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REGIONALREPORT Charlotte

Spotlight on: Nexxus Lighting 

Why: Reached an agreement to sell its light-emitting-diode bulbs through Lowe’s, the nation’s second-largest hardware chain.

Incorporated: In Florida in 1991 as Super Vision International Inc., which went public in 1994.

How it got here: “Our mission is to grow rapidly. Charlotte, North Carolina, provides a more strategic and geographically central location on the east coast, in a state where LED technology and the technical talent is being embraced.” — 2007 press release announcing new name and headquarters.

Full-time employees: 33

Financials: Net loss of $8 million in 2010 on $5.4 million revenue, up 9% from ’09.

Patents: 33, with 29 more pending.

Manufacturing: Most is outsourced, including all of its Array brand, to plants in Mexico, China and Minnesota.

Price range of products on Lowe’s website: $8.98-$69.98

Chief competitors: Cree, General Electric, Osram Sylvania, Royal Philips Electronics, Acuity Brands Lighting, Cooper Lighting, Hubbell Lighting and Lithonia Lighting.

Positive current: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, recently debated anew in Congress, sets higher energy-efficiency requirements on all bulbs, which is seen as a benefit to LED manufacturers and a problem for makers of incandescent bulbs.

 

The Park gets in gear

 

Downtown Charlotte might be rid of an eyesore just in time for the Democratic National Convention in August 2012. Construction resumed in March on The Park condo tower. The project was announced in 2000, but construction stalled, leaving a rusting shell. Developer Pete Verna filed for bankruptcy protection (cover story, December 2009). Small Brothers LLC, a Florida developer, took over in late 2009 and has been busy redesigning it and getting necessary permits. In addition to condos, the 22-story tower will now include a rooftop restaurant, a 172-room Hyatt Place Hotel and retail space on the ground floor.




 


CHARLOTTEPark Sterling agreed to pay $32.4 million for Greenwood, S.C.-based Community Capital. It will be Park Sterling’s first acquisition after raising $150 million last year to buy struggling banks in the Southeast. The combined company will have more than $1.2 billion in assets.

CHARLOTTEHVM, which manages Extended Stay Hotels, plans to move its headquarters here from Spartanburg, S.C., this year and create 170 jobs within three years. It employs 488 in North Carolina.

CHARLOTTE — A Superior Court judge ruled that the developer of The Vue condominium tower can’t force buyers it has under contract to close their deals, but it can keep their deposits if they don’t. Chicago-based MCL has closed on only 16 of the more than 400 units in the 51-story tower.

KINGS MOUNTAIN — Westchester, Ill.-based Bay Valley Foods plans to open a distribution center this month that could employ as many as 75. The company makes a variety of private-label food products, including pickles and coffee creamer.

CONCORDCelgard plans to expand the plant it is building here and add an unspecified number of jobs. The $65 million expansion will increase its ability to produce separators for lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. The first section of the plant will open by year-end. It will employ 204.   

GASTONIA — Two European companies plan to open factories next year. Germany-based Lanxess will employ about 55 to produce high-tech plastic used in cars and trucks. Italy-based Repi plans to employ about 30 by 2012 to make dyes and additives for plastic and polyurethane products.

Charlotte-based Horizon Lines says in regulatory filings it could face bankruptcy reorganization because of its $500 million debt and a $45 million fine it paid to settle a price-fixing scheme. It expects to default on some of its loans, which could prompt lenders to seek accelerated repayment. The shipper lost $60 million last year on revenue of $1.2 billion.