An update on VinFast’s future location at Triangle Innovation Point, plus a look at upcoming projects
Compiled by Anna-Rhesa Versola
Development news in Chatham County experienced a seismic shift in late March when VinFast, an electric carmaker based in Vietnam, made public its plans to build a sprawling manufacturing complex at Triangle Innovation Point (TIP) in Moncure.
“It’s the largest project ever announced in the history of North Carolina,” says Michael Smith, president of the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation. “It is truly an extraordinary time [in] Chatham County, and I’m excited to be a part of what’s going on.”
VinFast expects to finalize its purchase of 1,977 acres and secure permits to begin construction along the U.S. 1 corridor this summer. The first phase of development creating 7,500 jobs with an average annual salary topping $51,000. VinFast plans to increase its workforce by another 12,000 jobs in its second phase of development. The facility is slated to produce electric car batteries and assemble battery-powered midsize and full-size sport utility vehicles starting in July 2024.
Michael says the TIP site has many assets that make it attractive, such as proximity to Chatham Park, a network of major highways and rail systems, and access to major sea and airports, including the Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford. Other contributing factors include the area’s abundant workforce and educational resources, like Central Carolina Community College, and plans to improve water and sewer infrastructure in Chatham.
Michael points to a map showing VinFast’s future location. “It’s hard to believe 22 counties are within an hour of the site,” he says. “So when you think about the ability to help out families. … It’s really, really dramatic. And that’s not a stretch. We know because of our great road network here in central North Carolina [that] people will drive for good jobs.”
Over the next four years, VinFast will invest up to $4 billion to build and expand the state’s first original equipment manufacturer. More than 50 other megasites nationwide were evaluated, and hefty incentive packages made North Carolina too sweet to resist: The state’s economic investments committee approved $854 million in incentives for the project in March, with Chatham County potentially adding another $400 million, if approved by county commissioners in June.
VinFast is part of a global conglomerate, Vingroup, which is exploring support from the U.S. government through a $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. VinFast plans to launch its initial public offering later this year may be delayed until next year due to changes in market conditions.
The electric vehicle plant is estimated to grow the state’s economy by at least $71 billion over 32 years.
FedEx plans to open a 338,000-square-foot distribution center in New Hill along Pea Ridge Road close to U.S. 1 in early 2023. The location was selected for reasons similar to why VinFast chose the TIP site in Moncure. FedEx will make a future announcement about the number of jobs offered at the facility, according to a company spokesperson.
Construction is underway for a five-story Hampton Inn & Suites at 324 Freedom Pkwy. in Mosaic at Chatham Park. The building will have 120 guest rooms and will be the first modern business hotel in Pittsboro in recent memory. The Malcolm Bryant Corporation expects the 78,416-square- foot building and landscaping for its 3-acre property to be completed in 2023.
The N.C. Department of Transportation will begin work this summer to resurface lanes and reconstruct shoulders along 29 miles of roads in Chatham County, including a section of Hwy. 64, three sections of NC Hwy. 42 and seven sections of secondary roads. Work is expected to be completed by summer 2023.
MORE TO COME
Siler City Mayor Pro Tem Thomas “Chip” Price says the town is busy improving infrastructure that supports the success of the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing site in the western part of the county.
A $2 million expansion project of the town’s water treatment plant will reach its halfway milestone this summer. “We’re going to go from 4 million gallons [of water] a day to 6 million gallons a day,” Chip says. The project is slated for completion by the end of 2023, and town officials hope the increased capacity will help attract potential investors to the 1,800-acre CAM site.
The town’s municipal airport upgraded its 5,000- foot runway and lights. Plans are being developed to add a taxiway and an automatic pilot system.
Chip says town and county officials continue to address concerns over housing shortages. Several developments are in discussion for the Siler City area: Fox Haven Village, a 184-acre residential and retail development along Hwy. 64, and Oak View at Siler City, a 15-acre site behind Chatham Hospital. The latter is being developed by Ohio-based company Wallick Communities, which builds affordable housing. The Oak View complex will include 72apartments.