Orange County is seeing rainbows — rainbows of sweet candies.
At their Tuesday meeting, the Board of County Commissioners discussed the upcoming construction of the Morinaga Confectionary Company factory.
Commissioner Earl McKee likened the county’s relationship with the factory to a rainbow — because it connects the county with Japan and because of the rainbow colored variety of candy.
The Tokyo based company brings in 2 billion dollars in annual global sales and is expected to bring more than 90 jobs to Orange County with an investment of $34-48 million dollars.
Morinaga chose the location over several other locations in cities around the country.
“We beat out places that are pretty sophisticated, like Richmond and Atlanta, that historically have a pretty good track record,” said Craig Benedict, the county’s planning and inspection director.
The factory will be located in the western part of the county.
“The 21 acre site is part of the Buckhorn Development District, which is designated as an economic development zone because of its proximity to Interstate 40,” Benedict said.
The location is not “shovel ready,” meaning that Orange County will have to build the requisite infrastructure.
“We believe the majority of the infrastructure will be permitted in the spring of next year and completed by the end of next year,” said Benedict.
The county will have to provide the infrastructure for the factory, but the site will benefit Orange County by creating jobs and making it an attractive place for international companies to locate.
“We’ll create more and better jobs, technical training, health and related employment benefits to our residents,” said Michael Talbert, the interim county manager.
Additionally, the company will provide employees with health insurance and an average salary of nearly $38,000.
The city of Mebane has already taken the initiative to facilitate the implementation of the project.
“The city approved a performance-based incentive package, similar to the county,” Talbert said.
The commissioners expressed their unanimous support of the factory by approving its incentive package and infrastructure design at the meeting.
The board also heard the case for purchasing three lots adjacent to the Orange County Sportsplex, the number one tourist attraction in Orange County.
The combined 3-acre lots will be utilized as a space for overflow parking, as well as land for potential expansion of the Sportsplex.
The board approved the plan and authorized the purchase of the lots for $382,000.
Commissioner Penny Rich addressed the Morinaga executives after their presentation.
“I thank you for coming here and I hope you become Tar Heel fans,” she said. “I didn’t see that in the incentive plan.”
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