News Column

Herbalife Considers Plant, 500 Jobs in Winston-Salem

Nov. 7, 2012

Nutritional supplement company Herbalife may open a $100 million factory in Winston-Salem and employ 500 workers, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County elected officials said today.

The company is considering a site in the Atlanta area and the former Dell plant near Kernersville for the factory, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Forsyth County Commissioner Dave Plyler said today.

The city, county and state could approve an incentives package worth $13 million by early December.

Joines said the city's finance committee will discuss a $2 million incentive request from the company at its meeting Monday and Plyler said the county will consider a $1 million request at its meeting in December.

The city's package, to be paid over seven years, will likely go to the council on Nov. 19, Joines said. The county will consider its incentives in December.

The state is also considering a $10 million incentive package for the company.

Dell closed the seven-year old plant in 2010, five years after it opened. Joines said the 750,000-square-foot building is flexible for a variety of uses and could be ready for Herbalife to move in relatively quickly.

The site near Atlanta, he said, is a "greenfield site", meaning it would have to be developed first.

"It certainly speeds up the timeframe that the company could be in operation," Joines said. "So from our standpoint that's a positive."

The state directed the California company to Winston-Salem about three months ago, Joines said, because the Dell site is prime property.

Plyler said that the Dell plant is a little too large for Herbalife's needs, but, he said, "they really like the Dell plant."

The plant, on Union Cross Road off Interstate 40, provides easy access to major transportation arteries across the region.

The company would buy the property to open its first operation to make and distribute products on the East Coast.

Plyler said jobs at the plant would pay an average of $42,000.

To move the project along, Joines said, he has assembled a task force that includes members of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, Bob Leak Jr., president of Winston-Salem Business Inc., the state and a commercial real estate agent.

Dell closed its 750,000-square-foot, $110 million plant in 2010, 5 years after it opened. It reached at peak of 1,400 employees.

The building generates between $800,000 and $900,000 in property taxes every year, Plyler said.

Joines is not sure when Herbalife will make its decision, but he speculates the company is eager to move quickly with its plans.

If the company chooses the Dell plant, it would be part of a recent run of good economic news for Forsyth County.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said in September it will build a 280,000-square-foot clinic in Kernersville that will employ 500 people by 2015

Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation said in October that it will invest $97 million to expand manufacturing capacity at its Kernersville operations. Deere-Hitachi expects to hire an additional 340 full-time employees over the next four years to support the expansion.

Plyler is optimistic about the Herbalife project.

"I'm 100 percent for it," Plyler said. "The more we get the better we're going to be."

Contact Richard M. Barron at 373-7371 or richard.barron@news-record.com

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Posted at 1:18 p.m.

WINSTON-SALEM -- Nutritional supplement company Herbalife may build a factory in Winston-Salem and employ 500 workers, Forsyth County Commissioner Dave Plyler said today.

Plyler said the company is considering a site in the Atlanta area and the former Dell plant near Kernersville for the factory.

"The Dell plant is a little too large for them," Plyler said. "They really like the Dell plant."

The network marketing company has asked Forsyth County for $1 million in incentives and Winston-Salem for $2 million. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the company may invest $100 million in the plant.

Plyler said jobs at the plant would pay an average of $42,000.

The county should consider the incentives in December. The Journal reported the Winston-Salem City Council will discuss incentives during a finance committee meeting on Monday.

Herbalife would either buy or lease the building from Dell. The building generates between $800,000 and $900,000 in property taxes every year, Plyler said.

Dell closed its 750,000-square-foot, $110 million plant in 2010, 5 years after it opened. It reached at peak of 1,400 employees.

The Journal reported that Herbalife is also asking for $10 million in state incentives.

The new plant would be part of a run of good economic news for Kernersville.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said in September it will build a 280,000-square-foot clinic that will employ 500 people by 2015

Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation said in October that it will invest $97 million to expand manufacturing capacity at its Kernersville operations. Deere-Hitachi expects to hire an additional 340 full-time employees over the next four years to support the expansion.

Plyler is optimistic about the Herbalife project.

"I'm 100 percent for it," Plyler said. "The more we get the better we're going to be."

"It's another golden story for Kernersville."



Source: (c)2012 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.). Distributed by MCT Information Services .


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