UNION COUNTY — A $290 million investment in an industrial expansion that will create 100 new jobs is already under way and Union County Council did its part Tuesday to move it along by approving an incentive package for the project.
During its December meeting Tuesday, council voted unanimously to approve a resolution amending an existing fee-in-lieu of tax agreement and to approve an incentive agreement between the county and a company known only by the code name “Project Wolverine.” Under the terms of the agreement, the company will spend up to $290,400,000, but not less than $278,200,000 on the expansion of an existing industry and create at least 100 new, full-time equivalent jobs.
To facilitate this expansion, the county will extend the existing fee-in-lieu of tax agreement with the company to cover the expansion which will allow the company to pay a lower property tax rate on the additions to its facility. The county will also provide the company with Infrastructure Improvement Credits covering its investment in the property and infrastructure. The county will also transfer three parcels of land with a total acreage of 3.56 acres northeast of the existing facility to the company along with part of Fire Station Road which runs along the southeastern edge of the county parcels.
In addition, the county also agrees the company leasing and expanding the county spec building as part of its expansion plans. The county sold the building in September to Agracel Inc. of Effingham, Illinois for $1.5 million, allowing it to recoup its investment in the construction of the facility as well as clear nearly $70,000.
While it had all the necessary utilities including power, water, sewer, and gas for industrial development and ready access to US 176, the spec building, which is located at 2 LSP Driver in Union Commerce Park, was just a 60,000 square-foot shell with a dirt floor. It also had an adjacent 60,000 square-foot building pad, and an additional 45,000 square feet of open land. The pad and the additional land are there to accommodate any potential industrial expansion that may occur.
Since the sale, work has been under way at the spec building, work that appears to be making us of the pad and additional land to complete the facility and more double its size.
An Ongoing Relationship
While its identity is concealed beneath the code named assigned it, Project Wolverine has had a long relationship with Union County, a relationships that began a decade ago with the construction of a new manufacturing facility. A relationship that continued with an expansion of that facility and now looks to continue with yet another expansion.
According to the agreement approved by council Tuesday, on Aug. 9, 2006, the company entered into a fee agreement with the county to invest $90 million in the construction of a manufacturing facility in Union County and create 130 new, full-time equivalent jobs. To facilitate the investment, construction of the facility, and the creation of those jobs, Union County and Spartanburg County entered into an agreement to develop a multi-county industrial park in Union County in which the facility would be located.
The agreement states that six years later, on Dec. 1, 2012, the company and the county into another fee agreement, this one involving the expansion of the facility built under the 2006 agreement. This new agreement called for the company to invest $50,926,000 in the expansion of the manufacturing facility and create 100 new, full-time equivalent jobs.
Four years later, the company is in the process of another expansion and, once again, the county stand ready to do its part to assist them in that expansion.
In other business, it was announced that the county had received two grants totaling just under $500,000 for the following projects:
• A $399,685 Basic Infrastructure Grant from South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority for Brown’s Creek Water Company for the construction of a new booster pump station.
• A $100,000 grant to construct a walking trail in the Lockhart Community.
Council also voted unanimously to approve third and final reading of an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the Town of Jonesville.
Under the terms of the agreement, the town will “adopt in its entirety, by ordinance, Union County’s Building, Construction, and Technical Codes” and repeal its current municipal codes. In exchange, the county’s code enforcement officers and personnel will “enforce ordinances for building codes within the municipal limits of the Town of Jonesville” on behalf of the town.
The agreement states that the town “is willing to allow the county to retain any fees for services, permits, inspections, and fines collected by the county in connection with building codes services and enforcement.”
Council also voted unanimously to approve third and final reading of a fee-in-lieu of tax agreement with Standard Textile.
For more about these stories and other economic development-related issues affecting Union County see upcoming editions of The Union Times and online at our website (www.uniondailytimes.com) and our Facebook page.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.