Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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Second Mebane co. to close operations this summer

Prescient in Hawfields area industrial park to close July 9; 83 to lose jobs 

The Prescient Company has notified the state Department of Commerce that the company will close its facility at the North Carolina Commerce Park, in the Hawfields community between Mebane and Graham, and lay off 83 employees next month.

Prescient has filed a “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification” (WARN notice) with the state commerce department, announcing its intention to close its facility at the North Carolina Commerce Park (NCCP), effective July 9. Federal law requires businesses with at least 100 full-time employees to provide 60 days’ notice of any planned closure that will result in mass layoffs.

Prescient uses computer-aided design and prefabricated steel trusses, columns, and panels to build turnkey framing for multistory housing and commercial facilities.

The company had opened an $18.8 million, 135,000-square foot facility at 2125 Senator Ralph Scott Parkway in the spring of 2017 and announced around the same time that it would move its corporate headquarters from Arvada, Colorado to downtown Durham.

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Prescient later temporarily moved its headquarters to the NCCP after an explosion destroyed its building in downtown Durham in April 2019, Prescient chief marketing officer Rich Pond said at the time in an interview with The Alamance News. The company subsequently relocated its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, according to a press release on its website.

In the summer of 2017, Prescient held a grand opening celebration for its facility at the NCCP, including Gov. Roy Cooper. Prescient had originally anticipated needing to fill approximately 200 jobs in order to fully staff the Mebane facility, then-chairman Satyen Patel had said in a July 2017 interview with The Alamance News.

Local officials – representing county government and the cities of Mebane and Graham – were part of the ribbon-cutting festivities when Prescient opened in the summer of 2017.
Gov. Roy Cooper talking with Prescient executives during the company’s opening of Mebane plant in 2017.

Prescient also received nearly $1.2 million in local incentives from Alamance County, as well as the city of Mebane and the city of Graham, in the summer of 2016 in order to lure the company to the NCCP.

The local incentives agreements required Prescient to hire at least 205 people for its facility in the commerce park, with a stipulation that the plant have a minimum tax value of $15.3 million. The terms of the incentives agreement required the three local governments to release an initial payment of $300,000 following the opening of the Prescient facility, followed by five annual payments totaling $1,065,000. The city of Mebane also agreed to waive planning and inspection fees for the project, adding another $100,000 to the value of the local incentives.

Alamance County, Mebane, and Graham officials confirmed for The Alamance News this week that none of them had expended the incentives that were offered to Prescient in 2016.

Prescient was also to have received more than $1.9 million in annual reimbursements over 12 years through a state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) grant that was awarded in 2016, the N.C. Department of Commerce announced at the time.

However, the state commerce department canceled the JDIG grant earlier this year, with Prescient citing hiring difficulties, The News & Observer reported.

Meanwhile, the property where Prescient has its facility along Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway was sold for $14.8 million earlier this year to a limited partnership company called Exeter 2125 Senator Ralph Scott in Radnor, Pennsylvania, according to documents that have been filed with the county’s Register of Deeds to consummate the transaction.

Documents filed last month with the Secretary of State’s Office to create the limited partnership give no details about the nature of the business.

However, the mailing address of the principal office for Exeter 2125 Senator Ralph Scott listed on the creation filing (Five Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 250, 100 Matsonford Road in Radnor) corresponds with the address and website for Brandywine Realty Trust. Brandywine describes itself on its website as a real estate investment trust (REIT) that manages investment portfolios in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania.

Prescient officials had not responded to an inquiry from The Alamance News by press time.

That move appears to have been intended to protect the $190 million that Prescient raised from investors last year to expand its presence in the apartment building industry, based on a press release that the company issued in May 2021.

Prescient’s WARN report represents the second mass layoff affecting Alamance County workers this year.

Gildan, a Canadian-based textile manufacturer with a distribution center in Mebane, announced earlier this year that it would close its plant along East Washington Street and lay off 128 employees, effective June 30.

Gildan reportedly sustained extensive damage to the Mebane plant after an EF-1 tornado touched down nearby on Friday, May 6, numerous news outlets reported.


See earlier coverage of the Gildan closing: https://alamancenews.com/gildan-to-close-mebane-distribution-center/

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