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REGIONALREPORT Triad

A polo match

High Point must be a good fit for Ralph Lauren Corp. In mid-June the New York-based apparel and branding company announced it would expand operations there, where it already employs more than 1,400 at three distribution centers and other offices. It will invest $142 million and create 500 jobs — paying an average annual wage of $31,000, less than Guilford County’s average of $40,196 — within five years of the expansion, which is scheduled to begin later this year. Upon completion, Ralph Lauren, known mostly for its Polo brand, will have invested $267.7 million in the city.

The company announced its first High Point operation, a distribution center, in 1991, and this is the second major local development it has announced in the past two years. In November 2010, it said it would create 400 new jobs and invest $21 million to buy a building and turn it into a distribution and logistics center for its home goods, bedding, apparel and other products. That renovation is still under way. The latest — upgrading apparel-fulfillment and -distribution centers — was announced after High Point officials approved $2 million in incentives and Guilford County chipped in $1.2 million. The state will give the company up to $500,000 from the One North Carolina Fund for the expansion and a Job Development Investment Grant that could be worth $2.5 million if it meets employment and investment targets.

Hitting High Point

Ralph Lauren’s history of investment in the Triad city by date of each project’s announcement:

January 1991
New Piedmont Centre distribution center
•    Investment: $21 million
•    Jobs: 300
October 1998
Expansion of Piedmont Centre
•    Investment: $30 million
•    Jobs: 600
October 2006
New Kivett Drive distribution center
•    Investment: $40 million
•    Jobs: 250
June 2007
Expansion of Piedmont Centre
•    Investment: $13.7 million
•    Jobs: 0
November 2010
New Eagle Hill distribution center
•    Investment: $21 million
•    Jobs: 400
June 2012
Expansion of Piedmont Centre and Kivett Drive distribution centers
•    Investment: $142 million
•    Jobs: 500

Sources: High Point Economic Development Corp.; Greensboro News & Record

Briefs

WINSTON-SALEMWake Forest Baptist Medical Center named Eric Tomlinson chief innovation officer and president of Piedmont Triad Research Park. He has a background in drug development at companies in Georgia and Texas. 

MOUNT AIRY Pike Electric will purchase Charlotte-based UC Synergetic for $70 million from Falfurrias Capital Partners, the private-equity firm of former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl. The company provides engineering and design services for electric utilities as well as transmission and substation infrastructure.

WINSTON-SALEM Krispy Kreme Doughnuts repurchased about 3.1 million shares for $20 million. The average price per share was $6.42.

GREENSBORO Bennett College named Esther Terry interim president, making her the first alumna to lead the school, after Julianne Malveaux stepped down earlier this year. Terry had served as provost and vice president for academic affairs for the past three years.