Council approves incentives for major pharma expansion

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Despite a full audience for the Brewmasters public hearing at Thursday’s Wilson City Council meeting, few residents stuck around for a public hearing about a more than $4.3 million incentive package for Fresenius Kabi.

“This project is particularly important because (Fresenius Kabi) is expanding the current facility and they are building a second plant in Wilson, so they are going to invest $150 million and create 445 jobs with an average salary of $60,000 a year with benefits,” said Wilson Economic Development Executive Director Jennifer Lantz.

The incentive package includes $420,000 a year for five years to not exceed the total ad valorem taxes paid by Fresenius Kabi and a $125,000 appropriation to buy 5026 Lamm Road with both allocations matched by the county.

No one from the public commented on the incentive package and the council unanimously approved it.

Two other public hearings — a grant application for the Wilson Housing Authority and rezoning of 3015 and 3023 Forest Hills Road — also did not garner input from residents and the initiatives were approved.

The redevelopment along U.S. 301 took another step forward Thursday night as officials approved using eminent domain on six parcels related to the project. City Attorney Jim Cauley said the parcels involved issues with heirs, multiple owners or owners who were unwilling to communicate about easements for the construction.

The project involves 37 parcels, 31 for which deals were struck to make way for a raised median, sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks and improved stormwater infrastructure along a 1.2-mile section of U.S. 301.

Also at the meeting, a downtown property in disrepair got a second life with the sale to Ches Joyner, who plans to rehabilitate the property for a showroom, office space and storeroom. Joyner has 45 days to get the building permits for 108 Barnes St. and three years to bring the property value to nearly $200,000.

Other action taken at the meeting included an application for urgent repair funding, the forgiveness of a deed of trust for Golden Leaf Apartments and the nomination of District 4 Councilman James Johnson to serve on the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency.