Chapel Hill leaders sign on with county for $4M Wegmans incentive, Chapel Hill News, Tammy Grubb
CHAPEL HILL The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to endorse a $4 million tax incentive partnership with Orange County to land Wegmans Food Market.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners will discuss the incentive at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.
Wegmans could replace the 14-acre Performance AutoMall dealership on U.S. 15-501 with a 130,000-square-foot store and 770 parking spaces. The dealership has been planning to move next year to a new location near the Streets at Southpoint in Durham.
Wegmans has not submitted a formal application, which would face advisory board meetings, public hearings and require the council’s final approval. The town’s economic development director Dwight Bassett said that process could take at least a year. A concept plan is online now.
The incentive would help the company clean up the site, develop it and build the store. It requires Wegmans to create 185 full-time jobs – starting a $12 an hour with health insurance – and 413 part-time jobs. Wegmans also would have to meet property and sales tax revenue goals.
The town and county would reimburse $4 million in tax revenues generated by the project – up to $800,000 a year for five years.
The $30 million project could more than double the property tax revenues. Hendrick Automotive Group now pays $211,279 in property taxes for the AutoMall property, valued at $13.1 million. Wegmans also could generate up to $1.5 million in sales tax revenues, Bassett said; current sales tax revenues are minimal.
Residents were generally supportive but concerned about the incentive. Karen Trout said she was excited at first.
“But it’s also, as you pointed out, a billion-dollar corporation,” Karen Trout said. “Why do we need to pay them. I don’t get that … and in five years, we’re only going to have about $600,000 in profit from having them come because of the incentive.”
Terri Vance added the store could worsen traffic and cost existing grocers business. Cary hasn’t offered an incentive to get Wegmans, she said.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to move ahead with a $4 million incentive for Wegmans Food Market.
The incentive would be paid to Wegmans using its future property and sales tax revenues, starting in the second year. The county would pay up to $800,000 a year for five years.
The board also approved a cost-sharing agreement with the town of Chapel Hill, which will pay for half the total incentive. The next step is for Wegmans to submit a concept plan to the town.
The incentive would help Wegmans clean up, develop the site and build the project. The site is the only one in Orange County that meets Wemans priorities, economic development director Steve Brantley said, but there are environmental and road concerns to work out.
The $30 million investment is expected to roughly double the existing property value.
The company would qualify for the incentive by creating 185 full-time jobs and 413 part-time jobs over five years. A large number would start at $12 an hour, and employees with at least 30 hours a week would get health insurance.