Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Online marketing firm adding 130 jobs in Charlotte

Online marketing firm Yodle is moving to bigger offices in the university area and doubling its Charlotte employee count by adding about 130 jobs, officials announced Tuesday. Most of the new jobs at a 35,000-square-foot office on Claude Freeman Drive will be in sales. The others primarily will be in client services.

Yodle, which has more than 1,100 employees in six offices around the country, offers online marketing services to small businesses. It reports generating more than $130 million in annual revenues. The company has seen "significant growth" in Charlotte since setting up shop here in 2007, said Michael Gordon, chief financial officer. "With Charlotte's talented labor pool and business friendly climate," he added, "we look forward to continued growth in the years to come."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Confused by the N.C. tax law changes? This will help

The N.C. General Assembly made so many changes to the tax code last session that most of us are still trying to figure out exactly what it all means. And, if you're anything like me, what you're really wondering is: did they figure out a new way to stick it to me come tax time? Help is on the way for confused taxpayers in the form a new online summary of the tax changes, courtesy of the N.C. Association of Certified Public Accountants.

The summary, in an easy-to-follow chart format, lays out all the changes. A couple have already come to the notice of Observer readers, who wrote me after my broader story about the tax changes was published last Sunday. Several seniors wanted to know why under some scenarios retirees were seeing tax hikes. No changes were made to the way Social Security is taxed, but you'll note from the chart that a deduction for the first $2,000 of private retirement income such as IRAs or 401ks is going away. Also noticed by readers: no more deducting medical expenses -- something that could have an impact on seniors living in nursing facilities who receive thousands of dollars worth of medical care annually. And of particular interest to small business owners, the deduction for the first $50,000 of net business income -- $100,000 for couples filing jointly -- also goes away.

I suspect there are many more taxpayers who will get lowered bills than those who will see increases. Still, there's lots to think about with the new tax law. Bonus note: the chart also very handily lets you know when the various changes actually take effect.

Monday, August 12, 2013

SouthPark office building sells for nearly $12 million

A 58,445-square-foot office building near SouthPark Mall has sold for $11.89 million, officials said Monday. The building, at 4500 Cameron Valley Parkway, was bought July 31 by principals of the Keith Corp., the Charlotte real estate development firm. The building, which is fully leased, sits on the other side of Fairview Road from Phillips Place, and includes tenants such as Grubb Properties, Merrill Lynch and Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust Co.

Rob Cochran, head of commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley's Carolinas Capital Markets Group, joined colleagues David Finger, Addison Montague and Jared Londry in representing the sellers -- three companies controlled by local investors. He said the four-story building's sale price exceeded his firm's expectations. He attributed that to the building's prime location, quality construction and strong tenant roster. "We had a lot of investors that were looking at this opportunity and we got a lot of offers on the property," he said. "It was no surprise that there was significant investor demand."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Firm pays $94,000 in taxes -- to the wrong county

If Mecklenburg County officials are correct, the Celgard battery-making firm paid more than $94,000 in 2011 property taxes to the wrong county. Mecklenburg property tax records show the firm paid $94,643.89 on property with a tax value of $75,354,489. However, records show an adjustment on June 26 in which the $75 million value was canceled and the $94,643 refunded. Asked why, Mecklenburg Assistant County Manager Dena Diorio said Celgard had paid taxes to Mecklenburg for property that was actually in Cabarrus County.

Celgard has a Charlotte plant located just off South Tryon Street in the southwestern part of Mecklenburg County. Celgard, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based high-tech manufacturer Polypore, also opened a150,000-square-foot plant in Concord in July 2011. Officials with Celgard didn't immediately respond to requests for clarification about the tax situation.

Celgard makes advanced membranes used in batteries, electric cars and laptops. The corporation has been highlighted by President Barack Obama as a successful clean-energy company; he visited Celgard's Charlotte plant in 2010. The company cut 40 positions last December after demand for electric vehicles lagged expectations.

UPDATE: Kasia Thompson, a spokeswoman for Cabarrus County, said Celgard is appealing its Cabarrus tax assessment. The company originally reported it had invested about $63 million in its Cabarrus property, but is now saying less than $30 million of the reported property is actually located in Cabarrus.