Asheville-based Avadim Technologies is expanding to Black Mountain in a move company officials say will create 551 jobs and bring more than $25 million in capital investment.
Ben Teague, executive director of Economic Development Coalition, says it’s the largest single job announcement during his tenure, and possibly the largest in the history of Buncombe County.
County Chairman David Gantt concurs about its significance. “It’s one of, if not the biggest, economic packages we’ve had since I’ve been a commissioner. It’s truly monumental with no end in sight for future growth,” he says.
In regard to that future growth, Gantt tells Xpress the projected 551 jobs will likely be surpassed. “That’s a low estimate. That’s the minimum. We think it will be a lot more. We’re glad to help them get there,” he says.
Teague says beyond job creation, it will help the economic vitality of nearby towns as future employees spend money in the Swannanoa Valley area.
Long-term, he says it lays the groundwork for attracting new business. “It’s an exciting day because it’s a catalyst for the future and what that growth could mean for the eastern side of Buncombe County,” says Teague.
According to its website, the company “is a life sciences company developing a new class of biologic solutions based on Pathogenesis Based Therapies, all of which work to optimize the stratum corneum, also impacting integumentary functions and the associated reactive tissue.”
One of its products, Combat One, designed for military personnel is described as: “The total body safe hygiene system that not only helps the troops stay clean in austere environments, it elevates their effectiveness. By keeping the troops clean, protecting their skin, reducing water loss and helping support the skin’s natural defensive properties we help keep your troops operating at peak levels.”
Governor Pat McCrory attended the announcement in Black Mountain. “Avadim Technologies’ significant expansion adds an exciting new dimension to our biotechnology industry and to the economy of western North Carolina,” said McCrory via a press release sent to Xpress.
The expansion comes with a state economic development incentive known as a Job Development Investment Grant. Avadim Technologies would be eligible for up to $4.9 million in reimbursements over a period of 12 years if it meets job creation and investment goals.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, “JDIGs reimburse new and expanding companies a portion of the newly created tax-base with the goal of increasing the overall revenue benefit to the state of North Carolina. By law, JDIG projects must result in a net revenue inflow to the state treasury over the life of the award.”
Avadim Technologies will also be getting local economic incentives, if it hits certain benchmarks. “If [economic development incentives] are carefully drawn, like the ones Buncombe County has, it’s very appropriate… The keys are it’s got to be realistic and it can’t be paid out until the actual goals are met,” said Gantt. “Some communities jump the gun and pay the money before the goals are met and you run the risk that things may not work out.”
Jon Creighton, the county’s planning director, tells Xpress the county will give Avadim Technologies $881,960 if it invests $25 million and creates 551 jobs. He says it would likely be paid out over the course of five years.
Gantt says commissioners were unanimous in their decision to provide incentives for this project.
Teague says jobs will range from hourly to executive positions and says it’s his understanding hiring for some of the new positions will be underway soon.
Avadim Technologies currently employs about 100 people at its Thompson Street location alongside the Swannanoa River in Biltmore Village, and says its clients range from the Department of Defense to professional athletes.
The expansion is set to take place at 195 Access Road, across Interstate 40 from the Ingles Market distribution center, and is set to be complete in 2020. The site will be home to Avadim Technology’s new corporate headquarters and will also include research and development, manufacturing and distribution operations.