Wegmans Approved for Performance-Based Economic Incentive
Chapel Hill and Orange County partnering on initiatives to boost job creation and commercial tax base
The Chapel Hill Town Council and Orange County Board of Commissioners, in a first for these two local governments, voted unanimously in separate actions this week (Oct. 17 and Oct. 18) to approve performance-based incentives to entice Wegmans Food Markets Inc. to our area. Under the terms of an interlocal agreement, the Town of Chapel Hill will reimburse Orange County for one half of the approved economic incentive agreement.
The elected bodies support the incentives for their positive community impact on Orange County and Chapel Hill. Creating jobs, strengthening our economy, and growing our commercial tax base are the primary drivers of a new strategic focus on economic development in the area.
“The values that this community holds in high esteem align very well with Wegmans’ corporate culture,” said Orange County Board of Commissioners Chair Earl McKee. “They were very interested in learning about the area and being a part of this community.”
Wegmans has ranked consistently as the country’s best supermarket by Consumer Reports magazine. Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., the family-owned company has 91 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts; more than 46,000 employees and $7.9 billion in revenue (2015).
The agreement between the Town and County calls for each government to contribute a maximum amount of $2 million over five years -- if Wegmans meets specific targets for new jobs, and increases in both sales and property tax revenue.
“For years we’ve watched as Durham built up on the other side of I-40 and got all the benefits, as Chapel Hillians would cross and shop there and spend their tax dollars in a different county,” said George Cianciolo, Chair of the Town of Chapel Hill Economic Sustainability Committee. “This is an opportunity to allow, not only Chapel Hill, but Orange County to benefit from one of the best employers in the United States. This to me is a great opportunity to get something that the surrounding communities are going to wish they had.”
Development highlights and review process
- Wegmans plans 130,000 sq. ft. store to replace Performance Auto Mall dealership on U.S. 15-501
- Because of its use as a vehicle servicing station, 14-acre site requires environmental remediation.
- Wegmans has not yet submitted a development application. Concept plans are required prior to formal submittal of a major development proposal in Chapel Hill.
- Concept plan for Wegmans is available online at www.townofchapelhill.org/wegmans
- Concept plan process provides opportunity for Council and public to provide early input to developer
- Public hearing for the Wegmans concept plan is scheduled on Nov. 14, 2016, before the Town Council
- Following concept plan process, developer may proceed to submit a formal development application
- Development review requires public hearings and Town Council’s final approval
- Process could take up to a year
With the following financial arrangement
- $30 million in investment in the site by the developer, Leon Capital Group of Dallas
- Wegmans required to meet annual property and sales tax revenue targets to receive incentives
- Chapel Hill and Orange County expect an increase of $1.7 million annually in net-new tax revenue derived from sales and property taxes
- Incentives would not begin until the company has been open and operational for a year
- Wegmans to create 350 jobs (full-time equivalents)
- Health insurance benefits must be provided to all full time employees
- Wegmans would be the largest sales tax generator in Orange County
- Chapel Hill and Orange County would use increase in tax revenues from project to reimburse Wegmans $4 million – up to $800,000 a year for five years
With the following public benefits
- Number of jobs created (350)
- Quality of jobs (including health insurance)
- Investment to redevelop site ($30 million)
- New property and sales tax revenues for the Town and County (estimated at $1.7 million annually)
- Wegmans ranks #4 on FORTUNE Magazine’s 2016 list of “100 Best Companies to Work For”
- Replacement for Performance AutoMall, a vehicle sales facility
- Improvements to gateway location to Chapel Hill
- Proximity to potential light rail stop
- Regional draw for shoppers
- Natural fit for epicurean culture, values
- Wegmans is known for offering an unmatched variety, up to 700 different fruits and vegetables
- Each store builds strong partnerships with nearby family farms
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The agreements are published for public review at the Town of Chapel Hill at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/town-hall/government/council-minutes-and-videos and Orange County at http://www.orangecountync.gov/departments/board_of_county_commissioners/agendas.php.
CONTACTS: Catherine Lazorko, Town of Chapel Hill Communications Manager, at 919-969-5055 or email@example.com and Travis Myren, Orange County Deputy Manager, at 919-245-2308 or firstname.lastname@example.org