laura Lee told members of the Finance Committee of the city council on Monday. Lee is senior vice president of economic development for Greater Winston-Salem Inc., an organization that promotes business development here.

City officials have not identified the company by name, calling it Project Health. Officials did say that it is a company based in New York that has a manufacturing plant in this state in Davidson County.

Officials say that if the company moves here, it will consolidate its headquarters and manufacturing in an existing building at Whitaker Park. The building is one of the buildings that was donated by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in 2015 for future economic development.

The Finance Committee on Monday endorsed the incentives deal.

According to the city, the health products company would create 160 jobs here in its first year, and would eventually grow to 260 jobs.

And they’re good jobs, city officials were saying Monday, with an average wage of $46,377.

“The type of jobs that will be brought in are the type of jobs that we are looking for,” Northwest Ward Council Member Jeff MacIntosh said during committee discussion. “And we are helping to fill out Whitaker Park. To me, it is a major win.”

If the company comes here, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said, it will be buying an existing building with about 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The purchase and subsequent occupation of the building would bring all the major buildings on the Whitaker Park site into use, Joines said.

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“They would occupy 200,000 square feet initially and would lease out the other half of the building,” Joines said. “They are interested in moving pretty rapidly.”

Joines said he’s not sure of the prospect’s exact time frame, but said a decision could come over the next six to eight weeks.

Winston-Salem isn’t the only potential location in the running, city officials said, noting that the company is also looking at sites in New York, South Carolina and Virginia.

In addition to jobs, the company would invest about $3 million in upgrades to the plant at Whitaker Park, and would invest about $18.7 million in new machinery.

With everything at one site, the company would be offering a wide variety of jobs:

*Some team members would be involved in blending, coating and encapsulation jobs with tablets and liquids.

*There would be people involved in mechanics, packaging and production.

*Quality assurance and control jobs would be on site, along with pharmacy tech team members.

*Warehousing, maintenance and sanitation jobs would be on site, along with shipping and receiving.

The city incentive would be based on an amount equal to about 50% of the new new taxes the project would generate over five years.

The Winston-Salem City Council will hold a public hearing on the economic incentives proposal during its May 3 meeting.

The former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. site was taken over in 2015 by the Whitaker Park Development Authority, which was formed by Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem Business Inc. and the Winston-Salem Alliance.

Joines is president of the Winston-Salem Alliance. Bob Leak is the president and chief executive of the Whitaker Park Development Authority.

In 2018 Cook Medical, a local company, said it was moving its business into an 850,000-square-foot building at Whitaker Park.

Developer Chris Harrison announced plans in 2019 to convert two buildings on the industrial site into loft apartments. Harrison said that project would be followed by new construction including a hotel and additional apartments.

Journal reporter Richard Craver contributed to this article.

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