By Jimmy Randolph
Last week, Business Facilities magazine recognized North Carolina as the “2020 State of the Year.” Business Facilities is a national publication that has been a leading source of industry insights for corporate site selectors and economic development professionals for more than 50 years. Their annual rankings are regarded as a very accurate barometer of current trends in site selection and economic development activity.
According to the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Jack Rogers, “North Carolina is leveraging its advantages – including a prime logistics location, a steadily expanding skilled workforce and impressive higher education resources – to seal the deal on one big project after another.” Not only was the Tar Heel State recognized with the publication’s top overall award, it ranked among the top ten states in numerous state-ranking categories, including Business Climate, Workforce Development, Manufacturing Employment and Biotechnology.
In its coverage of the award, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center highlighted no fewer than fifteen major life sciences projects which were announced in NC in 2020. Near the top of that list was Audentes Therapeutics, the San Francisco gene therapy company which announced in February that it would establish a major gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford and Lee County’s Central Carolina Enterprise Park, investing $109.4 million and creating 209 new jobs at double the County’s current average private sector wage.
As a lifelong resident and taxpayer in North Carolina, it is exciting to consider the state’s recent economic development successes and appreciate their positive impact on our tax base and employment opportunities for ourselves and our children. As a resident and taxpayer in Sanford and Lee County, it is even more exciting and gratifying to know that SAGA and all our community partners have contributed directly to North Carolina’s success, and that we will derive direct benefit with an expanded local tax base and local employment opportunities.
And, despite the impressive statistics from 2020, this is really a story about the future. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina has seen a significantly higher number of new recruitment opportunities enter the state’s active pipeline in November and December compared to the same period in 2019. Thanks to your continued support and our strong collaborative approach to economic development, SAGA is aggressively competing alongside our partners at EDPNC to land the next deal right here in Lee County.
Here’s to a repeat of our economic development success in 2021!