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Miller: NN Inc. project could lead to 200 new jobs

April 14th, 2014 11:31 pm by Nathan Baker

Miller: NN Inc. project could lead to 200 new jobs

Washington County economic developers believe the relocation of NN Inc. could lead to up to 200 jobs. (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)

Johnson City headquartered NN Inc. was confirmed Monday as the manufacturer being courted by local economic development leaders hoping to land a new $10 million corporate office building and 200 new jobs.

Mitch Miller, CEO of the Washington County Economic Development Council, said the bearing, precision metal, plastic and rubber component maker is the corporation behind “Project Stone” the council’s code name for the economically significant project.

If NN Inc. keeps its offices in Johnson City and expands, it would mean hundreds of high-paying corporate jobs moving into the city with an estimated $50 million direct effect on the regional economy each year.

“We’ve been working with them for a while,” Miller said. “It’s in the state’s hands to do their due diligence on their part.”

Last month, the Johnson City Commission approved a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with the then unnamed company, hoping to increase the chances of retaining the manufacturer.

Under the PILOT, the company would be exempt from paying city and county property taxes on its new office site for the first five years, they gradually increase payments based on a percentage of the property tax until reaching full payments in year 11.

NN Inc. would also be exempt from paying taxes on equipment leased to the company through 2019.

The PILOT agreement contains a clawback provision requiring the company to pay more to the municipalities if it doesn’t create at least 80 percent of the jobs initially estimated by Jan. 31, 2017.

Miller said if NN Inc. expands its corporate office in Johnson City, it could bring with it an expansion of one of its manufacturing facilities in either Unicoi or Johnson counties.

The corporate office expansion could be one of the strongest economic drivers introduced to the area in recent years if greenlighted, he said.

After pushing for the approval of the local tax incentives, Miller said the WCEDC is now promoting the project to the state Department of Economic and Community Development and the development arm of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

If incentives are approved by those agencies, an announcement could come soon on the project.

A representative of NN Inc. did not return calls for comment Monday.

Earlier this year, the company announced the acquisition of V-S Industries, manufacturer of precision metal components with operations in Wheeling, Ill., and Juarez, Mexico.

NN reported a 10 percent increase in sales in 2013 over the year before, driven by higher demand for its products in Europe and the continuation of strong sales in North America and Asia.

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