Editor’s note: The attribution for the possible location of a major biopharmaceutical firm to Holly Springs was incorrectly attributed to the town’s attorney. The story has been corrected. LTW regrets the error.
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — Holly Springs is in the running to land a “major biopharmaceutical” firm that would spend as much as $350 million and create up to 400 jobs, according to a grant awarded by the Golden Leaf Foundation.
To help land the company, the Golden Leaf Foundation has awarded Holly Springs a grant of $800,000.
In announcing the grant Tuesday, the Foundation said the “economic catalyst grant” would be used for design fees “related to infrastructure improvements required” for the biopharma firm to locate in the town.
However, Town Attorney John Schifano declined to discuss specifics. The grant is “related to an ongoing economic recruitment project,” Schifano said but added, “I don’t have any further details for the project.”
Citing “competitive reasons”, Schifano would not disclose the name of the company being recruited.
Holly Springs was among the possible sites considered for a new plant to be built by pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. However, that company rejected North Carolina last week, instead picking a location in Massachusetts. That plant is expected to cost $1 billion and produce as many as 700 jobs.
Schifano said the Golden Leaf grant and the ongoing talks were not related to the Bristol-Myers Squibb negotiations.
Charles Hayes, president and chief executive officer of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, confirmed that a company was in fact being recruited for Holly Springs. He said talks were “ongoing” but added, “We don’t comment on ongoing discussions.”
At a Triangle business event two weeks ago, Hayes said industrial recruiters from state and local governments as well as other agencies were involved in negotiations for plant and business locations worth $5.2 billion that could generate 8,500 jobs.
North Carolina has made recruitment of biopharmaceutical firms a major priority in its industrial recruitment efforts. United Therapeutics recently chose to build a $50 million plant in Durham rather than Maryland. The facility will create 160 new jobs. Stiefel Laboratories announced last November that it would occupy a former Eli Lilly subsidiary facility in Research Triangle Park, creating some 200 jobs.
The Golden Leaf Foundation utilizes funds received from tobacco companies as part of the national tobacco suit settlement to help foster education and economic improvement projects across the state.