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Sanford City Council’s vision to partner with Chatham County to develop a megasite in Moncure is paying off to the tune of thousands of new jobs and billions in investment.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced today that Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast has chosen that megasite – now called Triangle Innovation Point – as its United States operation.
“VinFast will bring at least $4 billion in investment and at least 7,500 good paying jobs,” Cooper said. The company will occupy more than 2,000 acres and produce both electric batteries and vehicles.
“Today’s announcement is another example of the continuing growth of North Carolina’s economy fueled by low taxes, a strong workforce, and reasonable regulations,” Sen. Phil Berger said. “VinFast’s commitment to North Carolina solidifies our position as a global leader for fostering innovation and supporting businesses.”
This project, which is one of the largest in North Carolina’s economic development history, started with a strategic agreement between Sanford, Chatham County, and the Golden Leaf Foundation in 2016 to treat wastewater for Triangle Innovation Point. Through the agreement, the partners ran a wastewater line through the northern portion of Lee County and across the Deep River to connect the site to Sanford’s Big Buffalo Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).
While having some risks, this initial wastewater project paved the way for today’s historic announcement and enabled Chatham County to compete on the global stage for recruitment of a massive project, which VinFast will be.
This initial wastewater treatment project allowed the City to connect the Raleigh Executive Jetport to the Big Buffalo WWTP, along with industries previously outside Sanford’s infrastructure system like Arauco Corporation in Moncure. Being able to connect these existing operations ensured an immediate revenue stream back to the City of Sanford while waiting for larger development to evolve.
Even better: Under the sewer agreement between Sanford and Chatham County, Sanford will receive 20 percent of net property tax revenue for all taxpayers at the site that tap onto sanitary sewer for the next 50 years.
The partnership between Sanford and Chatham County deepened when VinFast disclosed its vast water requirements – which far exceed Chatham County’s supply. To ensure the manufacturer can be successful, the City of Sanford engineered a plan to bolster Chatham County’s supply in the short term and then take over supplying water to the site completely.
“Our staff has developed a complex system that includes redundant lines, upgraded lift stations, and an infrastructure loop that will allow for future development,” says Mayor Chet Mann. “This elaborate plan to supply water to Triangle Innovation Point is a testament to the ingenuity and innovation of the City of Sanford.”
By suppling crucial infrastructure to Triangle Innovation Point, the City of Sanford has positioned itself as a regional leader and long-term equity partner – to the benefit of residents in both Chatham and Lee counties. “This vision to take a calculated risk, to partner with others across geographic boundaries, and to form public-private partnerships will transform our region for decades to come,” says Mann.
This regional collaboration not only paved the way for investment in Moncure, but also has opened the door to opportunity across our region, noted Gov. Cooper today. “Vendors and suppliers from far and wide” will locate near Triangle Innovation Point in the years to come to service VinFast and meet the needs of those employed by the company, he points out.
“In 2013, I ran on the Open for Business Agenda with the promise that we would promote our water supply as a unique asset,” points out Mann. “Today’s announcement shows how we have leveraged our all of our assets to create far greater economic development returns for Sanford than we ever imagined,” he says.
“When local governments work together, employ a forward-thinking vision, set aside personal agendas and interests, and focus on building something bigger than themselves, they can deliver incredible results – as we are seeing in this historic announcement,” Mann says.
“They know about our strong workforce, they know about our high quality of life, they know about our great business climate, and they know about our commitment to clean energy,” Cooper said of VinFast. “This will be an outstanding future for everyone as we build together in North Carolina.”
“North Carolina is a beacon and an example for the rest of the country for how to work together,” Rep. Robert Reives said of the project.
“Many people and organizations have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring these new jobs and investment to Chatham County,” said Sen. Valerie Foushee. “Everyone in our region and across the state welcomes VinFast to our community, and we are committed to help this company succeed in North Carolina.”
The manufacturer plans to complete the first stage of production at Triangle Innovation Point as soon as July 2024.