ALBEMARLE — Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, a North Carolina-based manufacturer and distributor of plumbing systems since 1901, announced it would be relocating its foundry operations to Oakboro, North Carolina. As the nation’s top manufacturer of cast iron and plastic pipe and fittings, Charlotte Pipe and Foundry has seven plant locations across the United States and distributes worldwide. The company plans to create approximately 400 new jobs in Stanly County and invest at least $325 million at the new facility.
“Charlotte Pipe and Foundry is excited about this generational move of our foundry from downtown Charlotte to Oakboro and Stanly County,” said Roddey Dowd, Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe. “We are particularly grateful to the Stanly County Board of County Commissioners and the Stanly County Economic Development Commission for their support, as well as the Stanly County Manager who has worked, and continues to work, hand-in-glove with Charlotte Pipe to facilitate this project. We also thank the town of Oakboro for its splendid cooperation.”
County manager Andy Lucas explained that in the format of a 20-year tax incentive agreement, Charlotte Pipe will pay the entirety of the taxes it owes annually and the county will issue a grant in the name of 80% paid, as long as the company meets certain benchmarks.
“This is one of these once-in-a-lifetime type projects,” Lucas stated. “I can’t even put into words how significant it is for our community.”
According to Lucas, the anticipated taxes to be paid by the company are around $28 million, and that includes depreciation over time. In addition, the incentive amount on that 80% grant is around $22 million, which will likely change based on the investment.
The company has to meet job and investment benchmarks each year to receive the full 80%, and if not, the grant amount is prorated.
In addition to the business itself, commissioners mentioned the housing, retail, restaurant and professional services that will likely plant their roots in the county to accommodate Charlotte Pipe’s new facility, even further boosting the county’s economy.
“This was the worst-kept secret in American history,” state Sen. Carl Ford (R-Rowan), whose district includes Stanly County, joked in reference to the Project Blue Sky moniker that has been used for years to signify the Charlotte Pipe relocation. “I’ve heard people talking about it way before I started representing Stanly County, back when I was in the House representing Rowan and Cabarrus County. And right now, they’re a little jealous, to be honest.”
The plan for the new facility includes a one-time rail scale payment of $215,000 that will be cost shared with For Stanly, a non-profit fundraising group for economic development.
In addition, there is a 10-year natural gas line extension reimbursement payment structure where Charlotte Pipe will pay $358,452 to Piedmont Natural Gas for the installation of this line. The county will then reimburse the company for that annual payment for a period of 10 years.
“On behalf of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, I want to thank the board for your thoughtfulness and thoroughness over the past month months in evaluating this facility,” the company’s attorney, Charles Brown, said. “We recognize the countless hours that county employees have invested in this project to try to make it a reality.”
“The Stanly County Board of Commissioners is very excited to welcome and encourage the location of Charlotte Pipe to the Town of Oakboro. Charlotte Pipe’s investment and job creation will transform our local economy. The multiplying effect of this investment will spur more private sector investments and further grow our economy. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely appreciate Charlotte Pipe’s decision and look forward to forging a strong public-private partnership to strengthen Stanly County’s economic position and workforce for many years to come,” stated Matthew Swain, chairman of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners.