The county is pursuing a $700,000 federal grant to assist FCC prepare the county’s spec building for expansion.
An understanding that the county would pursue the grant was part of the effort to entice FCC to expand in Scotland County, said Greg Icard, economic developer for the county. It was announced on Monday that FCC would add 66 jobs to and invest $57.6 million.
“It was one of the things they considered as a factor in making the decision to come here,” Icard said.
There will be a public hearing on Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. at the county government building on 507 W. Covington St. in Laurinburg to discuss the grant.
FCC manufactures automotive clutch parts used by companies including Honda and the Ford Motor Company.
While it is likely that Scotland County will receive the grant, which can be used to install sprinkler systems or to lay concrete in the spec building, “there are no guarantees” Icard said.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Community Development Block Grant Program provides money to renovate county spec buildings based on the jobs a business brings to a community.
Completed in 2008 at a cost of $743,000, the spec building on Airport Road in Laurinburg will be purchased by FCC for $300,000.
“With most shell buildings you hope to get at most half of your money back,” said County Manager Kevin Patterson.
According to Patterson, it is not uncommon for county-built spec buildings to simply be included as part of the incentive package used to lure industry.
The FCC incentive package is expected to include a cash grant to FCC from the county once FCC meets its investment and job creation commitment to the county, Patterson said.
Officials have said that 22 of the new jobs will be added at FCC’s existing plant near Laurel Hill. The company’s plans also include adding 56,000 square feet to the spec building, nearly doubling its current size. Once completed the spec building will be used as a paper processing facility manufacturing the important paper surface element used in FCC’s clutch parts.
FCC’s only other paper processing facility is located in Japan.
The county started the grant application process back in May when it held a public hearing to announce that it was pursuing CDBG funds.
“We could not continue with the process because the next step involves stating more about what the grant is for,” Icard said. Scotland County officials were required by the NC Department of Commerce to remain mum about the FCC project until its official announcement this week.
Now that the news has been released, the county will hold another public forum stating more about the grant application. The public forums are required by the federal government.
This latest grant is just another example of the county’s relentless pursuit of grant and program money, Icard said.
“We work and pursue every avenue that’s possible for us and we’re as aggressive as we can possibly be in doing so,” said Icard, who has been working to secure the FCC expansion for more than a year.
“There are so many things going on behind the scenes and we work for any kind of program to give us an edge over someone else.”
In the case of the FCC expansion project, the “someone else” was Indiana. FCC started its North American operations in Indiana and already has two facilities in that state.