South Carolina

Blackbaud Expanding to New World Headquarters in Berkeley County, SC

Blackbaud, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLKB), a provider of software and services for the global philanthropic community, has announced plans for relocating to a new and larger world headquarters on Daniel Island in Berkeley County, SC.

Blackbaud HQ on Daniel Island, SC

Blackbaud HQ on Daniel Island, SC (photo – blackbaud.com)

Founded in 1981, Blackbaud is already the largest publicly traded software company in the state. Serving approximately 35,000 customers in 60 countries, Blackbaud operates facilities in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Using Blackbaud technology, these organizations raise, invest, manage and award more than $100 billion each year.

The company has also made a rich contribution to Charleston economic development over the years. Nearly half of Blackbaud’s rapidly growing workforce resides in the Charleston area. As part of this latest expansion, the company expects to create another 300 high-tech jobs over the next five years.

Mike Gianoni, Blackbaud’s president and CEO, said in a statement that “This community is very important to us, and this project improves our ability to give back in even more meaningful ways while boosting the local economy.”

Gianoni thanked the State of South Carolina, the SC Department of Commerce, Berkeley County, and the City of Charleston for their continued support of Blackbaud. The South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to the project.

The approximately 360,000-square-foot environmentally friendly campus which Holder Properties will build and lease to Blackbaud will ultimately accommodate thousands of the company’s global workforce, and will serve as a hub for the advancement of philanthropic interests.

The new campus will also offer community space to incubate emerging. The site will include facilities to host the company’s ongoing community development and corporate citizenship activities such as Camp Blackbaud, an employee-led STEM program that teaches elementary school children how to design and code.

As part of the expansion announcement, Blackbaud made a $20,000 donation to the Daniel Island Community Fund (DICF) to support its Cainhoy Elementary and Middle School initiatives focused on education of disadvantaged youth in communities close to the new Blackbaud facility.

Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler said in the release that Blackbaud has been an incredible corporate citizen in Berkeley County for many years, investing not only in their business but also in the county’s great people. “Berkeley County is extremely grateful for this new investment in the county and the hundreds of jobs it will create,” said Peagler.

Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chair Anita Zucker added that the significant expansion of Blackbaud’s headquarters in the Charleston region demonstrates that this global market offers the competitive advantages innovative companies and entrepreneurs need to succeed.

CRDA is the regional economic development organization serving Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties.

Myrtle Beach Economic Development Secures Executive HeliJet Expansion With 75 Jobs

Executive HeliJet, a full-service aircraft charter, maintenance, repair and management company, is planning an expansion of its operations in Horry County, SC.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach (photo – TheDigitel Myrtle Beach/flickr)

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. announced that the local company will add 75 new, full-time jobs to their current operations, investing approximately $1 million dollars in equipment and facility improvements over a five-year period.

The new positions will include maintenance repair technicians, operators, skilled craftsman, and managerial, professional and technical support jobs that will pay an average of $20.55 per hour with employee benefits.

Apart from its aircraft maintenance and repair actions, Executive HeliJet also operates a fleet of 25 aircraft, providing numerous flight services and pilot training. Executive HeliJet is already a tenant at the North Myrtle Beach Airport and the Myrtle Beach International Airport, where it now plans to lease additional space.

Executive HeliJet CEO Jeremy Bass said in the release that “This is a wonderful result of the efforts of the MBREDC, Horry County Department of Airports, the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County.”

Bass added that this combined collaboration has seen the demand for aviation business growth for both Myrtle Beach International Airport and for Executive HeliJet.

Josh Kay, president and chief executive officer of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, likewise said that “This is just another example of great teamwork between the MBREDC, Horry County, Horry County Airports, the City of Myrtle Beach, and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Redevelopment Authority.”

MBREDC serves as a comprehensive resource for location and expansion assistance, and to facilitate development programs throughout Horry County. The organization leads Horry County’s efforts in attracting, growing and retaining businesses that diversify the local tourism-dependent economy and create year-round stable jobs.

City of Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes noted that having Myrtle Beach International Airport in the heart of the city is a tremendous convenience for residents and visitors, and this announcement from Executive HeliJet shows that the airport also is a great resource for bringing new jobs to the local economy.

“MYR’s central location, and the money invested in the surrounding area, including The Market Common, make Myrtle Beach an attractive choice for an aviation-related industry like Executive HeliJet,” said Mayor Rhodes.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus added that Executive HeliJet’s announcement to expand their operations is proof that Horry County is a great place to live and work.

Berkeley County, SC Gets Viva Recycled Rubber and Plastics Manufacturing Plant

Viva Holdings Group, Inc., a global leader in products manufactured from recycled rubber and plastic, has announced the selection of a site in St. Stephen, in Berkeley County, SC, for a new integrated manufacturing plant.

VIVASC Recycling

VIVASC Recycling

This Berkeley County economic development project will generate a $28 million investment and create 200 new jobs, with the potential for additional expansion. The company will be renovating a 177,000-square-foot industrial site in St. Stephen, SC.

Not only will plastic and rubber products produced at this South Carolina plant be sold in the U.S. and exported to China, but the facility will also make use of a large amount of the state’s recycled rubber and plastics.

Viva Holdings Group, Inc., through its subsidiary Viva TPE Products, LLC, is a manufacturer of semi-finished rubber goods with proprietary technology for export to China, along with a variety injection-molded finished products.

Moncks Corner, SC-based VIVASC Recycling already collects, processes, and recycles millions of used tire and post-industrial rubber waste every year from South Carolina and contiguous states.

The scrap tires they collect from landfills, municipalities and tire retailers in the region are then processed into a family of environmentally friendly products.

Viva Holdings Group, Inc. CEO Marty Sergei said in a statement that “Viva is proud to build in St. Stephen, S.C. an integrated manufacturing plant using our state’s recycled rubber and plastics.”

Gov. Nikki Haley noted in the SC Commerce release that “This $28 million investment, and the 200 new jobs it means for Berkeley County, is a huge win for everyone involved, and we look forward to watching this partnership grow for many years to come.”

Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler highlighted the economic impact of this project on the region. “Berkeley County is extremely grateful for Viva’s investment of both finances and new jobs, both of which will significantly change lives for the better in this region,” said Peagler.

Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chair Anita Zucker focused on how the project was secured. “Berkeley spearheaded a seamless and professional effort that demonstrated why this market is so successful,” said Zucker. “Viva will be a wonderful addition to the region and a strong economic partner, and we are proud to welcome them here.”

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt added that “Congratulations to the company on deciding to invest in Berkeley County, and we anticipate great things from their new development.”

Healthcare Data Company ChartSpan’s Expansion Brings 300 Jobs to Greenville, SC

Healthcare data company ChartSpan Medical Technologies, Inc. has announced plans to establish and run clinical support operations at a new location in downtown Greenville, SC.

Greenville, SC ChartSpan

Photo – greenvilleeconomicdevelopment.com

Backed by venture funding, South Carolina job development credits and support from the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC), the company is making a $3.2 million capital investment and has signed a lease for nearly 100,000 square feet of office space at 2 North Main Street.

ChartSpan expects to bring 300 new healthcare jobs to this facility in Greenville, making the company one of the largest employers in the downtown area.

The three year old technology start-up helps doctors and patients engage with each other through portals, mobile apps and chronic care services. The startup relocated to Greenville from Texas as one of ten businesses accepted to the Iron Yard Ventures Healthcare Accelerator Program in 2013.

Upon exiting from the accelerator program, the company was offered state and Greenville economic development tax and job creation incentives to stay in Greenville. ChartSpan agreed, and made Greenville its headquarters location with support from GADC and NEXT.

NEXT is a program of the Greenville Chamber, created to attract and grow high-impact, knowledge-based companies by developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs to it. The NEXT Innovation Center provides flexible office space options for innovative companies, entrepreneurs, and technology companies.

Supported by NEXT and GADC, ChartSpan has grown into one of the leading patient engagement companies in healthcare over the last two years. ChartSpan’s patient technologies have become the most downloaded medical app in the United States. The company released its new patient engagement product suite last month, and has already signed more than $9,000,000 in customer contracts.

In order to secure this latest expansion and the 300 jobs the company will bring, the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved more job development credits for ChartSpan.

ChartSpan CEO and Cofounder Jon-Michial Carter said in a statement that “We have a deep love and affinity for Greenville. The State Department of Commerce, the Greenville Department of Economic Development, NEXT and Greenville city leaders have helped us every step of the way.”

Governor Nikki Haley likewise responded that “ChartSpan’s $3.2 million investment, and the 300 new jobs it will create, will have a huge impact in Greenville and across the state, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue this partnership and watch them succeed here for a very long time.”

Greenville County Council Chairman Dr. Bob Taylor added that the County continues to grow and support cutting-edge technology companies like ChartSpan because of the high quality of life, well-educated workforce and innovative business sector. “We are thrilled to see ChartSpan’s entrepreneurial spirit and efforts lead to this expansion here in Greenville,” said Taylor.

Greenville, SC Secures New Proper Polymers Manufacturing Facility

Proper Polymers, a division of Proper Group International, has announced the selection of the Matrix Park in Greenville County, SC as the location for its next manufacturing facility to manufacture injection molded components for the automotive industries.

Proper Polymers

Proper Polymers (photo – greenvilleeconomicdevelopment.com)

Supported by Greenville economic development organization GADC and job development credits approved by the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development, the company will be making an investment of $15.45 million to build a 50,000-square-foot facility that will be expandable up to 100,000 square feet.

Proper Polymers Greenville expects to create 87 new jobs at this location. Proper Polymers President Joe Grippe said in a statement that the company is thankful for the opportunity to grow their business in S.C. and further support their customer base in this region. “The state and local governments have been very accommodating in supporting our second facility in the Upstate area,” said Grippe.

Gov. Nikki Haley likewise said that “We’re excited to welcome Proper Polymers to the South Carolina family, and look forward to seeing them thrive here for many years to come.”

Greenville County Council Chairman Dr. Bob Taylor focused on the economic development impact of the automotive industry projects the area is attracting. “Proper Polymers is a great example of the ‘ripple effect’ that occurs with an automotive original equipment manufacturer,” said Taylor. “Magna Decostar comes to supply BMW, Proper Polymers comes to supply Magna. We are grateful to all three for their commitment to our area and welcome Proper Polymers to our family of automotive companies.”

Proper Polymers is a strategic supplier to large Tier 1 integrators. The company is a full-service supplier of plastic injection molded products and assemblies, and specializes in molding highly aesthetic products, and a number of assembly and secondary operations, including sonic welding, heat staking and hot stamping.

This new Greenville manufacturing facility will be Proper Polymers’ second facility in SC and fourth facility overall, adding to existing locations in Anderson, SC; Warren, MI; and Pulaski, TN.

SC Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt added that “On behalf of the citizens of Team South Carolina, I would like to congratulate Proper Polymers on their decision to open another facility in the Upstate.”

Apart from SC Commerce, the company also received assistance from Greenville County and the Greenville Area Development Corporation. GADC was established as a non-profit organization to promote and enhance the economic growth and development of Greenville County. Since its inception in 2001, GADC’s efforts have brought more than $3 billion in capital investment to Greenville County, along with the creation of more than 18,500 jobs.

US Economic Development Administration Grant to Aid Volvo Project in Berkeley County, SC

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has announced that it is awarding a $1.65 million grant to Berkeley County, SC to construct a new regional sewer system that will support automaker Volvo’s first manufacturing facility in the United States.

Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars (photo – Christopher Persson/wikimedia)

Volvo Car Corporation had announced last year in May that it has selected a Berkeley County site for a $500 million factory that manufacture latest-generation Volvo models for sale in the United States and for export.

The plant is expected to create 2,000 new jobs over the next decade and up to 4,000 jobs by 2030.

Announcing the EDA grant supporting this project, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in a release that “This EDA investment will help to establish Volvo’s first U.S. manufacturing plant, creating 2,000 jobs and expanding South Carolina’s critical automotive sector.”

EDA’s investment will help to build a new regional water system consisting of collection and conveyance lines and a large regional pump station to support the industrial park in which the new Volvo manufacturing facility will be located. The plant is located in northwestern Berkeley County on a portion of the Camp Hall site.

As per an economic impact analysis compiled by Dr. Frank Hefner at the College of Charleston, the initial 2,000 direct jobs created by Volvo will result in the creation of more than 8,000 total jobs. The plant, which will have an initial estimated annual production capacity of around 100,000 cars, is expected to contribute approximately $4.8 billion in total economic output on an annual basis.

Situated approximately 25 miles northwest of Charleston, the facility will have a positive impact not just on Berkeley County and Charleston economic development, but also in Dorchester, Colleton, and portions of Orangeburg, Williamsburg, Clarendon, Calhoun, and Bamberg counties.

The development of the Camp Hall site will furthermore lead to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands in a critical, neighboring watershed.

A package of South Carolina economic development incentives totaling more than $200 million has been approved in order to secure this project and support Volvo’s operations. For its part, Berkeley County has agreed to provide water and sewer infrastructure for the new plant.

Apart from this new federal grant from the Economic Development Administration, Berkeley County’s water and sewer expenditures related to the Volvo facility are also supported by a $3 million state grant being provided through the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority.

Chester County, SC Approves Economic Development Incentives for Largest Investment Project in State History

At a specially called meeting yesterday, the County Council of Chester County, SC held a final reading and voted to approve tax incentives for Project 1429, which would be the largest single investment project in the state.

Chester County Courthouse , SC

Chester County Courthouse , SC (photo – usda.gov)

The company, identified in county agenda documents only as Project 1429, is planning to invest $1.6 billion to establish a renewable diesel facility and related facilities in Chester County.

Project 1429 expects to create up to 1,400 new full-time equivalent jobs at this facility. The plant will produce cellulosic diesel fuel using renewable sources such as wood and other sources of plant cellulose.

If it goes ahead, this $1.6 billion investment will be the largest investment for a single South Carolina economic development project, eclipsing the $1.2 billion investment in the Bridgestone Americas project.

Project 1429 is also nearly thrice the size of the recently announced Giti tire project in Chester County, which is bringing $560 million and 1,700 jobs to South Carolina. Factoring in these two projects, and others such as the $100 million Carolina Poly project that is creating 300 jobs, Chester County economic development will have secured over $2.5 billion in investment projects in the past year.

Chester County has been in consideration for two large ethanol projects since as far back as 2007. At that time, it was reported that the County was in the running for a corn-based ethanol project and another ethanol project that would use wood chips and logging waste as source material.

In 2008, East Coast Ethanol, LLC announced plans to build a $230 million corn-based ethanol facility in Chester County. At that time, the company said it chose the site because of the easy access it provides to transportation routes, ports and fuel terminals.

At its specially called meeting, the Chester County Council has now approved an ordinance authorizing the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of tax (FILOT) agreement with Project 1429. The County Council also approved the inclusion of certain property in the county into the York-Chester Industrial Park in order to facilitate the project. Furthermore, the ordinance also allows for the provision of credits against the FILOT payments.

The project announcement, subject to approval of South Carolina economic development incentives and fulfillment of other requirements, is likely to be made in late February jointly by state leaders and company officials.

Georgetown County, SC Economic Development Incentives Secure SafeRack Expansion

SafeRack LLC, a manufacturer of loading rack and safety access solutions, has announced plans for an expansion of its operations in Andrews, SC.

SafeRack expansion in Andrews, SC

SafeRack expansion in Andrews, SC (rendering – saferack.com)

Supported by Georgetown County and South Carolina economic development incentives, the company is investing $20 million on equipment and space, with plans to expand its Andrews facility by adding more than 100,000 square feet of space.

The company expects to create 100 new jobs over the next five years. Most of the new jobs being created will be located at the newly expanded Andrews facility.

SafeRack, a division of SixAxis LLC, was established in 2003. In addition to its Andrews headquarters and manufacturing facility, the company also operates facilities in Sumter, SC and Broadstairs, U.K. They now have customers in more than 50 countries and have racked up a 500 percent increase in sales since 2010.

SixAxis CEO Rob Honeycutt said in a release that with the amount of growth they have experienced, growing their staff and facilities became a necessity. The new space at the Andrews facility, which will be used for manufacturing, warehousing and sales, is anticipated to be operational in 2017.

“SixAxis has always been committed to maintaining its base in Andrews and surrounding areas,” added Honeycutt.

Governor Nikki Haley noted in the release that “This $20 million investment, creating 100 new jobs, is a huge step for this remarkable company and proves that the Team South Carolina approach to investing in workforce training, education and economic development continues to pay off.”

In order to secure the project, the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a $200,000 Set Aside grant to Georgetown County to assist with the cost of real property improvements.

SC Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt added that “Representing SafeRack’s tremendous commitment to South Carolina, this expansion sends a message that the Palmetto State is an ideal location for businesses to succeed.”

SixAxis’ expansion plans also easily qualified for a Job Development Credit (JDC) from the state and county as a performance-based incentive.

Georgetown County Economic Development Director Brian Tucker said in the release that “We are very proud to be the home of SixAxis and its brands. We have witnessed their rapid growth firsthand.”

Greenville, Upstate SC Expect Economic Development Benefits From AT&T Gigapower

AT&T has announced plans to expand the availability of ultra-fast speeds through AT&T in parts of 38 additional metros across the United States, including Greenville, SC.

AT&T

Photo – AT&T

AT&T’s GigaPower network offers Internet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. Pamela Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina, said in a release that the AT&T GigaPower network will help encourage economic development in Upstate South Carolina by facilitating a new wave of innovation through enhanced opportunities for education, health, research and small business growth.

“This reflects the ongoing efforts by South Carolina’s state and local leaders to build and maintain a public policy environment that encourages private investment in advanced technology,” added Lackey.

Local, regional and state leaders likewise highlighted the Upstate SC and Greenville economic development benefits of high-speed broadband connectivity.

Greenville Mayor Knox White noted that one of the keys to Greenville becoming the most beautiful and livable city in America is sustainable economic development to attract new jobs in environmentally-sound industries.

“High-speed broadband not only connects people and opportunities, but it is the foundation for precisely the kinds of clean, high-skilled, 21st Century jobs we want our city to be known for,” added Mayor White. “I am excited to see AT&T is planning to bring its AT&T GigaPower network to Greenville and look forward to the positive impact that this new fiber-optic network will have on our community.”

Dr. Ronnie L. Booth, chairman of the Upstate SC Alliance, likewise noted that “This is outstanding news that reaffirms our region’s reputation as an innovation and technology center in today’s global marketplace.” The Upstate SC Alliance is a public-private regional economic development organization serving the northwestern corner of South Carolina.

Governor Nikki Haley said in the release that “When we talk about making South Carolina’s environment for business development competitive, we’re talking about things like offering the companies we’re recruiting, and those already growing in our state, the latest and most innovative technology infrastructure.”

“That’s why,” added Gov. Haley, “AT&T’s announcement that it plans to deploy gigabit speed Internet service across South Carolina is terrific news for our employers, employees, students and families.”

AT&T GigaPower metro was first launched in Austin, TX nearly two years ago. The network now serves parts of 56 metros, and is available in 20 of the largest metro areas in the United States. The AT&T GigaPower network has already been deployed to more than 1 million locations, and is expected to more than double its footprint by the end of next year.

West Branch Commerce Park is Third South Carolina Site to Get CSX Select Site Designation

CSX announced that a portion of the West Branch Commerce Park in Berkeley County, SC has been designated a CSX Select Site.

CSX Select Site - West Branch Commerce Park, SC

CSX Select Site – West Branch Commerce Park, SC (photo – csx.com)

The West Branch Commerce Park is the third site in South Carolina to get this designation, following the I-26 Mega Site in Newberry County, SC, and the White Hawk Commerce Park located between Florence Regional Airport and I-95 in Florence County, SC.

Clark Robertson, assistant vice president, regional development at CSX, said in a release that the State of South Carolina continues to be a magnet for new industry. “Located 30 miles from the Port of Charleston, this site is ideal for manufacturers with overseas customers or international supply chains and is well-positioned to capitalize on the area’s superior logistics capabilities,” added Robertson.

West Branch Commerce Park is also the first in South Carolina’s Low Country to be designated as a CSX Select Site. This 689-acre industrial park, formerly a wholesale nursery operation, is located three miles south of the Town of Moncks Corner, and is adjacent to U.S. Highway 52 as well as CSX’s mainline.

The CSX Select Site designation was awarded to the southern half of the park, totaling 362 acres. Anita Zucker, whose company owns the site, said in the release that “As both a CSX Select Site and a South Carolina Department of Commerce certified site, West Branch is ready for the immediate development of rail-served industry and manufacturing along Berkeley County’s prime US-52 growth corridor.”

Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler noted that this announcement of “West Branch Commerce Park being chosen for CSX Select Site certification is a testament to Berkeley County’s highly attractive investment environment – incredible infrastructure, a well-trained labor force and the lowest county government tax rate in the state.”

CSX introduced the Select Site program in 2012 to better serve new or existing customers on its network. CSX partners with site selection consulting firm The Austin Company to screen candidate sites and assist communities with the application and certification process.

In order to receive the Select Site designation, the location must meet a rigorous list of criteria, including infrastructure and utility availability, environmental reviews, appropriate zoning and entitlement, rail serviceability, proximity to highways or interstates, and other attributes.

Certified sites are featured on a CSX web portal that provides detailed information about the site (see West Branch Commerce Park listing) for site selection professionals.

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