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Who's eyeing PTI Airport? Leaders approves another $2M in incentives to entice company

The local incentives come in addition to $100 million granted by the state in the hopes of enticing an unnamed airplane manufacturer to the airport.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — More money is on the way to Piedmont Triad International Airport as state and local leaders are hoping to lure a company to set up shop there.

Thursday, Guilford County Commissioners approved a $2 million economic incentive grant to the airport for infrastructure costs associated with economic development.

"It is not so much an incentive as it is an investment in our infrastructure that will make way for economic development opportunities," Brent Christensen told commissioners during the public hearing.

Christensen is the President of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. The board passed the incentives unanimously.

The local incentives are in addition to $100 million dollars approved by state lawmakers earlier this month. The state funds are part of an effort to bring an unnamed airplane manufacturer to PTI. 

It's code-named "Project Thunderbird" and according to the bill providing the grant, the company would employ about 1,750 people. The average pay would be about $60,000 a year. 

Christensen and airport director Kevin Baker declined to comment on Project Thunderbird after Thursday's hearing but said preparations for large projects have been going on for years.

"There’s an awful lot of activity right now," Baker said. "It’s very busy, there’s a lot of companies that are interested in the airport, and that makes me feel very optimistic that we’re going to see some stuff moving forward."

Guilford County has seen several big economic developments in recent weeks. Toyota announced last week it will build an electric car battery plant at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.

The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday children's clothing manufacturer LT Apparel will relocate its national distribution center to Guilford County in 2022. The company will invest $57 million and create 116 new jobs.

It comes after Greensboro and Guilford County approved incentives for the company in May. 

"We’re seeing those investments through incentives pay off in jobs and large investments in the private sector for our community. That’ll pay off for many years to come," Christensen said.

Christensen said the hope that the incentives for PTI will translate to similar investments from companies.

"The airport has a great plan. They’ve been executing their plan. Right now, they're doing a lot of clearing and grading at the airport to make it even more ready for economic development purposes," Christensen said. "The same type of preparation that you saw at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is happening at the airport as well."

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