PRA International is moving its headquarters from Reston, Va., to Raleigh, the N&O reported today in a story that claimed incentives were the lure.

Were they?

CEO Terrance J. Bieker said in the firm’s press release:

After conducting a comprehensive analysis, we have determined that relocating to the Raleigh area will allow PRA to tap into a stronger market for operational resources, place us in closer proximity to existing and potential new clients, provide ready access to a highly qualified talent pool and reduce our infrastructure costs. To fuel our planned growth, we expect to begin aggressive hiring in October and hope to attract 500 administrative and operations employees over the next five years. North Carolina has one of the fastest growing workforces in the United States and we are pleased to take advantage of the low employee turnover rate and the quality of life. We believe this move to Raleigh will position us well to achieve our future growth targets

No mention of incentives there, let’s check the article again.

The N&O article says the state offered $8.4 million in state grants over nine years and that PRA International will pay “almost $5 million in state revenue” and contribute $2.52 million to North Carolina’s Industrial Development Fund.

So incentives brought the company to North Carolina and to Raleigh and Wake County that don’t want growth, but the company agreed to pay $2.52 million to avoid having to locate in a county that wants growth.

Clearly if you can make earn close to $1 million in moving to a state over nine years, you won’t complain. But it seems hard to argue that incentives were the “lure” for a company that earns more than $300 million a year, will add 494 jobs paying an average of $75,000 annually, and gives up $2.5 million in incentives to have access to all of the positives its CEO listed about the Triangle.