Guilford Commissioners OK Buzzi incentive

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 03:57 PM

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has approved a five-year, $113,000 incentive for BuzziSpace, a Belgian company, to set up its U.S. manufacturing operations in the former Pickett Cotton Mill at 1200 Redding Drive in south High Point.
The company that designs and makes office furniture for corporate, institutional and health care clients is considering leasing the 100-year-old building, creating 113 jobs and investing $1.6 million. If High Point is chosen, the operation could open in the Pickett Cotton Mill as soon as March 2014.
Both commissioners representing large portions of High Point were on the majority side of the 7-2 vote taken on Thursday.
Democratic Commissioner Bruce Davis said he admired the company’s vision of upgrading an old building for a new life.
“I love this vision for this community,” he said. “The skill sets the company needs are there, and there are people who need this opportunity. This vision will set in motion what we can do with the empty buildings we have.”
The High Point City Council authorized up to $162,000 in economic incentives. The state also may offer assistance.
High Point is being considered for the project along with two out-of-state locations, officials said earlier.
“I support this enthusiastically,” said Republican Commissioner Bill Bencini. “It is exciting that this company would invest in this community and rebuild the tax base.”
Tom Van Dessel, a BuzziSpace executive, said his company is interested in boosting American sales and recycling the building for the community.
“We could sit back and wait for change,” he said. “We want to be the change.”
Republican Commissioners Hank Henning of Jamestown and Linda Shaw of Greensboro voted for the incentive.
“I am uncomfortable with incentives,” Henning said. “But this idea is better than most of the others.”
Branding the request “corporate welfare,” Republican Commissioner Alan Branson voted against the request, as did Republican Commissioner Jeff Phillips, who favors cutting tax rates to stimulate business growth.
“These incentives do very little to put people to work,” Phillips said.

Incentive

Jobs: Two-thirds of the BuzziSpace jobs would be in manufacturing and distribution, with the remainder in customer service, office and management categories. The jobs would pay an average of $41,011.