STATEWIDE Charlotte Region
Panthers prepare their lair
In January, the Carolina Panthers began $65 million of renovations to its stadium, the first phase of a three-year, $112.5 million plan to modernize the 18-year-old structure. Additions to Bank of America Stadium will include four new escalator bays, two 5-foot-tall video boards encircling the interior of the stadium and two 63-by-212-foot high-definition LED video boards — double the size of previous ones. Last year, Charlotte City Council gave the team $87.5 million in exchange for a commitment to stay in Charlotte at least six more years. Of that, $75 million is for capital improvements. The Panthers will kick in $37.5 million. The first phase is scheduled to be finished by July 1.
CHARLOTTE — Wells Fargo, which acquired Wachovia in 2008, is the world’s most valuable bank brand, according to an annual study by Brand Finance. This is the second consecutive year the San Francisco-based company has held the top spot on the British consultancy’s ranking of the industry’s 500 top brands. Bank of America was third, up from fourth last year. It was No. 1 in 2011.
MATTHEWS — Kroger Co. completed its acquisition of Harris Teeter Supermarkets Jan. 28. The Cincinnati-based grocery chain — the nation’s largest — paid $49.38 a share in a deal worth about $2.5 billion. Harris Teeter has 227 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia, distribution centers in Indian Trail and Greensboro, and a dairy operation in High Point. Stores will still operate under the Harris Teeter banner. Kroger has no immediate plans for store closings or layoffs.
CHARLOTTE — Clifton Rutledge, former chief operating officer of San Antonio-based Whataburger, became CEO of Bojangles’ Restaurants Jan. 24. He succeeds Randy Kibler, who will be chairman. Bojangles’ has more than 550 restaurants in 10 states and the District of Columbia, plus three outside the country.
CHARLOTTE — Eclipse Automation opened a 25,000-square-foot engineering and manufacturing operation that will create 50 jobs within three years. The Canadian company makes automated equipment for manufacturers in solar, health sciences, transportation and other industries. Average pay will be more than $75,000 a year, well over Mecklenburg County’s $59,046.
SALISBURY — Ninety-three people will lose their jobs when Troy, Mich.-based Champion Home Builders closes its plant here this month. The manufacturer of mobile and modular homes will consolidate operations in Lillington.
CHARLOTTE — InChem Corp. will invest $15 million and create 40 jobs over three years at a plant it bought from Virkler Chemical. Rock Hill, S.C.-based InChem, which has plants there and in Duncan, S.C., makes resins for food- and beverage-can coatings and automotive refinishing. Its new site has more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse and a 25,000-square-foot laboratory.
CHARLOTTE — Kannapolis-based Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, the state’s largest Medicaid managed-care organization, will open a local service center this summer that will employ 80.