Asheville company to bring 551 jobs to Black Mountain in coming years

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Black Mountain is the site of Buncombe County's largest job expansion ever, according to an announcement by Gov. Pat McCrory that heralded Avadim Technologies' bringing 551 new jobs to the area.

The life science company, which currently employs 100 people in Asheville, will invest $24.4 million to build its company headquarters on the site over the next five years. Annual pay for the jobs will be about $51,000, McCrory's office said.

McCrory made the announcement on the empty field just south of Interstate 40, just west of the Black Mountain town limits. The site will become Black Mountain Commerce Park. Avadim's new quarters couild be open as soon as 2018, company president David Fann said.

McCrory called the expansion “one of the biggest job announcements in the state in the past decade.”

"It might be the biggest in the decade," he said.

Avadim, which Inc. magazine listed as No. 234 on its 500 fastest-growing U.S. companies in 2016, plans to move its corporate headquarters - office space, research and development, manufacturing and distribution - to Black Mountain Commerce Park. Remaining in the county was key, company CEO and board chairman Stephen Woody said in a statement.

“As a lifelong resident of Buncombe County, it was important to me that our business expansion happen right at home,” he said. “Avadim will not only contribute to the health and well being of individuals by addressing gaps in global health, including infection, neuromuscular disorders and wound care, but also this expansion will contribute to our economy by continuing to cultivate a vibrant life sciences sector and spur jobs in Western North Carolina.”

David Gantt, chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, said the expansion “highlights the extraordinary entrepreneurial talent in our community.”

“Company founder Steve Woody is a champion of WNC and as a business leader has always created high-quality jobs in his hometown,” Gantt said. "Today we celebrate the creation of a world-class headquarters building, hundreds of excellent careers for our citizens, and the first tenant in Black Mountain Commerce Park. This is a great day in Buncombe County.”

The announcement was part of an "exciting day" for Black Mountain, Black Mountain town manager Matt Settlemyer said.

"Locally, regionally and frankly, statewide, this is a big announcement," he said. "It's a real opportunity for the economic boom to continue here in Black Mountain and eastern Buncombe County."

The presence of the company will help diversify the economy in the region, Settlemyer said,

"This commerce park is roughly 200 acres, so this is just the beginning of the development of that park, not the end," he said. "I think that's what is the most exciting for Black Mountain. We'll now have the opportunity to continue to grow responsibly in a way that allows people to live, work and stay in Black Mountain."

Though the property is just outside of town limits, Black Mountain will supply the park's water.

"There are two grant sources that will reimburse the town for those costs," Settlemyer said. "So there's no cost to the town to basically improve our water system, while allowing the commerce park to have access to the town's water."

The increased water infrastructure will allow the town's water system to grow in the future at no cost to taxpayers, according to Black Mountain alderman Larry Harris. Harris, who was present for the announcement, said Avadim Technologies is the type of company that any region would be eager to attract.

"This business is in health care," he said. "They want to continue to develop that health care technology, which is a great industry targeted for growth in the county. It's an industry that fits very well here."

The company lists four products on its website. Three products are topical solutions aimed at skin care and hygiene. The fourth product is related to medical and skin care product development.

Avadim's move into Black Mountain Commerce Park could make the park attractive to other businesses, which would bring more jobs to the area, Settlemyer said.

"You will see that park continue to develop," he said, "either with companies similar to this one or additional phases of this company - or even companies that aren't similar to this one but that share a similar vision. I think you'll see that start to happen as this moves forward in the next 3-5 years."

Avadim received a $4.9 million North Carolina Job Development Investment Grant, said Kim Genardo, spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce. But that money is contingent on the company creating all 551 jobs over 12 years, Genardo said.

The Buncombe County incentive to Avadim, if it creates those jobs and satisfies other metrics, is $881,960, said Tim Lampkin, director of business retention and expansion for the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County. That will be be paid over five years, he said.

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