Corning Inc. has signed up to be the first tenant in a new business park being built in southeast Hickory. The company and local officials announced plans Tuesday for a $60 million plant to make cable for its Optical Communications division, creating up to 110 jobs.
City and Catawba County officials say the plant will be built on 27 acres at Trivium Corporate Center, between Robinwood and Startown roads. Local officials had been referring to the plan as "Project Wave" during negotiations with Corning.
The announcement came after the Hickory City Council and Catawba County Commission approved a series of incentives at a special joint meeting Tuesday morning. Those incentives include giving Corning the land, valued at $605,000, and granting up to $1.7 million in tax rebates over five years. Corning also was given an option to acquire another 4.4 acres.
The city says it's dedicating $4.5 million in bond funds to help develop the business park, which began construction in May.
Corning expects to create 110 new jobs over the next five years including plant operations, distribution, and maintenance. County officials said the average pay will be $50,000 a year, more than the current county average of $41,531 per year.
Corning has committed to creating 75 new jobs by Dec. 31, 2020, and the remainder by Dec. 31, 2023.
The company says it needs the plant to add manufacturing capacity to keep up with growing demand for optical fiber and cable.
"Corning is investing in tomorrow's growth today, as the growing number of connected devices fuels demand for our optical fiber and cable innovations," Dr. Bernhard Deutsch, vice president and general manager of Corning Optical Fiber and Cable, said in a statement.
Corning has more than 4,000 employees in North Carolina, in both cable manufacturing and life sciences. It’s in the midst of building a new headquarters for the cable business, off I-485 in northwest Charlotte. That operation is expected to relocate to Charlotte from Hickory next year and could eventually employ up to 650 people.