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Concord Considers Deal With Chinese Furniture Maker For Philip Morris Site

The old Philip Morris cigarette plant, covering 500 acres of the 2,000 acre site. The plant was torn down in 2019.
Jones Lang Lasalle Inc.
The old Philip Morris cigarette plant, covering 500 acres of the 2,000 acre site. The plant was torn down in 2019.

Concord City Council will vote Thursday night to offer more than $800,000 in tax incentives to what appears to be a Chinese furniture maker. The company would build a facility on the site of the old Phillip Morris plant.

City Council expects the unnamed furniture manufacturer to build multiple facilities on 60 acres of the old Phillip Morris plant. According to the meeting agenda, the city will hold a public hearing and a vote over the deal. The city of Concord would provide the tax incentives over five years, and the company would invest $86 million. Concord City Council says the company will bring 256 jobs with an average salary of $42,542.

Tim Vaughn is president of the Cabarrus County Rotary Club. He says having this new company at the site would bring stability along with jobs, as more companies lease space on the 2,100-acre site.

"I think it’ll certainly fill a big hole," Vaughn said. "If you think about it, we had all our eggs in one basket, so to speak, with Phillip Morris. And so, if we have multiple projects over that way, then if something happens to one, then we have multiple. And so it diminishes the prospects of what happened to us in [2009], it positions us stronger."

Phillip Morris opened its Concord cigarette manufacturing plant in 1983. The company employed 2,500 people at its peak. The plant finally closed in 2010, and the building was demolished last February.

Since the factory’s closing, the city and county have tried to lure multiple companies to build at the site. Those efforts included Swiss battery maker Alevo, which arrived in 2014 and promised to hire 400 workers. But in August 2017, Alevo filed for bankruptcy and laid off its 290 employees.

Officials with the city and the county’s economic development group won’t name the furniture manufacturer while the deal is in the works, referring to it only as “Project Grand.” But the city council’s agenda includes a description of the company that exactly matches the description on a website for the Chinese furniture maker GoldenHome. That company makes kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as closet systems. According to GoldenHome’s website, it has 11 sales and distribution locations in the U.S., most of them opened in the past three years.

The manufacturer would join the online car retailer Carvana, which announced in August 2019 it would spend $35 million on a new 500-acre facility, about 4% of the total site of the former Philip Morris plant.