From the Chatham News + Record, by Bill Horner III
In an age where landing even a $50 million economic development project is considered a major win, Michael Smith sheepishly admits the numbers generated in Chatham County this year are almost “cartoonish” in scope.
It all got started last March with VinFast — at the time, with $4 billion in investment and 7,500 new jobs, the biggest industrial announcement in N.C. history. The Vietnamese company is now more than a third finished with site preparation work on its land at Triangle Innovation Point, near Moncure, the future home of its massive electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant set to roll out EVs in the summer of 2024. (Plant construction will begin in early 2023.)
Add in semiconductor maker Wolfspeed’s $5 billion, 1,700-job announcement for the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing site in September, and FedEx’s April shipping hub launch near the VinFast site, and Smith — president of Chatham’s Economic Development Corporation, and the chief internal engineer of the county’s industrial development efforts — acknowledges something truly unprecedented here: more than $9 billion in investment and 9,000 new jobs coming to rural, potential-laden Chatham, all announced within the span of a few months.
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