Lancaster Co. working to keep tech firm in Indian Land

abell@charlotteobserver.comMay 9, 2014 

— Union County, N.C., is offering incentives of up to $50,000 to an Indian Land medical information technology company to help lure its high-paying jobs to Waxhaw, N.C.

UNION County commissioners unanimously approved the incentive grant last week for InteliChart, which develops patient-related and patient-accessible software applications for the medical industry.

The potential relocation from Indian Land could bring at least 50 jobs, with an average annual salary exceeding $80,000, said Chris Platé, executive director of economic development for the county. That’s more than double Union County’s average annual salary of about $37,500.

“The impact on Waxhaw would be transformational to have this type of income level come in,” along with the number of jobs, Platé said. It also could have a strong ripple effect on the local economy, he said.

The county is also pursuing matching incentives from the state, Platé said, and possibly incentives from Waxhaw as well.

Waxhaw’s low-tax structure makes it an attractive site for companies, Platé said, noting that the county’s economic development group hopes to attract other IT companies to the town.

InteliChart expects to decide by the end of June whether it will stay in the Fort Mill Township area or relocate, company controller Apryl Heil said. InteliChart is considering moving to a new development called Historic Ventures in downtown Waxhaw.

The incentives package will be an important factor in the decision, Heil and Platé said.

Heil said the 4-year-old company likes the Waxhaw area, which happens to be home to some of InteliChart’s executives. And the notion of leasing space in a custom-built facility also is appealing.

The county grant would be stretched over three years, and job creation is a requirement of the incentive. The jobs would be a combination of new jobs and ones that would relocate from South Carolina, Platé said.

Discussions with the company have been active since last year. Platé said he is optimistic about the county’s chances.

Officials in Lancaster County, InteliChart’s current home, don’t know why.

“I will be very surprised if we lost them,” said Keith Tunnell, resident of the Lancaster County Economic Development Corp.

“They’re running out of space and they have at least four options (to grow in Lancaster). As of last week when I talked to the company, I think no decision has been made and I think we’re still in the running to keep them here,” Tunnell said.

Larry McCullough, chairman of the Lancaster County Council, said the county is committed to “attracting new business to the community, keeping existing businesses in the community and helping existing businesses that are looking to expand to expand in the community. To quote Gov. Haley, ‘one of the biggest compliments you can get is when a company looks around and then decides to expand in your community.’”

Fort Mill Times Editor Michael Harrison contributed to this story.

Bell: 704-358-5696; Twitter: @abell

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