Local News

Novartis Justifying Holly Springs' Faith in Vaccine Plant

Posted April 6, 2007 7:26 p.m. EDT

— Novartis plans to expand its vaccine plant in Holly Springs even before the plant is open, which local officials say validates their decision to offer the company millions of dollars in incentives to locate in the town.

The Novartis plant is slated to open in 2009, but company officials recently announced plans to increase its original size by 53 percent to accommodate a new product line, making it the largest vaccine plant in the U.S. The expansion means an extra 50 to 100 jobs, with the total payroll now projected at 400 to 450 employees.

"It's what we envisioned when we first began talking two years ago," Holly Springs Town Manager Carl Dean said.

Town officials offered more than $20 million in infrastructure improvements and tax breaks to attract Novartis. Some have questioned whether the town can afford it, but Dean said the town couldn't afford to let the plant pass it by.

"Incentives are an easy thing to jump on right now, but the bottom line is it's an investment," he said. "I think that's how all towns have to look at these things."

The bigger building on the 167-acre site will mean a larger local tax base to help offset the incentives, he said. Officials also project that employees spending money in Holly Springs could produce about $5 million in indirect benefits annually from the plant.

"We're pretty slwo right now because there's not a lot of industry in the area to bring people," local restaurant owner Renee Fincher said.

The boom could start as early as this fall, when construction on the plant begins, Fincher said.

"With 1,000 construction workers, that could have a huge impact in the short term," she said.