Wilson approves incentives for Linamar expansion

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The Wilson City Council voted Thursday to approve an incentive package for a nearly $7 million expansion at Linamar Forgings Carolina.

“This is Linamar’s second expansion since they purchased the Carolina Forge facility in 2014,” said Wilson Economic Development Executive Director Jennifer Lantz. “It includes the addition of 31 jobs, almost $7 million of investment and a continuation of their existing salary average in excess of $40,000 a year.”

According to the incentive package, Linamar will receive $25,000 a year each from the city and county for four years as long as the incentive doesn’t exceed the total ad valorem taxes Linamar pays to the city and county each year.

Linamar Forgings Carolina is adding two new products — hollow transmission shafts and net shape differential gears — to the German-based company’s local factory in Wilson. N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland announced the expansion in December.

Also at the 7 p.m. meeting, members received an update about new home construction in the Freeman Place neighborhood. The city signed an agreement in October with Wade Jurney Homes to build momentum for the development, which has been in the works since 2008. The national housing crisis slowed progress with the three builders to a crawl, which led city officials to partner with a Raleigh-based nonprofit organization to build affordable houses, but financing issues caused that deal to fall apart.

“We have a new partner in Wade Jurney Homes, which is one of the fastest homebuilding companies in the region,” said Wilson Chief Planning and Development Officer Rodger Lentz. “They currently are in the process of building 10 houses in Freeman Place at one time with four already sold and we’re working on the fifth sale right now.”

The lots were cleared early this year and on Tuesday, crews started framing several of the homes. Lentz said the builder is interested in another 20 lots at Freeman Place and there is potential for public-private partnerships with Wade Jurney Homes for houses in other areas of Wilson.

“Things are looking very bright for the Freeman Place development,” said Lentz. “We’ve been looking at that project for a long time since the economy took a downturn, but it is coming together now.”

Other action taken at the meeting included annexing 3333 and 3337 U.S. 301 North into the city limits, a bid for a power transformer, an urban and community forestry grant application and a contract with Lisbon Contractors for filters at Wiggins Mill and Toisnot Water Treatment Plant.