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County enters into land option deal

Could bring major industry here

Posted: October 28, 2010 10:31 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2010 10:27 p.m.

Kershaw County Economic Director Nelson Lindsay was a popular man at Kershaw County Council’s meeting Tuesday.

During the meeting, Lindsay recommended the county enter into a land option agreement with the John W. Conder Family Limited Partnership that would put more than 1,350 acres in the county’s control for at least the next five years. Council unanimously approved the land option agreement 6-0. Councilman Gary Elliot was absent.

Lindsay said the county has never done anything of this magnitude before.

Assuming the due diligence comes back clean, the deal puts the county “on the radar” for large-scale industry looking to locate a facility, Lindsay said.

“Companies of this size aren’t going to take the time to look at a site that isn’t already certified,” said Lindsay. “This will allow us to be able to market this to those large projects that we really don’t have a shot at otherwise,” he added.

The property is located near Exit 92 off I-20 in Lugoff.

The county will have 310 days to complete due diligence, which will consist of an environmental study, weapons delineation, endangered species studies, and surveying.

“We’re not paying for the property, we’re paying for the due diligence,” Lindsay said.

But, he continued, funding sources have already been established through Progress Energy, a regional economic development alliance and potentially the state Department of Commerce (DOC).

Councilman Stephen Smoak said this was a “unique opportunity” for the county. He referenced the Boeing Corporation and BMW, two of the state’s largest employers, to put the size of a prospective industry in perspective.

Councilman Jimmy Jones, who said he’s often had different opinions from Lindsay, praised the economic development director’s work.

“This is thinking outside the box,” said Jones.

Lindsay said the site “has a lot going for it. It’s by no means the perfect site, but the perfect site is not out there,” he said. “We do think this is an extremely attractive site for companies looking to South Carolina to build their facility.”

The price tag for the land would come in at approximately $20 million, but Lindsay made a point to say the county wouldn’t purchase the land if there wasn’t a company agreeing to locate here.

“This is getting scary; you and I are getting along too well tonight,” Jones joked to Lindsay.

A DOC consultant is currently assessing the land and will ultimately give the go-ahead for the county to have the due diligence completed.

Lindsay also announced Tuesday a $5 to $10 million expansion at the Hengst plant, which could potentially bring more than 100 new jobs to the county over a 10-year period.

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