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Behind the scenes: How Wake County rallied for Amazon in Garner

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September 07, 2018

by Laura Ohnesorge
Triangle Business Journal

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The email flurry to lure Amazon – at least in Wake County – began Dec. 18 with a slew of mandatory nondisclosure agreements. On very “short notice,” officials - from Ellen Tai, a business recruiter for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina; to Ashley Cagle, assistant executive director of Wake County Economic Development - had been asked to tag team a site visit from “Project Axis.”

They did not know that, eight months later, the mystery firm considering Garner's old Garner Slim Jim site for between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs would be announced to be Amazon.

Via hundreds of pages of email records released by Wake County at the behest of a public records request, it’s clear that – while the county didn’t step up with traditional incentives - its involvement proved critical, particularly in answering questions at the Dec. 19 site visit.

Joseph Stallings, economic development director for the town of Garner, made that clear in an email to county and state officials following that visit.

 “Economic development is truly a team sport,” he wrote, thanking them for their involvement.

According to an agenda, officials started the all-day meeting in downtown Raleigh for a state overview, then conducted a walk-through of the Jones Sausage Road site. 

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