Blog - Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Toyota Announcement

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Description automatically generated with medium confidenceCity of Burlington

Economic Development Office

 December 7, 2021


Investments in Megasites set to pay dividends in the Piedmont Triad

Megasites, as the name implies, are massive properties of 1,000 acres or more that are marketed to large economic development projects requiring significant land, utilities and transportation infrastructure. These projects are typically in the advanced manufacturing sector including automotive production facilities, aerospace and microprocessor or chip manufacturers. Investments of over one billion dollars the creation of 1,000’s of jobs are routine for projects of this scale. Indeed, projects of this magnitude have the capacity to impact the trajectory of entire regions and are high priorities for the communities and regions where the reside.  

North Carolina’s history is intertwined with megasites and is home to one of the country’s first and most prominent, Research Triangle Park (RTP), created by Governor Terry Sanford, local governments, and business interests in 1959. Today, RTP may need its own classification of site, as it has grown to include 7,000 acres of space that hosts over 250 companies and more than 50,000 employees. A driver for economic development and the well-being of NC for the last 50 years, RTP shows the potential of how large economic development sites can define a region and the state.

In 2021, North Carolina and the Piedmont Triad are poised to secure more trajectory-changing investments in another megasite. Located on the Randolph/Guilford County border in Liberty, the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is an 1,825-acre industrial property on the cusp of landing a major economic development project. 

The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite has grabbed many headlines in recent years after narrowly missing out on a Toyota-Mazda automobile manufacturing project in 2018. The collaboration project between the two foreign auto manufacturers will eventually employ 4,000 people and embody an investment of $2.3 Billion dollars, it’s no wonder why it was big news in the region when they announced their decision to locate in Huntsville, Alabama instead of here.  

Since this narrow miss, the stakeholders involved in the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite have continued to aggressively market the site and the Piedmont Triad’s attractive workforce, population trends, and education infrastructure to other impactful projects. In recent weeks, it has become increasingly clear that there could be another transformational project in the final stages of considering the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. 

On October 18th, Toyota announced its United States development plans of investments of more than $3.4 billion, specifically naming a plan for a $1.3 billion battery plant that would employ 1,750 people.  

One month later, on November 18th, Governor Cooper signed the NC Budget (Senate Bill 105, Section 11.19) into law, a budget that included $320 million to a confidential economic development project considering the state that “invests at least $1 billion in private funds and creates at least 1,750 eligible positions.” Those funds would be split up as below:

  • $100,000,000 for site work and wetlands mitigation
  • $35,000,000 for roadwork and additional wetlands mitigation
  • $185,000,000 in reimbursement funds to the private investor for their site work costs

The Greensboro City Council and the Randolph County Board of Commissioners have held special sessions on Monday, December 6th to discuss incentives for an economic development project. Both boards have approved the request for incentives for a project investing at least $1 billion and employing 1,750.

On the afternoon of December 6th, NC Governor Roy Cooper officially announced Toyota’s plans to invest in Randolph County. Toyota will invest $1.29 billion and hire more than 1,700 employees who will average wages of $62,234 in this Phase 1 of their development of the megasite. The plant is intended to be operational by 2025 and will start with 4 lines of operation with plans to expand to 6. The economic impact of the project is estimated to be more than $9.5 billion over 20 years. This project will put North Carolina on the map as a cornerstone region for electronic vehicle production!

This project is in Randolph County, why is this important to Burlington? 

First, Burlington is just a 20-minute drive from the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. So, not only would the project located at the megasite likely employ people from our area, suppliers for the megasite that want to be within convenient driving distance of a major customer will be looking to the Burlington area for their own operations. 

Second, impactful investments in electric vehicle production could signal other organizations in the industry to come to the region to invest in an area that has a cornerstone investment like the one proposed at the megasite. 

With this impactful investment just 20 minutes down the road, Burlington and all of Alamance County are set to benefit from investments and strategy planned and implemented in prior years. In 2015, Burlington’s Master Plan called for a coordinated effort to develop more investment-ready sites. Large industrial sites in our community were studied and some have had further “site-readiness” developments to assess the viability of the site. Priority sites along Anthony Road, Old Trail Road and NC 61 South continue to be developed and marketed to the business community for investment. 

Following its passage in mid-November, the North Carolina State Budget allocated to the City of Burlington, almost $6 million for water and sewer economic development projects. These investments will unlock 1,000 acres of industrial land at these priority sites and continue a process of site readiness measures taken in recent years. These sites will be competitive for supplier projects from the megasite investment and stand ready as increased attention is brought to our area. 

In 2016, the Randolph County Commissioners purchased the first piece of land for the megasite, Greensboro City Council followed up with water and sewer investments with help from the Golden Leaf Foundation, and the NC Railroad and Duke Energy play a major part in property and utility improvements. Our neighbors in Randolph and Guilford show how these investments pay off over a longer time frame. Five years after their initial and sizable investments, a major project will be calling their community home. Their example shows the path forward for Burlington, utilizing the investments made in our community to bring home impactful projects that push our community forward. 


Staff Contact

Blake Moyer

Economic Development Project Manager