Obviously the big story from last night’s Greensboro City Council meeting is the Friendly-Hobbs rezoning, but flying under the radar is the council’s approval of a $2.3 million contract with an engineering firm for design work and environmental assessment of the proposed Liberty-Randolph megasite, which ostensibly will attract an automobile manufacturer to the area:

City leaders hope additional partners —including the Golden Leaf Foundation, which has pledged $50 million toward infrastructure and workforce development to the first site that lands the state an automaker — will pay for the balance of the project.
The sewer portion is estimated to cost $5.3 million and the water portion is estimated to cost $15 million.

HDR Engineering is expected to begin design work, surveying and other tasks June 1. Design work is expected to be completed by April 1.

With that timeline, bidding for the construction of the project could begin June 1, 2016. Construction could begin Sept. 1, 2016.

Meanwhile, as South Carolina basks in Volvo’s glow after landing the auto maker’s $500 million factory, JLF’s Locker provides some perspective:

The takeaway is to be cautious of the benefits advertised by agreements like these. There always hidden numbers and external impacts that chip away at the positive economic impact promoted by development authorities. This is not to say that the move will not have any positive impact, only that it comes at a very significant expense to SC.

Caution…indeed. Not sure how much of that I’m seeing in the megasite deal.