WAKE FOREST — Town officials last week approved a $90,000 grant designed to encourage engineering company 3 Phoenix to continue its local expansion.
By a vote of 4-0, the Board of Commissioners decided to move ahead with a contract that would award money through the town’s “Futures Fund,” an economic development program.
The project is intended to bring high-paying permanent jobs to the fast-growing area.
Mayor Vivian Jones said she’s glad to see the Futures Fund in use for a quality project. The fund was created several years ago with money from the sale of the Parker-Hannifin site on Wake Union Church Road.
“We need to be using it, but we also need to be careful how we’re using it,” she said.
3 Phoenix already has 90 employees working in a building on Capcom Avenue and an additional 110 are expected to move into a second building by July. The company also has locations in Maryland and Virginia.
The grant focuses on development of a third building in Wake Forest as early as the second quarter of 2016. While the number of employees and their salaries isn’t set yet, the building would be similar in size to the company’s existing Wake Forest building and salaries also would be in a similar range.
The average annual salary for 3 Phoenix in Wake Forest is about $100,000, double the average $50,487 annual salary in the area overall, according to a town notice about the grant.
During a public hearing before the vote, no one commented on the grant proposal.
The 3 Phoenix grant is the third Futures Fund project the board has considered, including one that did not come to fruition after it was approved. The other major investment made through the Futures Fund was a funding package for the Wireless Center made up mostly of a loan.
A committee forwards project ideas to the commissioners for their considerations.
Marla Akridge, head of the Wake Forest Chamber Area of Commerce and a member of the committee, said the Futures Fund is a unique way to offer economic development incentives to businesses interested in the town. It’s a plus to be able to suggest creative incentives, she said.
The committee does have a long vetting process to ensure quality projects though, Akridge said.
“We really consider them carefully before they get to this level,” she said.
The $90,000 grant to 3 Phoenix will be released in three installments.
Barr: 919-836-4952; Twitter: @barrmsarah