Sources: York County pursuing projects that could bring 5,000 jobs

dworthington@heraldonline.comMay 30, 2014 

York County is pursuing two economic development projects that could bring more than 5,000 jobs and an investment of more than $200 million to the county, sources say.

“We don’t have them yet, but they should open eyes,” County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell said Friday.

Blackwell hopes an announcement could be made in four to six weeks.

The County Council is scheduled Monday to take one of the first official steps to secure the two office projects. It will vote on whether to apply for $4 million in grants from the S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development. The two $2 million grants would be used to build roads and install utilities for the projects.

The grants would be almost four times larger than what the county receives on average from the coordinating council each year. Mark Farris, York County’s economic development director, said during the past 20 years, the county has received an average of about $1.2 million in grants per year.

The county has been pursuing the two “large-scale, Class A office projects” for more than a year, Farris said. The Class A industry standard denotes offices that have high-quality finishes, state-of-the-art systems, and a “definite market presence,” according to the Building Owners and Managers Association.

The projects represent a “major investment in new construction and job creation,” Farris said. He stressed the projects are competitive, and York County has not finalized a deal.

Sources say the office projects would involve construction of new facilities. Names of the prospects and the construction sites have not been released.

In addition to applying for the grants, the County Council typically also will approve an inducement resolution that gives preliminary information about the project and whether the county intends to offer tax breaks. No inducement resolutions are on Monday’s agenda.

If the county proceeds with a project, the County Council must approve any tax breaks by enacting an ordinance that would require three votes and a public hearing.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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