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How much love was North Carolina ready to show Toyota? Take a look

Craig Jarvis, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Automotive News

In early August, Toyota solicited interest from states for the joint venture that would have brought 4,000 jobs to North Carolina. Almost immediately, The Wall Street Journal reported that North Carolina was one of 11 states under consideration for the project. In October, records show, Toyota informed North Carolina that it had made the cut for the next round, renewing efforts to satisfy the automaker.

Records show the companies required a site that would be ready to go into production within 18 to 36 months, with a rail line or two within 50 miles of railroad terminal, switch or intermodal station. Roads for shipping and employees needed to be less than five miles from an interstate or four-lane highway.

The companies wanted to be sure that the region had a labor force concentration of 300,000 workers within a 60-mile area.

North Carolina agreed to put together a 1,000-acre construction-ready site by October of this year. A private foundation created to promote the Randolph megasite also promised to provide an office free of charge.

The emails also show that the real estate firm JLL at every step along the way wanted to know what promises state, local and private representatives had already approved and what requirements were still outstanding.

Copeland, writing to the JLL contact, said the state had increased "nearly every line item from our original proposal," and emphasized that the governor and legislative leaders were working closely to make the deal happen.

 

The emails don't shed light on why North Carolina lost the project. State officials previously said it was due to an inadequate concentration of the supply chain.

The records also show how some of North Carolina's offer of almost $1.6 billion would have been spent:

-- $2 million in-kind to NCWorks, a state job development network started under former Gov. Pat McCrory's administration, for employee screening.

-- $16.4 million for job training.

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