Eli Lilly and Company plans to invest $1 billion in a Cabarrus County manufacturing campus that will generate nearly 600 new jobs with an average wage of over $70,000.
This is the second major economic development announcement made for The Grounds at Concord (site of the former Philip Morris plant) within the past year and is the second-largest in the history of Cabarrus County.
“This will change the landscape of biotech in this part of our state,” said Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Page Castrodale. “It expands North Carolina’s life sciences industry into the Charlotte region in a very transformative way, bringing tremendous opportunity with it.”
The 589 jobs are for highly skilled workers, such as scientists, engineers and manufacturing personnel. An estimated 500 additional positions will be required during construction, which is expected to begin this year.
Lilly’s facility will produce injectable products and devices, the company said. The entire project will consist of over 800,000 square feet across a five-building campus that includes the manufacturing facility along with spaces for logistics and packaging, a quality control lab and a central utilities plant.
"Lilly is entering an exciting period of growth and we are committed to delivering innovative medicines to patients around the world,” said Edgardo Hernandez, senior vice president and president, Lilly Manufacturing Operations. "Expanding our manufacturing footprint in North Carolina enables us to continue to produce today’s medicines while providing additional capacity to manufacture the medicines of tomorrow. We are pleased to again partner with North Carolina to bring jobs to American workers and provide more medicines that patients need to address health challenges.”
Lilly selected Concord due to the manufacturing technology experience of the local labor force; the proximity to universities with strong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs; and access to major transportation infrastructure.
“We are a work-ready community with a pipeline of success,” said Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair Steve Morris. “We have depth in education, skill and talent and our location is second-to-none. We welcome corporate leaders, like Lilly, who seek a supportive community. We are grateful for this opportunity and our role in making life better for people around the world.”
On Friday, January 28, state and local officials gathered virtually to celebrate the project through a live YouTube announcement. Featured speakers included Castrodale and Morris along with Concord Mayor Bill Dusch, NC Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders and Lilly Senior Vice President Mike Mason. The event followed the approval earlier Friday of state Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG) by the North Carolina Economic Investment Committee.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lilly as they usher in a new era of biotechnology in our region, with Concord as a leading destination for innovation and excellence,” said Mayor Bill Dusch. “Lilly is a global leader in biotechnology, and we are proud to partner with them as they deliver hope to patients in our community and around the world through life-saving medical treatments manufactured right here in Concord.”
Economic incentive packages
Officials with Cabarrus County and the City of Concord are holding meetings to vote on the local incentives on February 10. The performance-based property tax grants are being proposed on an estimated $920 million of the company’s overall investment. These grants are only applicable if the operations meet continual performance goals.
The Cabarrus EDC worked collaboratively with the following organizations to locate the pharmaceutical company in Concord: Cabarrus County, City of Concord, North Carolina General Assembly, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County, Dominion Energy and the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
Project evaluation began in 2021 and coincided with another major economic milestone for The Grounds at Concord. In July 2021, Red Bull, Rauch and Ball Corp chose Concord as the home of a 2-million-square-foot beverage manufacturing, filling and distribution campus. Castrodale said the companies are continuing to finalize plans for the beverage hub and hope to begin construction in the next year.
In addition to Red Bull, Rauch and Ball Corp, Lilly joins Carvana and Golden Home at The Grounds. Following the Lilly announcement, more than 600 acres remain available for development.