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Posted on: November 19, 2019

Well selects location in Chapel Hill for Operations & Corporate Center

Photo of Penny Rich

Governor Roy Cooper, the Town of Chapel Hill and Orange County announced today (Tuesday, Nov. 19) that Well will invest $3 million to establish a new operations and corporate center in Chapel Hill that will create about 400 high-paying jobs over five years. The center will expand on the company’s recently established location at 419 W. Franklin St. in Downtown Chapel Hill.

Well provides a consumer engagement platform that helps individuals navigate and improve their health. Well’s concierge health team and digital experiences provide on-demand support to members, while proactively surfacing personalized health insights. The operations hub will serve as the primary center for Well’s clinical and health experts, with software developers, data analysts, and corporate personnel.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company during its site evaluation process. Chapel Hill and Orange County worked with the state to successfully secure the project. Well also considered sites in Boston and Durham for its center. Economic benefits will be shared across North Carolina with an expected $8.4 million increase in state revenues over a 12-year incentive with Well.

“Building on our deep local connections, Chapel Hill provides an ideal environment for our new operations and corporate center,” said David Werry, Well’s President & COO. “Access to high quality talent, major academic centers, and unique community resources were all key drivers in our decision to locate in Chapel Hill.”

“We are thrilled that this thriving Chapel Hill start-up company has chosen to establish here,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger.  “Strengthening Chapel Hill’s economy by creating new jobs and increasing our commercial tax base are critical to our long-term economic sustainability. We are excited to welcome Well and their employees to our downtown.”

“It is especially nice when a company with strong ties to Orange County returns to grow their business here,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “We are thrilled to welcome Well to Orange County. We don’t have to tell you what a special place this is, and we look forward to growing with you no matter what color blue you don.”

The Town of Chapel Hill has offered a performance-based incentives package that includes $450,000 tied to job creation and $450,000 in parking credits over a period of eight years.  The incentive program is contingent on Council approval and would be awarded based on the company meeting specific targets for new jobs.  On-site (property/building) improvements are expected to contribute new property taxes which will help defray the cost of the incentives program.

Orange County will hold a public hearing to discuss and approve its incentives at a later date, including the use of county-owned property on Franklin Street.

“Increasing the commercial tax base and bringing more well-paying jobs into Chapel Hill will benefit everyone in the county,” said County Manager Bonnie Hammersley. “The Board of Commissioners has made it a priority to attract new industry and retain existing companies to diversify our property tax base. This announcement will help us continue to move that needle forward.”

“This is the beginning of a new wave of exciting opportunities for Downtown Chapel Hill,” said Chapel Hill Town Manager Maurice Jones “We are thrilled to be able to attract respected and expanding companies like Well to the heart of our community.”

Chapel Hill Commercial Development Strategy – Chapel Hill is focused on becoming a world class center for research and development. The Commercial Development Strategy supports opportunities to put Chapel Hill’s people to work, and create economic prosperity for all, now and in the future.

The economic incentive goals of Chapel Hill are to create quality jobs, strengthen the economy and build community wealth; sustain a high quality of life; promote stewardship of the community’s resources; maintain and develop affordable, quality housing opportunities; and to promote comprehensive opportunities for education, skills development and lifelong learning.

Orange County is focused on building a balanced, diverse and thriving local economy that promotes diversity, sustainable growth and enhanced revenues while maintaining our community’s values. The Orange County Economic Development Advisory Board works cohesively with the County’s Economic Development staff, the Board of Commissioners and other economic development partners to position Orange County as a competitive location for business opportunities.                                                                                          

About Well

  • An early-stage healthcare technology and services company, incorporated January 2019
  • Provides technology-enabled solutions to consumers via employers
  • Platform enables consumers to navigate their health and wellness needs
  • Consumers access and engage with clinical and health experts through chat and telephone
  • Chapel Hill operations center will serve as primary center for clinical and health experts
  • Primary locations: 419 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, with additional sites to be finalized
  • Website: https:well.co

Partnering and Incentives 

  • North Carolina to invest $4.4 million over 12 years from Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG)
  • Town of Chapel Hill to invest a maximum of $900,000 (half of this commitment is a credit toward downtown parking), payable over 8 years
  • Incentives are based on job creation with awards activated after employees are hired for two years.
  • Well to invest $3 million  in creation of new operations center and property to support job creation
  • Orange County partners with Project Well to lease downtown office space for its service center and offers a property tax-based incentive if the office space is purchased from the County during the first five years of the incentive agreement.
  • Incentives from Town of Chapel Hill will require a public vote at meeting to be announced

Public Benefits 

  • Economic benefits will be shared across North Carolina with an expected $8.4 million increase in state revenues over a 12-year incentive with Well.
  • 400 jobs over 5 years
  • Average annual wage of $62,665 for Well employees
  • Employees to include clinical and health experts, software developers and data analysts