County OK’s Deal for Mega Industrial Site

County Council’s latest venture – a mega industrial park site to attract the heavy hitters.

County Council’s latest venture – a mega industrial park site to attract the heavy hitters.

WINNSBORO (Aug. 4, 2016) – Fairfield County Council officially embarked on a major economic development project last week, giving final authorization to an agreement between the County and the S.C. Department of Commerce to acquire more than 1,000 acres of land in Fairfield County that is located on the east side of I-77 and to the north of Highway 34. Another 800 adjoining acres are under option.

The anticipated purchase price of the land is $8,583,669. The County will contribute $3 million with the Commerce Department raising the remaining $5.5 million. Once the properties are acquired, the County will hold the titles and will transfer the titles to the Commerce Department when it is certified that an economic development prospect intends to make a qualifying commitment on one or more of the parcels.

“Council’s goal is to develop a mega site on this land to attract significant economic development prospects,” Ty Davenport, Fairfield County Economic Development Director, told The Voice. “This is a tremendously positive step for the County and for South Carolina. Mega projects can be transformative for communities. Our proximity to the Port of Charleston, the Charlotte International Airport, USC, Midlands Tech and to a large existing labor pool makes this site very attractive.”

The ordinance specifies that the Commerce Department and the County will lease or buy six contiguous parcels of land that make up the site. Three of the parcels, designated as “key” parcels, meaning they are integral to the development of the mega site, comprise 984 acres and are described as the Porth Tract, the P. Palmer Tract and the Patrick Tract.

Three other parcels are described as option parcels and include a 5.88 acre tract owned by the Ruff family. Councilman Dan Ruff (District 1) recused himself from the second reading and was not present at the special called meeting for the third reading. In total, the key and option parcels amount to just under 2,000 acres.

Davenport said utilities and infrastructure can be extended to the site.

“In the event that a large qualified user becomes interested in the property, funds to cover the costs of infrastructure would come mostly from the state’s resources. The commitment of these funds would be based on several criteria such as job creation, total investment, wage level, environmental compliance and other economic factors,” Davenport said. “No funds will be expended until a mega user has committed.”

Davenport said the Commerce Department committed to actively recruiting and pursuing large economic development projects to locate on the parcels and to work with third parties in order to fund any site development costs.

“This will not happen overnight,” Davenport said. “But I am confident that, ultimately, we will see success. Council took a very positive step in the effort to provide future jobs and long-term opportunities for Fairfield County citizens. The opportunity to partner with the State of South Carolina and the S.C. Department of Commerce as well as the I-77 Alliance and the Central Carolina Alliance is very important. Fairfield County will be marketed to significant companies around the globe.”