Development at Hunter, Laurens
Economic Development projects are a “go” by county council
Four economic development projects in various states of progress were moved along last Tuesday by action of the Laurens County Council.
A majority of the council also agreed to a cost-sharing arrangement that will facilitate a study of a becoming-congested interstate interchange in Laurens County.
“Let LCDC fund it. We gives them $360,000 (a year) already. It’s a waste,” Council Vice-chairman Joe Wood said of the I-385 study.
“I live there. It’s not a waste. Development is pushing down (from Simpsonville). The only way to plan is to study,” council member Jeffrey Carroll said.
Council agreed to fund half, with the Laurens County Development Corporation funding the other half, of the Hwy 14 between Exit 22 and Exit 19, I-385, study. Wood and council member Kemp Younts voted “no” - Younts said the SC Department of Transportation has the expertise in-house to study roads.
Thomas & Hutton will make the study. The cost is $11,500 for data collection, $15,500 to access a land use plan for the corridor, and $42,500 for the analysis and report. Once the study is done, LCDC can take it to SC DOT and hammer home the need to upgrade Hwy 14. LCDC and Laurens Electric Cooperative are building an industrial park, The Connexial Center, on the road being studied. The aim is to upgrade the roadway so trucks delivering to industries and people driving to work are not so congested. The site is near the massive ZF Transmission plant at Gray Court-Owings.
“DOT told us we have to have a corridor study done, then we can hammer them with it,” said Jon Coleman, LCDC executive director. “That’s how to move forward.”
Building an interstate interchange will be a multi-million dollar project.
Coleman submitted a proposal for this study in April 2017. The county’s contribution will come from Fund 156, which has a balance of half a million dollars, stemming from FILOTs paid by industries (fees in lieu of taxes).
Approval was unanimous by the council on all motions and documents related to economic development.
Council agreed to expand the industrial park it shares with Greenville County to include TrueCore LLC (formerly BDS Technologies, Project Gator).
Project X (unnamed industry) was authorized with a public hearing on an incentives ordinance on March 26. Projected by an existing industry, this will be an expansion of not less than $20 million to be made between Jan 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2014, according to the document.
Council agreed to a support resolution for Muffin Mam Inc. to borrow money from JEDA (Jobs-Economic Development Administrator). There is no liability to the county if the loan is not paid. The council is involved because federal agencies want local projects endorsed by local governments.
Muffin Mam was extended an inducement agreement Jan. 16, 2019. The company proposes to borrow a not-to-exceed amount of $10 million in Industrial Revenue Bond issued through the SC Coordinating Council for Economic Development. The plant location will be 830 Hunter Industrial Park Road, Laurens, producing commercial baking products. Employment now is 90, with expansion to 114 within 24 months, according to the document.
Finally, Project Needle Punch (unnamed industry) was given an “on-go” status - this is a SC corporation that was extended a FILOT on Aug. 25, 2015 for an investment of not less than $17 million and 38 new jobs. It has met that goal, and seeks a renewed FILOT of $12.1 million to generate 25 new jobs. The new agreement extends for five years.
Info about investment opportunities in Laurens County: growlaurenscounty.com or call 864-939-0580.