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Red Hat to keep headquarters in Wake, add jobs

Posted January 10, 2011

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— Red Hat will keep its corporate headquarters in Wake County and add more than 500 jobs in the next five years, officials said Monday.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) plans to invest $109 million in its new headquarters, which will be between 300,000 and 400,000 square feet.

“North Carolina has been a strategic partner to Red Hat for more than a decade. The talent base we've been able to attract headquartered in this state has been phenomenal,” Red Hat Chief Executive Jim Whitehurst said.

Whitehurst said it could be several months before Red Hat settles on a site in Wake County for its headquarters. The company is now based at North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus and employs close to 700 people in the state.

The state Economic Development Committee on Monday awarded Red Hat close to $15 million in incentives for a two-tiered expansion in the Triangle. The company will add 240 jobs in the next four years and will add another 300 in 2015 to accommodate new products, officials said.

The new jobs will have an average salary of $80,000 to $83,000, which is almost double Wake County's average of $42,700.

The first Job Development Investment Grant, or JDIG, will refund up to $6.75 million of the state withholding taxes Red Hat pays for its new workers. The second JDIG, valued at up to $8.2 million, would be tied to the 2015 expansion.

Perdue with Red Hat State incentives key to landing Red Hat expansion

Companies must meet hiring targets over several years to receive the full value of a JDIG.

State officials estimated the total economic impact of Red Hat's expansion at $1.5 billion.

"We call this our company," Gov. Beverly Perdue said, donning a red fedora. "It's kind of like NASCAR. It was born here, it was bred here and we're going to do whatever is legal to keep it here."

Raleigh and the Triangle faced keen competition for Red Hat's headquarters. Sources confirmed that the company solicited and received several specific proposals before Thanksgiving, and company officials were reported to be actively looking at options for new space in Boston, Atlanta and Austin, Texas.

"Obviously, North Carolina came in with the total best package," Whitehurst said, noting that incentives were key to the decision to remain in Wake County.

"Without incentives, we would not have been able to stay here," he said. "We work for a public company. I have to look my board of directors. I have to look the shareholders in the eye and say I got the best economic deal."

"This has been an aggressive competition," Perdue said. "It's one I got personally involved in. I did everything but cook (Whitehurst) a home-cooked meal."

Given the size of the company’s request, developers from Raleigh, Durham and the Interstate 40 corridor have offered packages that include construction of a building with Red Hat serving as the anchor tenant, sources said.

City of Raleigh officials were  “totally engaged” in keeping Red Hat in Raleigh, said Harvey Schmitt, chief executive officer of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

“We have put our best foot forward,” added Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. He said he remains “hopeful” that Raleigh will win the corporate recruiting battle.

One source said that N.C. State representatives keep asking Red Hat for a time-line about its decision making process but as of Tuesday had not been told anything specific.

Durham officials issued a statement Monday afternoon to thank Red Hat for considering moving to the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham and expressing delight that the company would remain in the Triangle.

42 Comments

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  • quaten Jan 12, 7:37 p.m.

    Many may forget or be unaware - the concept of creating a technical business zone, specifically suited to recruit talent from a tri-college area, has provided the current prosperity many communities enjoy. It didn't manifest from farming or heavy metal manufacturing. The local prosperity was provided by scientists, intellects, and nerds.

  • quaten Jan 12, 7:08 p.m.

    If we don't compete for the tech companies now, RTP will gradually morph into a business real estate waste land or worse - another Global Transport Park. When a local tech company needs to grow, that should be regarded as a positive sign, worthy of efforts that don't chase it away.

  • jvel777 Jan 10, 7:32 p.m.

    What I'm curious about is what the current financial status of RH that they could not have remained in the area if they would not have received this incentive.

  • dlb800 Jan 10, 7:28 p.m.

    "where do I find out about employment opportunities?"

    I hope that was sarcasm or some kind of joke. I mean, RedHat.. where would you expect to find employment opportunities for a company like RedHat? Personally, I would check Redhat's website... www.redhat.com would be my first guess.

  • dlb800 Jan 10, 7:26 p.m.

    chivegas,

    You do realize that "Bev" is the governer of NC, not the Mayor of a particular town. I don't like her, but give her a break. It's not her fault Progress is moving to Charlotte, at least they are staying in the state. "Bev" has to be concerned about the WHOLE state, not just one town, or city, or county.

  • dlb800 Jan 10, 7:22 p.m.

    snickers27588,

    I could be wrong, but the "incentives" being given to RedHat isn't cash.. so it's not as if the state is spending money.

    If you still don't understand why this is an important distinction, take a look at some of the other states. New York wanted to raise taxes on it's highest incoming earners. They increased the taxes, and alot of the highest income earners left the state. So, instead of bringing on all this money that they thought they would get from the tax increase, they got ALOT less. If RedHat choose to leave, then not only would they take jobs out of the economy here, but they wouldn't pay local or state taxes to NC, and neither would the people who lost their jobs from RedHat (had RedHat moved).

    So, NC doesn't have to come up with the money for these incentives.

    It's too bad that most of the people don't get it. Liberals try to convince people that the Bush tax cuts had to be PAID for. No they don't..

  • jvel777 Jan 10, 7:22 p.m.

    That corporate black hole has just gotten bigger. Interesting to see how many other tech companies will utilize the same tactics to exploit tax breaks??

    Whatever the number, I hope it doesn't drive the NC deficit deeper than it already is.

  • gallbury Jan 10, 6:22 p.m.

    I wish, just once, that "Dumplin" Bev could conduct an interview without sounding like a bumpkin. She's either talking about her mama's "nanner puddin'" or she's cookin' a meal to get the deal.

  • rlwieland Jan 10, 6:12 p.m.

    Awesome news! This is a great area for red hat to be in as well! Thanks for staying!

  • jscletsplay1002002 Jan 10, 5:42 p.m.

    Another "WAY TO GO BEV!!!". We appreciate you and your attempts to bring and keep jobs here in NC. Of course we do, we wanna work, now dont we? We wanna keep the economy going strong here in the Triangle. Some of us just dont understand that, and want to complain about everything any anything, they can, what scrooge's they are.

    Kudos Bev and Red Hat.

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