Nuclear company Areva is moving its North American headquarters to the University area in Charlotte, where it already has more than 500 employees. The company plans to add another 130 jobs – mostly in engineering.
Areva CEO Michael Rencheck says Charlotte won out over Bethesda, Maryland and Lynchburg, Virginia.
"As our team started to evaluate the different cities, it really came down to the overall environment of Charlotte with the transportation access, the community of energy companies that are here that'll enable us to establish partnerships, the great education(al institutions)," said Rencheck.
Areva has donated funding and equipment to UNC Charlotte's new Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, which is training students to work in the region's energy cluster.
Rencheck said the Charlotte airport's hub status was also a factor, since Areva is headquartered in Paris and does business around the world.
The company will qualify for state grants in excess of $2.5 million if it creates the 130 new jobs it hopes to fill by the end of 2016. Areva is not receiving any city or county economic incentives for its expansion.
The company helps electric utilities design and build nuclear reactors.