Honeywell CEO praises new headquarters city while hinting at more growth ahead

Three years later, Honeywell International Inc. (NASDAQ: HON) is finally home.

On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper, Mayor Vi Lyles, and other civic and business leaders attended the opening of the company’s new 23-story headquarters building in uptown. The headquarters, on South Mint Street, is part of real estate firm Lincoln Harris’ 10-acre Legacy Union development.

After hearing Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk offer kudos about his company’s decision to relocate from New Jersey — “The reality of being here is even better than you portrayed” — the governor and mayor said they are more convinced than ever that the company is already an asset for future corporate recruiting.

“If they feel like it’s a great process to come to Charlotte and, ultimately, be a part of the family here, it makes it a whole lot easier and it makes our job a whole lot easier” to recruit other companies, Lincoln Harris President Johno Harris told CBJ on Wednesday.

Honeywell, with anticipated revenue of $35 billion this year, ranks No. 94 on the Fortune 500 list. The company makes electronics and equipment for a range of industries and uses, including aviation, air filtration and disinfection, industrial chemicals and materials, and more.

Adamczyk noted most headquarters employees are already in the new uptown tower as Honeywell ramps up in-office work.

“Over the course of the last several months, we have been safely bringing Honeywell employees back to the office,” he said. “The reaction from our colleagues has been really incredible. Like everyone, they are relieved and excited to return to something resembling normalcy.”

Cooper and Lyles were “instrumental” in bringing Honeywell here, Adamczyk said. He used the same word to describe Republican state lawmakers Phil Berger, president of the state senate, and Tim Moore, the state House speaker. Neither Berger nor Moore attended. Local political sources said they were invited. Several members of City Council and representatives from county government were in the audience.

Honeywell committed to bring 750 jobs and invest $248 million here by the end of 2023 as part of an incentives agreement reached in December 2018 with state government. Those jobs will pay an average annual salary of $348,000; the average wage in Mecklenburg County is $72,000.

State job development grants — contingent upon Honeywell meeting those commitments and paid out over 12 years — could reach $42.5 million. No state payments have been made yet, N.C. Commerce Department spokesman David Rhoades told CBJ this week. The first year of formal reporting for Honeywell’s hiring and investment was 2020, he added.

Honeywell’s local incentives consist of a 15-year reimbursement grant of up to $28.9 million based on incremental property tax revenue and job creation. City incentives, based on the same criteria, could pay Honeywell up to $17.1 million over 15 years.

The 313,000-square-foot headquarters building is 95% occupied by Honeywell and the remainder will likely be used by the company for future expansion, Harris said. No definite determination has been made about that, he added.

Capacity for Honeywell is 1,000 employees in the current space. The company said it now has between 750 and 800 employees here.

“Honeywell’s grand opening means so much to our economy, it means a lot to our community, and we just wanted to come and celebrate this moment,” Cooper said. “Because they are already so integrated into this community and our state. I’m amazed how quickly it has occurred, but I’m not surprised because we knew the kind of community corporate partner they were going to be.”

The governor called Honeywell CEO Adamczyk “a great recruiter” for North Carolina because of his praise for Charlotte and the rest of the state.

“The things he just said, ‘This is the best place that I have ever lived, this area has exceeded our expectations,’ that’s a strong message for a CEO of a Fortune 100 company to other companies throughout the world,” Cooper said.

Mayor Lyles agreed. “When you have a Fortune 100 company, others pay attention to it — they see that any company that is going to be successful in the future has to have talent,” she said. Honeywell has made it clear that the skilled workers the company will need can be found in Charlotte, Lyles added.

Much of the focus during the opening event on Wednesday was on community outreach.

Adamczyk pointed to several examples, including a joint venture to stage Covid-19 vaccination clinics with Atrium Health, Speedway Motorsports, and Tepper Sports & Entertainment. During the past year, those entities have helped 150,000 people receive vaccinations through mass drive-up clinics at Bank of America Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Other ventures include Honeywell’s $2 million donation to seed a small business recovery fund organized by Charlotte Center City Partners and the Foundation For The Carolinas. To date, the fund has distributed a combined $4.6 million to 140 small businesses. Of those, 90% are owned by women, minorities, or veterans.

Honeywell is backing the new main library in uptown, the Carolinas Aviation Museum, STEM programs at Discovery Place, and Junior Achievement.

During his remarks, Adamczyk hinted at the likelihood of more growth for Honeywell in the months and years ahead.

“I heard you mention the word ‘expansion,’ Darius,” Cooper said later, eliciting laughter. “We look forward to this company growing, we look forward to continued partnership with you, and a bright, prosperous future for our state.”