Project’s delay could be good new for city
Published 4:56 pm Friday, January 22, 2016
A local manufacturing facility could be given more time to expand and hiring 50 more workers from a baseline of 109 workers.
The delay could benefit the city, with more jobs and part of the idX operations in Baltimore relocating to Washington.
During it meeting Monday, Washington’s City Council will consider whether the city should request a one-year extension on the building reuse grant for the idX/Impressions expansion project. After a discussion with Kevin Richards with the Mid-East Commission (grant administrator) and Martyn Johnson, Beaufort County’s economic-development director, city officials decided to pursue the extension, according to a memorandum from City Manager Bobby Roberson to the mayor and council members.
“Although the jobs are nearly all created the renovation of the idX facility has been delayed,” Roberson wrote in the memorandum.
“The lengthy delay is the result of idX Corporate taking away the design portion of the project from the local industry. idX Corporate is in the process of reworking the design with the possibility of reorganizing the company and moving portions of the Baltimore Maryland operation to the Washington, NC facility,” Mayor Mac Hodges wrote in a letter to Hazel Edmond with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, which provided the initial project grant.
The Impressions project’s estimated cost is $1.14 million. The grant is in the amount of $500,000 (50 jobs at $10,000 per job). Grant terms require the city to provide a 5-percent match to the project. The city’s sale of the building to idX in April 2014 satisfies that requirement, according to a city document.
The bulk of the project funding comes from a N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority’s building reuse grant. According to a document, idX Impressions plans to expand its operations and work force during the next several years, adding full-time 50 jobs to a baseline of an existing 109 jobs. An office area that has been unused for 15 years would be renovated and used for expanding the facility’s office space, according to that document.
The project, as initially planned, would expand the facility by 25,000 square feet. It will include a training center and showroom. More than half of the new jobs will be in the manufacturing section.
Thirty-nine of the new 50 jobs had been created by Dec. 31, 2015, according to a Department of Commerce document, with the remaining 11 jobs expected to be created by the end of February.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s website at www.washingtonnc.gov, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.