Council OKs power boost for Ralph Lauren expansion

Jul. 15, 2013 @ 07:59 PM

The city will reach into its checkbook once again to assist one of its largest employers with an expansion.
The City Council on Monday approved an amendment to High Point’s incentives agreement with Ralph Lauren Corp. that calls for the city to buy a $1.2 million electric generator for the company’s facility at 201 N. Pendleton St., where it is in the midst of an expansion.
The company is undertaking a 900-job expansion in High Point in two phases.
The council in 2010 approved up to $400,000 in cash incentives and up to $600,000 in electric infrastructure improvements for the company to set up a distribution operation in a former furniture facility on Eagle Hill Drive in the Piedmont Centre business park in a project expected to create 400 jobs.
Ralph Lauren never used the electric incentives at the Eagle Hill Drive facility.
Its incentives contract with the city allows it to receive the electric improvements at its Pendleton Street location, where it has distribution, warehouse, call center and embroidery functions, as well as office jobs.
The city and the company have determined that the improvements at this facility require a larger generator, estimated to cost $1.2 million. The city will buy and maintain the generator, and Ralph Lauren will reimburse the city for half the cost — $600,000 — with interest, over 10 years.
Last year, the council authorized an incentives package of up to $2 million for Ralph Lauren for the Pendleton Street project and an expansion of its apparel distribution center that serves retail and wholesale operations throughout the country at its Beechwood Avenue facility in Piedmont Centre.
Guilford County approved up to $1.2 million for the project. The expansions, when complete, will add $163 million to the local tax base.
Ralph Lauren is now the city’s second-largest employer, with more than 2,000 total employees in High Point. With nearly $7 billion in annual sales worldwide, the company’s brands include Polo by Ralph Lauren, Chaps and Rugby.