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By Emily Ford, Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Small biotech companies that can’t afford rent at the need help, or they will set up shop in other cities and take dozens of potential jobs with them, Kannapolis officials said.

City staff suggested Friday that Kannapolis launch a business incubator for start-up companies attracted to the $1.5 billion life sciences complex.

"This is the missing link on the campus," City Manager Mike Legg told the city council during a planning retreat. "No one is filling this void."

Already, some deals have fallen through because small businesses interested in the campus couldn’t afford the steep rent and had no place else in Kannapolis to go, Legg said. These businesses might have only a handful of employees now but could grow to become substantial employers, he said.

Although the campus lost high-profile tenants during the recession, including PepsiCo and Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc., developer Castle & Cooke now has "some exciting deals in the pipeline," said Irene Sacks, the city’s director of business and community affairs.

For details, see the report.