April 24, 2015
The Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership and Aiken County Council broke ground Thursday on a new speculative building, hoping it draws in large industrial business and jobs in the county.
The 100,000-square-foot speculative building will be located on more than 1,000 acres in the Sage Mill Industrial Park in Graniteville, beside the Bridgestone plant. The modern-looking building consists of just four walls and a roof, which saves industry months of construction time and gives the business more room for expansion.
“It’s very exciting, and it certainly improves our chances of landing another industrial user,” said Will Williams, the president and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership. “We’re also very appreciative Council again had the foresight to purchase this property and then allow us to use it for this purpose.”
The Economic Development Partnership approached the County in February 2014 with the proposal to construct a spec building, and that same year Council voted to authorize a loan through Santee Cooper Power for the Partnership. The low-interest loan is for approximately $3.2 million through the power company, not Aiken County. The County had to authorize the Partnership’s loan application because the County is acting as a backing agency. That means if the building doesn’t get sold or leased, the County could be responsible for a portion of the loan.
Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young said the Sage Mill Industrial Park itself is “great” and has been a “success for other industry” so far. He said Council was always supportive of the project because “Aiken County is always going to be in the forefront” of business.
“With the addition of this new speculative building, it will allow things to go much faster and get the industry here and let them locate at a faster pace,” Young said.
That, Williams said, leads to more job opportunities.
“We want to get this building looked at, occupied and paid for and then again start the process,” he said.