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Rowan County passes incentives to lure an e-commerce company with lots of jobs

Rowan County commissioners approved a $27 million tax incentive grant Tuesday night in hopes of landing a new e-commerce fulfillment center.

The unnamed company is considering land in China Grove in southern Rowan County. Scott Shelton of the Rowan Economic Development Council told commissioners the so-called Project Rabbit would create 2,500 full-time and 2,600 seasonal part-time jobs and represent a $584 million investment.

It's common practice for elected governments in North Carolina to decide on incentives for companies before the names of companies are disclosed to the public. That's done, in theory, so companies can consider business moves in private as they are sometimes considering multiple locations.

“You’ve seen the job numbers, the investment numbers,” Shelton said. “This is a pretty high-impact project and for the entire region. We think it’d be the largest new jobs announcement in Rowan County’s history.”

Commissioners approved a 15-year incentive grant that would return 80% of new taxes paid by the company each year. That’s more than the 10-year deal the county approved for Chewy, the online pet retail company, that chose Rowan in 2019. Commission Chair Greg Edds said it’s worth the investment.

“We are putting our money where our mouth is,” he said. “We wouldn’t be doing the amount of incentives we’re doing if we didn’t think this was good for our community.”

Rowan is asking the state for more help to land the project. The town of China Grove will consider its own incentive package at its Feb. 1 meeting.

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