North Carolina built it -- and no one came

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The Seattle Times has a special 7E7 website with an archive of articles, and profiles of the states competing for the 7E7. You can even sign up for e-mail updates.

Here are some excerpts from >a story about North Carolina's bid for the 7E7 facility, using an expensive, underperforming industrial park near Kinston, about 90 miles inland from Wilmington's harbor. Note the numbers -- 50,000 jobs promised, $80 million spent (only $1,600 a job) but only 200 jobs actually generated -- $400,000 per job, which is still a bargain compared to the $1,000,000 per job Oklahoma is bidding for the Boeing 7E7 facility.

KINSTON, N.C. With much anticipation, North Carolina and the federal government invested roughly $80 million on a sprawling airport industrial park among the fields of corn and tobacco here, 70 miles from the ocean.

Backers said it would produce 50,000 jobs for a depressed 13-county area dependent on the declining tobacco and textile industries.

But after 11 years, the hoped-for economic renaissance has yet to materialize. The 2,000-acre Global TransPark has attracted no major tenants, but it has become a poster child for critics of taxpayer-financed megadevelopments.

It has produced just 200 jobs. Right now, the most visible sign of an aerospace industry is an air-cargo company's maintenance facility, which dismantles old 747s for parts.

Still, the site, with great transportation links and built-in training facilities, was designed for exactly the kind of high-tech manufacturing operation that Boeing's 7E7 would require. A state official last week claimed it's in the running. ...

Others, while welcoming the attention, say the project won't rise and fall on any one company. "One of the mistakes of the past was trying to hit the home run," said Eugene Conti, vice chairman of the Global TransPark Authority. "We are now focusing on singles and doubles."

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 10, 2003 3:43 PM.

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