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To the disappointment of several former Continental Tire employees, a developer that will house the tire company's new headquarters in Indian Land is one step closer to receiving major incentives.
County Council unanimously passed second reading Monday to approve a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with MacMillan Investments, which is leasing its building on S.C. 160 to Continental Tire.
Continental Tire will move 300 employees from its Charlotte headquarters to the 75,000-square foot building in McMillan Business Park in Indian Land.
Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said the move is a $10 million to $12 million investment, which includes landscaping, water and sewer lines and other infrastructure. Land grading is complete and construction is expected to begin early in 2009.
MacMillan Investments, which is part of Springland and Forsite Development, will receive a 95 percent rebate on property taxes for its first year in the county, and a 65 percent rebate for the second year, according to the agreement.
Continental Tire, however, will not receive any of the incentives, Willis said.
Under the agreement, MacMillan has pledged to keep at least 300 employees in the building.
If Continental Tire were to leave, MacMillan would still have to uphold its end of the agreement, which includes the 300 workers and the multi-million dollar investments.
"I believe the best thing we can do is to approve the incentives and get these 300 jobs in here," Councilman Fred Thomas said.
Although all of those jobs are expected to be transfers, Willis said that's better than Continental moving its headquarters out of this region.
Council officials have said that more than 130 people who live in Lancaster and York counties are part of the group of 300 employees who will be employed at the local facility. With the move just across the border, those workers can keep their jobs, Willis said.
Job turnover may benefit Lancaster County residents, Willis said.
"Even if they're just transferring, there's great likelihood that local residents will get those openings (in the future)," he said.
Former employees speak out
Previously laid-off Continental Tire employees aired their grievances with council about Continental's move to Lancaster County.
The company once employed more than 1,400 people at its Charlotte plant, which included workers from Lancaster County. The plant closed in 2006.
Mark Cieslikowski considers the MacMillan deal a slap in the face to the hundreds of locals who were affected by Continental's departure.
"It's not a legal issue," Cieslikowski said. "It's more of a moral issue."
County Council will vote on third and final reading of the ordinance at its next meeting – 6 p.m. June 2 on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St. Contact reporter Jesef Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 283-1152