Fort Mill officials applaud non-residential growth

mharrison@fortmilltimes.com, jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJune 22, 2014 

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley visited The Dairy Barn in Fo

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley visited The Dairy Barn in Fort Mill June 16 for the announcement of LPL Financial’s plans for a new regional headquarters in Fort Mill. Earlier in afternoon, Haley attended the announcement of The Lash Group’s plans to develop a new national headquarters in Fort Mill.

STEPHANIE MARKS MARTELL — STEPHANIE MARKS MARTELL

— After years of steady residential growth, local officials welcome with open arms the recent announcement that two Charlotte-based firms are building new offices in town for up to 5,000 employees.

Two ceremonies were held June 16 to announce the moves by LPL Financial, an investments firm the Lash Group, a healthcare consultant and services firm.

More than 3,300 jobs will be new positions, company officials said. Gov. Nikki Haley attended both events to celebrate the developments at the intersection of Highway 160 West and I-77 in an office park that will be called Kingsley North. The property where both businesses will build came into Fort Mill as part of a 2008 annexation. The surrounding area is approved for up to 1.55 million square feet of commercial space and up more than 1,000 residential units.

“These are the first two projects,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.

Cronin expects the two new businesses to “jump start” further development, including uses like hotels, restaurants and shops.

“Five thousand people need places to eat,” he said. “They have people flying in from all over the country. They need hotels to stay at.”

Mayor Danny Funderburk credits the existing quality of life in Fort Mill with bringing in two large additions, who he hopes in turn will bring in more.

“It sets the bar extremely high,” Funderburk said. “It marks us as a location for this type of relocation. We certainly do hope that their peers will take note of the diligence they did.”

York County Council is expected to approve two fee-in-lieu of tax proposals to offer the companies a 43-percent reduction in their annual tax obligations for 30 years.

Many on hand for announcements last week – dignitaries represented every level of government up to and including federal – praised the new business for the tax base it creates when so much local growth is residential. Chuck Epps, superintendent of the Fort Mill school district, echoed the sentiment.

“Our challenge in Fort Mill is, we’re heavy on the residential side,” he said. “So we’re real excited about any commercial announcements.”

Epps didn’t know exactly what tax impact the projects would have for schools, as fee-in-lieu of tax agreements haven’t been finalized. But overall he was “extremely” pleased with the additions.

“The type A office building and the type of jobs that brings to the community, the spinoff industry, the restaurants – anything that’s not completely rooftop, because we have a good percentage of that,” Epps said. “This will help us.”

Michael Harrison •  803-547-2353 John Marks •  803-831-8166

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