Saturday, December 12, 2009

House adds $1.7 million more to 95/301 project

By T&D Staff Saturday, December 12, 2009

The budget bill passed by the U.S. House Thursday contains an additional $1.7 million to upgrade the Interstate 95 and U.S. 301 interchange near Santee, plus money for other local projects, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn said.

The Senate will take up the bill next week.

A total of $12 million has been identified for the U.S. 301/I-95 interchange project from federal, state and local sources, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation. The projected cost is between $30 million and $40 million.

If the project plans remain on schedule, construction could begin in 2012 and take up to 24 months to complete.

Other projects of local interest receiving federal funds as a part of the $11.3 million coming to the state include:

* Claflin University forensic laboratory — $1 million

* Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five alternative youth education program — $500,000

* Voorhees College domestic violence program — $250,000

Monday, November 30, 2009

Management change planned for Jafza project

By Dan McCue Monday, November 30, 2009

Amidst the turmoil of the Dubai World debt crisis, subtle changes are coming to the management of Dubai based Jafza’s development of a massive logistics park near Santee.

The moves are not directly related to the current crisis, but rather are an outgrowth the reported $450 million purchase of London-based Gazeley Ltd., by Jafza’s parent company, Economic Zones World last year.

EZW, a subsidiary of Dubai World, has yet to be caught in the undertow related of the ongoing financial crisis in the Emirate.

For the sake of clarity, Dubai World is the emirate’s investment vehicle. It owns DP World, one of the largest global port operators, and EZW, which develops and operates economic zones and industrial parks. Gazeley, with its track record in Europe as Wal-mart’s development arm there, will help Dubai World to build a global logistics development business.

Gazeley is also considered to be at the forefront of green industrial development.

In the reshuffling, Chuck Heath, Jafza’s longtime managing director, has been named senior vice president and, among other roles, will serve as an advisor to EZW CEO Salma Hareb, long considered one of the most powerful businesswomen in the Arab world.

“I remain president of Jafza-South Carolina, and will also handle government relations in the U.S.,” Heath said.

Of his new assignment, Heath said he’s been asked to create a new business unit within EZW called “Management and Advisory.”

Through that new unit, Heath will serve as manager for several of the company’s other development projects around the world, and will also “advise other zones on global best practices,” Heath said.

In light of Heath’s new duties, EZW has appointed Nick Greenwood, Gazeley’s longtime managing director, to the position of senior vice president and managing director for Europe and the U.S., putting him directly in charge of the Santee project.

Greenwood did not respond to requests for comment, but in a profile in Property Week magazine in September, he spoke at length about continuing the company’s core business of large-scale industrial and logistics development, while also becoming more involved in the investment side of the property industry.

But that wasn’t to suggest he expected lavish backing from Dubai. In fact, he told Property Week with unintended prescience, “We haven’t got bucketloads of cash to buy up the market.”

“But we are under no pressure to sell assets so, compared with some of our competitors, we are in a good position,” Greenwood said.

Heath said he and Greenwood plan to come to South Carolina in January to formally announce what he described as “the handover” and to introduce Greenwood to stakeholders in the Santee project.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SC DOT - Press Release

Public Information Meeting in Orangeburg County concerning proposed improvements to the I-95/US 301 Interchange and US 301 Connector.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has scheduled a public information meeting Thursday, December 3, concerning the I-95/US 301 Interchange Modification and US 301 Connector Project.
The meeting will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the Lake Marion High School Cafeteria, 3656Tee Vee Road, Santee, SC.
The information meeting is intended to provide an opportunity to review and discuss individually with representatives SCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) plans for the proposed project. The proposed improvements consist of a modifying the I-95/US 301 Interchange from partial access to a full access interchange.  The proposed improvements also include building a new location roadway to connect US 301 from I-95 to SC 6 near Naval Station Road. The US 301 connector is proposed to accommodate a five-lane section from I-95 tapering down to a three-lane section to SC 6. The connector road also includes a bridge over the CSX railroad approximately half way between I-95 and SC 6.
This project is partially funded by the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG), congressional earmarks and Orangeburg County.
From 5 p.m. until 7p.m., persons will be received in a drop-in style, informal format.  Displays will be set up in the cafeteria and project team members from the SCDOT and FHWA will be available to discuss the project with interested citizens on an individual basis. No formal presentation will be given at this meeting. At a later date, a formal public hearing will be held on the project.
For more information, the public may contact Randall Young, Midlands Regional Production Engineer, SCDOT, at (803) 737-4682.  Persons with disabilities who may require special accommodations to attend the hearing should contact Karen Davis at (803) 737-1549 for assistance and information.

Public meeting Dec. 3 on proposed I-95/U.S. 301 interchange project

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Thursday, November 19, 2009

A public information meeting is scheduled on Thursday, Dec. 3, related to the proposed improvements to the Interstate 95/U.S. 301 interchange and U.S. 301 Connector Project.

The S.C. Department of Transportation has scheduled the informal drop-in meeting from 5-7 p.m. in the Lake Marion High School cafeteria at 3656 Tee Vee Road in Santee.

The public will have an opportunity to review and discuss the project with SCDOT and Federal Highway Administration representatives.

“Right now we are developing our displays,” said Randall Young, SCDOT Midlands regional production engineer. He said the public will be able to see the plans for the project at the meeting.

The proposed improvements consist of modifying the I-95/US 301 interchange from a partial-access to a full-access interchange. Currently, there is a U.S. 301 northbound entrance onto I-95 and a southbound exit onto U.S. 301.

The project would involve construction of both a southbound and a northbound entrance and exit to both highways.

The proposed improvements also include building a new location roadway to connect U.S. 301 from I-95 to S.C. 6 near Naval Station Road.

The U.S. 301 connector would accommodate a five-lane section from I-95 tapering down to a three-lane section to S.C. 6. The connector road also includes a bridge over the CSX railroad approximately halfway between I-95 and S.C. 6.

The proposed project is partially funded by SCDOT through money allocated to the Lower Savannah Council of Governments region, Congressional earmarks and Orangeburg County.

A total of about $10 million has been allocated for the estimated $30 million to $35 million project.

Young said comments shared by the public during the Dec. 3 meeting will be gathered and reviewed, along with the various regulatory agency comments. The comments will be used in preparation of the final design plan (which will be used in the purchase of right-of-ways) and the environmental plan, he said.

A public hearing will be held in about a year to release the final plan, and the public will be able to express their opinions on the project, Young said.

After the public hearing and review of comments, rights-of-way will be purchased, construction documents will be finalized and the project will go to construction pending funding availability.

For more information, contact Young at 803-737-4682.

Persons with disabilities who may require special accommodations to attend the Dec. 3 hearing can contact Karen Davis at 803-737-1549 for assistance.

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5551. Discuss this and other stories online at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

S.C. lands Boeing


The landing was delayed, but Boeing has arrived in South Carolina and is bringing along 3,800 jobs to build its new, state-of-the-art jet.

Jilting its longtime Washington state manufacturing base, the Chicago-based airplane maker said Wednesday it will build its second 787 Dreamliner assembly line in North Charleston.

State and local officials, who unsuccessfully sought Boeing's first 787 assembly line in 2003, expect Boeing to break ground on the plant within a month, as the company moves to get the line up and running by 2011 to complete backordered planes.

Members of the South Carolina Senate applaud successfully passing legislation allowing incentives paving the way for the aircraft manufacturing plant to expand in the lowcountry. Members of the committee who worked to lure Boeing to the state include, from left, Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, and Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Berkeley,

- Tracy Glantz/
Tale of two cities

A tale in two cities. Click to enlarge.

* Story: Boeing: 'Hiring in the thousands'
* Story: Boeing's take: The jet maker's announcement
* Story: S.C. officials worked years to win the 787 plant prize
Boeing links from around the web

Editorials | A wake-up call
The Seattle Times | October 29, 2009
Quote: Boeing's decision to build a second 787 line in South Carolina is not an obituary. Bad news for Puget Sound, yes. A game-changer, yes. A wake-up call, we hope.

Machinists disappointed, call union "a handy scapegoat"
The Seattle Times | October 29, 2009
Quote: "The company used the negotiations to scare South Carolina into a sweeter offer. We make a handy scapegoat."

Boeing lands in North Charleston
The Charleston Post and Courier | October 29, 2009
Quote: North Charleston won the fiercely fought battle for a Boeing 787 aircraft assembly plant Wednesday, thrusting South Carolina onto the world stage of aircraft manufacturing.

S.C. lands Boeing
The State | October 29, 2009
Quote: The landing was delayed, but Boeing has arrived in South Carolina and is bringing along 3,800 jobs to build its new, state-of-the-art jet.

S.C. officials worked years to win the 787 plant prize
The Charleston Post and Courier | October 29, 2009
Quote: While Boeing Co. did not publicly disclose plans for a second 787 assembly line until this year, the effort to lure the investment and jobs to South Carolina can be traced back to June 2003.

Ripple effect to magnify benefits of Boeing's S.C. Deal
The State | October 29, 2009
Quote: Boeing's commitment to North Charleston could kickstart economic recovery in South Carolina, a leading economist said Wednesday.

Boeing: Lawmakers Create the Illusion of Economic Growth
SC Policy Council | October 28, 2009
Quote: "Boeing's decision to expand in South Carolina is good news. Unfortunately, South Carolina taxpayers will have to pay them to do it," said South Carolina Policy Council President Ashley Landess.

Jon Talton | Who's to blame for losing the second 787 line?
The Seattle Times
Quote: The crime has gone down. South Carolina, not Washington, will get the second 787 line and perhaps much more.

Gregoire: 'I'm angry'...Boeing 'made the wrong decision'
Seattle P-I | October 28, 2009
Quote: Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire: "I'm angry, I hurt for the workers, I think the company made the wrong decision."

2009-2010 Bill 313 | October 28, 2009
Quote: South Carolina General Assembly General Bill sponsored by Rep. Harvin

More links

Boeing Plant Comes to North Charleston
The (Charleston) Post and Courier | October 29, 2009
Quote: Boeing announcement that it has chosen its North Charleston facility as the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program.

Boeing: South Carolina reaction
The Seattle Times | October 29, 2009
Quote: South Carolina state senators react to Boeing's decision to build a 787 final assembly plant in Charleston.
Boeing Revolutionizes Flight: 787 Dreamliner - Episode 2

YouTube | October 12, 2007
Quote: Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner is the next step in commercial aviation. The plane is loaded with breakthrough technological and passenger-comfort features.
Northwest Airlines - Boeing 787 Dreamliner Introduction

YouTube | December 28, 2007
Quote: This is the introduction of the 787 Dreamliner at the 2007 Managers conference. Copyright NWA Inc. 2007

Boeing said it chose the North Charleston site because of its existing facilities at the site, some already working on 787 segments.

"Establishing a second 787 assembly line in Charleston will expand our production capability to meet the market demand for the airplane," Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a news release. "This decision allows us to continue building on the synergies we have established in South Carolina."

The General Assembly also approved a massive tax incentive package, part of a host of promises made to Boeing since the company first discussed the possibility of locating in South Carolina in August. The package would eliminate income and other taxes for the company for a decade and provide low-interest construction bonds.

Gov. Mark Sanford, who previously opposed similar packages, said Wednesday he would sign the incentives bill.

To qualify for the incentives, Boeing pledged to invest at least $750 million and create 3,800 jobs in the state within seven years. State officials expect those number to grow.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence and one of the chief negotiators, said Boeing's move could have an initial economic impact of up to $450 million a year, even after incentives are taken into account.

That does not include other economic pluses that will spring from the plant. "The effects on our economy will be mind-boggling," said Leatherman.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said the need for legislators to return in special session this week - to restore federal jobless benefits that unemployed South Carolinians lost because of an error not corrected earlier this year - gave lawmakers the chance to OK the incentives.

Harrell said he does not think the deal hinged on incentives, though leaders had planned to call lawmakers back into session, if needed, to approve them.

"The timing was incredible," Harrell said. "We were fortunate their board was meeting at the same week."

The Seattle Times reported the company could move facilities to South Carolina, but Boeing's Albaugh said his company remains committed to Washington.

"The Puget Sound region is the headquarters of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Everett will continue to design and produce airplanes, including the 787, and there is tremendous opportunity for our current and future products here," Albaugh said in his news release.

S.C. officials expect a network of companies will spring up across the state to support Boeing's operations, just as businesses sprang up around BMW's Upstate plant, opened in the 1990s. Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor said his agency already is courting some of those firms and will advise existing S.C. businesses on opportunities.

Most credited a team of lawmakers, led by Leatherman, and Taylor for sealing the deal.

But it did not come easily.

Lawmakers said Boeing needed assurances S.C. workers were up to the work, and the state could provide training.

Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, Harrell, Leatherman and aides were in and out of closed-door meetings Wednesday with staffers, attorneys and Boeing representatives. Outside, lawmakers and lobbyists milled about, likening it to waiting on the Vatican's cardinals to send up a puff of smoke to signal a decision on a pope.

Other lawmakers acknowledged concerns South Carolina could be a pawn in high-stakes negotiations between Boeing and Washington state, the other finalist for the new plant.

"Any two parties in a negotiation could play one party against another party that made an offer," state Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston said while waiting on the announcement. "It's always a risk you run. ... (But) I think they are legitimately interested in us."

Later, Campsen said the state's lower taxes and good quality of life were crucial factors in attracting Boeing.

When the Senate approved the incentives earlier Wednesday, "We had no idea Boeing was going to come here," Leatherman said. "As late as 4:30 (p.m. Wednesday), there was no decision."

A call from Boeing came about 5 p.m., unleashing cheers in the Senate while House lawmakers donned palmetto tree pins with wings. In the lobby, Sanford waited to personally thank Leatherman and McConnell - both of whom he frequently has criticized in the past.

"In terms of jobs, it's an incredible shot in the arm," Sanford said, in a nod to the state's 11.6 percent jobless rate. "Timing is of the essence."

Why S.C.?

Some of the reasons Boeing chose S.C. over Washington

Boeing's workers in North Charleston are nonunion and lower paid than their Washington state counterparts. In September, the Charleston workers voted to oust the Machinists union.

The S.C. General Assembly offered large financial incentives - including $170 million for infrastructure and other tax breaks - to lower Boeing's costs.

State-funded training at tech colleges diminishes the disadvantage of local workers' inexperience. Charleston's Trident Technical College has classes geared specifically to Boeing's needs.

Charleston has one of the deepest ports on the East Coast and an airport with runways long enough to handle the largest airplanes built.

Boeing also reportedly was unhappy with the business climate in Washington state - unionized workers there who went on costly strikes, and that state's shortage of college-educated engineers.

Boeing's big expansion could mean local jobs

By T&D Staff Thursday, October 29, 2009

Boeing’s announcement that it will open a second jetliner production line in North Charleston could mean more jobs for Orangeburg County workers, local officials say.

“This will give us a great opportunity with the Global Logistics Triangle,” Orangeburg County Development Commission Chairman Jeannine Kees said. “We will get more looks and a lot more attention.

“We will take the spin-offs and that is fine.”

The Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will put its second line for the 787 jetliner in North Charleston and not Everett, Wash. Officials say that in addition to the North Charleston jobs, there is also the possibility that Orangeburg County can land businesses that serve Boeing.

Kees said the project could bring attention to the Jafza Magna Park-Santee project, the John Matthews Industrial Park and the county’s speculative building at the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park.

“We will get more lookers,” she said.

State Rep. Gilda-Cobb Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said, “I think it will have a tremendous impact on Orangeburg County, particularly eastern Orangeburg County because of its proximity to North Charleston. That is not a bad commute.”

Also, “There is an excellent opportunity for spin-offs in Orangeburg County. I think it puts Orangeburg County in a good situation,” she said.

State Sen. John Matthews, D-Bowman, echoed the sentiment, saying the benefits of economic development are not confined to one county.

Anything that helps one county in the region can help them all, he said. “There will be a tremendous benefit for all of us.”

Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson noted the county already supplies the aviation sector. For instance, Zeus Industries produces advanced polymers for the aviation industry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good News!


Charleston Industrial Market Gets Boost with 1.1MSF BTS Deal
Oct 13, 2009
By: Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Given that the U.S. recession has left the retail market in shambles and the global financial meltdown has hindered trade activity, demand for distribution and warehouse facilities has taken a major hit, so the big news out of Charleston's industrial market is something that is heard of quite infrequently these days. Rockefeller Group Development Corp. and MeadWestvaco Corp., developers of the 400-acre Rockefeller Group Foreign Trade Zone/Charleston industrial park in Berkeley County, S.C., have just landed a 1.1 million square-foot build-to-suit deal with automotive replacement tires marketer TBC Corp.

Located at the I-26/Jedburg Road interchange near the Port of Charleston--one of the top 10 ports in the country--FTZ/Charleston will ultimately feature multiple buildings totaling 2.7 million square feet. TBC's commitment is the property's first, and the company will utilize the behemoth facility to bring part of its distribution network under one big state-of-the-art umbrella. Real estate services firm Colliers Keenan represented the Rockefeller/MWV development team in the build-to-suit agreement, while Jones Lang LaSalle stood in for TBC.

Local and state officials competed with other states to bring the Rockefeller/MWV project to the port area, where demand for space is expected to grow, partially due to the fact that plans have recently been put in place to increase the Port of Charleston's capacity by 50 percent. The hope is that the TBC facility and the port expansion will attract other businesses to this distribution cluster.

Charleston, however, does not have to wait for the late 2010 completion of the new TBC distribution center to spur recovery of the industrial market; recovery is actually already getting underway. The average vacancy rate in the Charleston area decreased 1.4 percent in the second quarter, while the average vacancy rate for the U.S. increased 1.2 percent," according to reports by real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis. The 120 basis points jump in the national industrial market marked the largest single-quarter increase in the 22-year history of the Grubb & Ellis report.

"Fundamentally, the Charleston market is not unhealthy," Peter Fennelly, vice president with Colliers Keenan, told CPE. "It's not large, roughly 30 million square feet. It has been affected by the changing economy over the last 24 months but we didn't overbuild so there isn't a lot of vacancy in the market; there are very few blocks of large space available." The recent hiring of a new CEO for the South Carolina Ports Authority, he added, is also providing confidence in the market. Other positive signs pointing to the commencement of a turnaround include increased absorption due to dropping lease rates, and the rebounding of the local housing market.

Construction of TBC's new distribution center is on track to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jafza reviews North American project

by Robeel Haq on Oct 7, 2009

Jafza International has announced a revised plan for its ambitious development in North America, with the groundbreaking of phase one being scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

During its initial stage, the project is expected to focus on warehousing and distribution, light manufacturing and office space, covering a reported 200 acres from the 1324 acres that Jafza International purchased in Orangeburg, South Carolina, two years ago.

“We’ve had a market-driven concept for this project, and of course, given the economic downturn we’ve all experienced, we thought it prudent to start small and grow as the economy strengthens,” explained Chuck Health, managing director of Jafza International.

A marketing campaign for the complex, which commenced at the recent Third Party Logistics Summit in Atlanta, will also extend to Dubai, with an initial focus on companies that operate in Jebel Ali Free Zone.

“We are actively soliciting clients and have seven or eight prospects in the Americas and Europe, so things are getting interesting,” said Heath. “We have also prepared for a new campaign in Dubai this month.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jafza International changes development plans

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Jafza International changes development plans

By Molly Parker
Published Sept. 21, 2009

Jafza International has retooled its Phase 1 development plan for the massive logistics and warehousing complex the company has proposed for rural Santee.

Project map Jafza is currently marketing four separate parcels of land on the outskirts of its 1,300-acre property. The plots highlighted in yellow on this map are available immediately for light manufacturing, warehousing and logistics space.

They are (from left to right):

· A 49.3-acre parcel near Santee’s Town Hall building.

· A 75.6-acre parcel located adjacent to the Santee Outlet Mall.

· A 90.6-acre parcel on Intracoastal Lane.

· A 55.9-acre parcel off Resort Street.

Originally, Jafza had planned to put a 135-acre parcel in the center of its land on the market first and secure an anchor tenant for the project. But those plans are on hold as government officials attempt to secure millions of dollars for necessary road improvements.

The original Phase 1 project requires the addition of an interchange on Interstate 95 so that U.S. Highway 301 can be accessed from the interstate’s northbound lane. It also requires the extension of U.S. Highway 301 east of I-95 to S.C. Highway 6. Combined, these projects are expected to cost up to $60 million.

Jafza and Orangeburg County officials are projecting that the road project will be completed by 2012.

Market materials outlining the revised development plans were sent out last week to 1,200 customers worldwide, a company spokeswoman said.

In total, Jafza International, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is planning 4 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space, to be a hub for storage, processing and then transportation of goods shipped through the Port of Charleston.

The company announced its aggressive development plans in November, but economic conditions have slowed projections. Jafza is not building on a speculative basis and only plans to erect buildings once a tenant is secured, company officials have said.

Reach Molly Parker at 843-849-3144.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Plan aims to foster logistics

By T&D Staff Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Columbia-based public/private economic development partnership launched a “strategic communications” plan to help bolster the state’s Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) Cluster.

The plan was unveiled at the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association’s recent fall membership meeting.

The cluster’s plan was presented to a crowd of 150 economic development leaders from across the state.

The TDL cluster consists of World Trade City Orangeburg and the Orangeburg County Development Commission. The cluster has about 40 participants.

“The purpose of the plan is to promote a greater understanding of the critical nature of the cluster and its impact on South Carolina’s overall economy,” Cluster Co-Chair Deepal Eliatamby, president of Alliance Consulting Engineers, said.

Over the next six months, the TDL Cluster plans to present the plan at events in Orangeburg.

The plan outlines five main goals and strategies to accomplish over the course of the next 18 months, including raising awareness and recruiting stakeholders; marketing the importance of the cluster; establishing a TDL council composed of industry and government members; and raising funds to support the cluster’s growth, development, and projects.

Launched in February 2008 under the guidance of New Carolina -- also known as the S.C. Council on Competitiveness -- TDL was formed to provide a formal structure for transportation, distribution, and logistics companies to collaborate and address issues impacting the state’s industry.

The TDL Cluster has been working over the past year to develop a strategic communications plan that industry leaders identified was needed at a statewide summit held in May 2008.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jafza Update August 25th 2009

Here are some of my observations and impressions of the Jafza Update on August 25th, 2009.

At the Orangeburg Lunch Rotary Club meeting last week, Tara Roberton form Jafza gave an update on their project in Santee. Tara is the spokeswomen for Jafza.

Important points:

1. New Name - Jafza Magna Park, Santee, SC
The new name suggests closer ties between Gazeley and the Jafza USA development team.

2. Change of development plan -
Jafza is going to focus on developing 4 tracts of land that comprise 200 acres. These parcels will require less infrastructure and can be developed almost immediately.

3. Marketing - Jafza is kicking off a new marketing campaign. They will be looking for both domestic and foreign clients for Santee.

4. Ground breaking 1st Quarter 2010.

I think that delays in funding for the I-95 exit 97 upgrade and the extension of US 301 have contributed to Jafza having to change it plans. Another contributing factor is the lack of demand for warehouse and logistic space. As the global economy grows and products begin to be traded again internationally, Jafza Magna Park will grow and become a reality.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jafza refocuses on debut of US project


Dan McCue on Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dubai-based Jafza International's American unit is refocusing its plans for the company's first-ever North American development.

The firm said it will initially build on just 200 acres of the 1,324 acres it bought in Orangeburg, South Carolina, two years ago.

Dubbed phase 1a, groundbreaking on this first stage of what is anticipated to be a 20-year build out is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2010.

Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) Managing Director Chuck Heath said the initial development will focus on light manufacturing, some distribution and warehousing, and office space.

"We've also had a market-driven concept for this project, and of course, given the economic downturn we've all experienced, we thought it prudent to start small and grow as the economy strengthens," he said.

Meanwhile, project managers have taken another look at the more aggressive build-out and development plan unveiled last autumn and decided to refine the firm's approach to the site.

"It's not so much a rethinking of our plans as getting down to a new level of detail in our planning," said the Jafza managing director.

Last autumn, hundreds crowded into a theatre in Orangeburg, a few miles from the Jafza site, heard a presentation in which the $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) project was envisioned as being rolled out in five phases, culminating with total build-out in 2032.

Phase one was always envisioned as a mixed use development, while phase two, initially expected to be completed by 2016, would have added more warehouse and distribution space as well as a 63-acre intermodal yard.

Successive phases were to continue to add warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing, as sales and interest dictated.

But the preliminary master plan also anticipated intense activity on the site – with as many as 660,000 cargo containers passing through the park on an annual basis, generating about 50,000 daily truck trips.

Instead of maxing out the intensity of land use, Heath said Jafza will bring the project back into line with the "campus/office park" concept he promoted immediately after the Dubai World purchased the land in September 2007.

"We always said we wanted this project to complement the surrounding environment, and to do that I think you really have to consider not going in and tearing down every tree," he said.

According to Heath, the return to a more park-like approach to the development was influenced at least in part by studies Jafza undertook to determine the intensity of wetlands on the site.

Of the entire 1,324 acres, only about three acres proved completely undevelopable due to onsite wetlands. While the company could have chosen to fill some of them by undertaking regulator-approved mitigation efforts, Heath decided to leave the existing wetlands just as they are.

"When you are up in the air and see an aerial view of the site, it instantly becomes clear which areas will benefit from and be most cost-effective for development, and it is also clear which areas will be more beneficial to the project if left in a natural or wild state," he said.

As for the remaining phases of development, Heath said those will be entirely dictated by the strength and timing of the economic rebound. "For instance, right now we're not as concerned about the intermodal aspect of the project," he said.

"We'll set aside land for it, of course, but currently there is just not enough cargo movement to warrant its development now."

Heath also revealed that Jafza kicked off its North American marketing effort on June 23 at the sixth annual Third Party Logistics Summit in Atlanta. "We're actively soliciting clients, and we're about to do our first mailing, sending our new brochure to about 1,900 prospects across North America," he said.

A similar mail effort targeting companies in Jafza's massive Jebel Ali facility in Dubai will be undertaken in late September, after the conclusion of Ramadan.

"In a sense, we'll obviously be treading water [during Ramadan], but it will also give us additional time to prepare for a very orderly marketing effort in Dubai," Heath said.

"In any event, we currently have seven or eight prospects we're pursuing in the Americas and Europe, so it's getting very interesting," he added.

The other thing on Jafza America's plate is drafting the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the six civil engineering firms selected to potentially work on the project through a requests for qualifications (RFQ) that concluded in June.

"This is where we get down to details and provide them with a detailed scope of work, looking at roads, utilities, where the initial building pads will be, all the things you need to know to actually develop the site."

Each of the firms will be expected to then supply Jafza with a financial and technical proposal, which will then be rated by a committee.

"We'll be looking for both expertise and competitive pricing – of course that won't be going for the lowest bidder. What you're looking for is a combination of attributes," said Heath.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jafza approach is good business in tough times

Friday, August 28, 2009

ISSUE: Jafza’s Santee plan

OUR VIEW: Developing accessible areas now means quicker return on investment

It wasn’t hard to tell that a lot of people were interested in the latest message from Jafza Americas about its plans to build a global logistics park in Santee.

During summer vacation months, attendance at civic club meetings tends to be off. Whether its Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, a lot of people miss sessions or make up elsewhere because they are out of town or otherwise obligated. Not Tuesday. The dining hall at the Orangeburg Country Club was full as Rotarians from Orangeburg, Santee and Charleston were joined by government officials and others to hear from Tara Robertson, spokeswoman for Jafza.

The message she brought was as predictable as it was relieving.

Jafza had already decided that it would limit its U.S. focus during the recession to land it owns in Santee. In other words, instead of thinking further expansion, develop the land in which money already is invested.

Beyond that, Jafza says now the emphasis will be on developing 200 acres of its 1,322 in Santee. This will be acreage that is most accessible to existing roadways.

With the modifications to U.S. 301 still in the planning phase, waiting means delaying any movement on the project. And that means waiting for return on investment.

Robertonson put it this way: “We are in a recession, hence we are going to switch things up to adapt to that. This project we have always said is market driven, and as you know, the market has subsided somewhat, but there are some opportunities out there.”

“The first phase was contingent on U.S. 301 (modification) since that time line is still being tweaked and we can develop other areas now. Why not?” Robertson said. “Everyone wants to see some movement, and so we have adjusted our thinking process. We are focusing on areas available today.”

Indeed. Why not?

The prospects for Jafza and its ultimate plan for development in eastern Orangeburg County remain very exciting for Orangeburg County and the region. The recession will end. Progress will return, and having a player on the level of Jafza with a vested interest in growth here only puts us ahead of the curve in the recovery and beyond.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gazeley Chatterley Valley Video Added

I just added a Gazeley Chatterley Valley Video to the site. Chatterley Valley was mentioned at the Jafza update as a possible warehouse that could be built in Santee for a client if desired.

Jafza focuses on most accessible 200 acres

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Thursday, August 27, 2009

Because of global economic challenges, a Jafza Americas official says the company is refocusing its Santee global logistics park development plans to land plots readily accessible in the 1,322 acres of Jafza Magna Park-Santee

“We are in a recession, hence we are going to switch things up to adapt to that,” Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson told Orangeburg Rotarians during a Tuesday luncheon. “This project we have always said is market driven, and as you know, the market has subsided somewhat, but there are some opportunities out there.”

Robertson said the properties that will be developed immediately have ready road access.

“The first phase was contingent on U.S. 301 (modification) since that time line is still being tweaked and we can develop other areas now. Why not?” Robertson said. “Everyone wants to see some movement, and so we have adjusted our thinking process. We are focusing on areas available today.”

The first four plots, which total about 200 acres, will be developed primarily near Hannah Drive, Knowles Street, Intercoastal and LTD Road. These will all be temporary access points to the property.

Phase 1a, which should see groundbreaking around the first quarter of 2010, will focus on warehousing, distribution and office space.

About $15 million of federal, state and local monies have been allocated toward modification or upgrade of the U.S. 301 and Interstate 95 interchange. Currently, there is no southbound access to U.S. 301 from I-95.

The project is expected to be a minimum of about $25 million to upward of $60 million to upgrade.

“We have to develop the park,” Orangeburg County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said. “We have to address the issues related to connectivity with the modification of Exit 97 and we also have to look at improvements to the wastewater and water system in Santee.”

“But we can service the park right now,” Robinson said, noting that it has all the infrastructure a company would need.

Currently, Jafza continues to work on due diligence and property studies to lessen environmental impacts.

Jafza acquired the land in 2007.

“We have shown these sites to potential clients and have actually sent out proposals. We are waiting on hearing back from them,” Robertson said. “Companies are looking at areas in which they can expand their business and we need to market our project as “we are there, and we are ready for you now.’”

She declined comment on specific clients or discussions.

Robertson said that despite the economic challenges, Jafza remains committed to Santee and Orangeburg County.

“It has been a long time coming and we still have a long way to go,” she said. “But we are still here to stay. We are not going anywhere.”

Addressing concerns about truck flow, Robinson said the property has access to three interstate exits and enough area where traffic flow would be routed as much as possible away from the town of Santee.

The exits would be 93, 97 and 98.

He also added that property access would differ depending on client needs -- such as whether they prefer rail, a remote location or interstate frontage.

“We can build a new road in any portion of the county,” Robinson said. “If a company needs a road, I can build them a road. We have correct county roads that lead to their site that we can easily develop.”

Addressing concerns about traffic flow, Robinson said that with Food Lion located about 6 miles from Santee, truck traffic is already present in the area.

“You are not going to have a massive amount of truck traffic increase. It is in a phased approach. Will we see some, yes. Will we see an overburden of trucks, no,” he said.

Robertson said the park will not occupy companies bringing in 1,000 jobs.

“We are talking about 100 to 200 maybe 500 jobs that would be a max on the plot,” she said, adding that the acreage will help spread out traffic flow.

In the meantime, Robertson said the company is ramping up its marketing efforts, noting that it has a database of about 1,200 target customers and will “build to suit,” meaning that if a company requests a certain building, it will be done.

“We will build it for you,” Robertson said. “When you see a building going up, you know a client is coming in.”

Robertson said with Jafza’s acquisition of Gazeley, a global logistics park developer, in July 2008, the company has brought with it environmentally conscious expertise. She said Gazeley has created what is believed to be the world’s only carbon-negative logistics park in England and could do the same in Orangeburg if client-driven.

“We will have a sustainable approach to help the business bottom line,” she said. “Cap and trade ... that could really hurt a businesses bottom line. We can build in those things to help reduce your energy.”

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5551.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Jafza Video Added to Site

I just added a new video about Jafza to the video section of the website. I hope that you find this website informative and helpful.


Update on I95 exit 97 and 301 Extension

On Thursday, September 3rd, the South Carolina department of transportation will have a representative come to speak to the Lake Marion Rotary Club. SC DOT will be updating us on the upgrading of I95's exit 97 and the extension of 301 to Hwy 6.

Space will be very limit. If you would like to be my guest to the meeting, please contact me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

LMRWA eyes construction of Holly Hill, Calhoun Phase II reaches

By Martha Rose Brown, T&D Correspondent Saturday, August 15, 2009

With the Santee waterline reaches up and running, the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency is proceeding with plans to start construction within the next few months of the Holly Hill and Calhoun County Phase II waterlines.

During this month’s meeting of the LMRWA, held at the water treatment facility in Santee, plant operations official Darla Barnette and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative Patrick O’Donnell announced that the process for securing construction bids and permits is under way for the initial phase of the Holly Hill reach, which will ultimately supply water from Lake Marion to the Holly Hill area.

Currently, the Town of Santee is the only customer that is completely tapped into and using the LMRWA to supply its water – other towns and areas also plan to tie into the regional water system.

LMRWA and Army Corps of Engineers officials are working together to hold a “media event” when construction begins for the Holly Hill reach, which will initially connect Wells Crossroad to the LMRWA water treatment facility in Santee.

O’Donnell tentatively set a date in late October for the ceremony in Holly Hill.

Barnette said the Holly Hill reach will “leave from the Santee reach and come down through, parallel to Interstate 95 and cut over to Highway 15 down to Wells Crossroad.”

The waterline will measure approximately 36,600 linear feet – a total of six miles.

Also during the meeting, auditor James “Jamie” Michaelson of the firm Robert E. Milhouse CPA, whose main office is in Columbia, issued a “clean opinion” of LMRWA’s financial statements for FY 2008, which ended Dec. 31.

According to the balance sheet, LMRWA has $56,238,018 in total assets combined with total liabilities and net assets. With the water system serving its first customers beginning last year, LMRWA gained $112,396 in total operating revenue (which includes membership fees and volumetric revenue).

The LMRWA has been the recipient of approximately $51.9 million in federal, state and local contributions to aid in the construction of the water treatment plant and distribution systems, according to the audit.

The water treatment plant’s capacity is eight million gallons per day.

The next regular meeting of the LMRWA will be at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Lake Marion Regional Water Treatment Plant in Santee.

T&D Correspondent Martha Rose Brown can be reached by e-mail at Discuss this and other stories online at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Condos in Santee

Now is the time to buy a waterfront condo in Santee, if you are in the market for one.

In Ballard's Point III, there is a 3Br 3Ba third floor condo for sale @ $149,900. 3Br units in phase III sold for around $250,000 in 2007.

In Ballard's Point II, four units are being auctioned off later this month. This auction company mostly auctions properties that are foreclosures or in loss mitigation.

If you have any interest in buying a waterfront condo in Santee please call me.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Jafza Update

Orangeburg County Development Commission will be giving an update on the Jafza project to the Orangeburg Rotary Club in August. If you wish to attend please call me for the details.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CCU Economic Summit to focus on ports

Published: July 28, 2009

CONWAY - John F. Hassell III, interim president and CEO of SC State Ports Authority, and Thomas J. Eagar, CEO of NC State Ports Authority, will be the keynote speakers at the 12th annual Economic Growth Summit on Friday, Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon in Wheelwright Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m.

According to a news release, the annual economic conference, sponsored by the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration at Coastal Carolina University and the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and supported by The Sun News, is free and open to the public.

“The ImPORTance of the Ports to NC and SC” and “The Significance of I-73 and I-74 to the Success of the Ports” are topics to be discussed at the summit, the release said.

Hassell, a native of Charleston, has served for 15 years as president of the Maritime Association of South Carolina, a chamber of commerce for port-related businesses, organizations and agencies. Prior to that, he worked for Santee Cooper, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the SC State Ports Authority. He was founding president of the Charleston Port & Seafarers Society and founding chairman of the S.C. World Trade Center.

Eagar, who was appointed chief executive officer in August 2004 by the NC State Ports Authority Board of Directors, has a 30-year career in maritime transportation including senior management positions with Florida-based Crowley American Transport Inc., Sea-Land Service Inc. and Chiquita Brands North America in Cincinnati, as well as five years of international experience, the release said.

Addressing economic outlook issues will be William W. (Woody) Hall and Donald L. Schunk, research economists.

Hall, a senior economist with the Center for Business and Economic Services in the Cameron School of Business at UNCW, will address the regional North Carolina economic forecast.

Donald Schunk, research economist for the BB&T Center for Economics and Community Development in the Wall College of Business at Coastal Carolina University, will address the national outlook and forecast the regional outlook for South Carolina.

There will also be a panel to discuss I-73 and I-74 and their significance to the North Carolina and South Carolina ports, as well as the economic future of the region.

The panel will consist of Hassell; Eagar; Rep. Alan D. Clemmons, District 107, S.C. General Assembly; and Rep. Daniel F. McComas, District 19, N.C. General Assembly.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jafza minimizing wetlands impact, fed. officials say

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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With Jafza South Carolina LLC still bullish on its plans to build a logistics, manufacturing and distribution park near Santee, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say the company has done a good job minimizing the project’s environmental impact.

“They have been pretty aggressive in gathering the information they have needed to move forward,” said Nathaniel Ball, project manager in the Corps’ regulatory division. “They have done a great job in terms of looking at the wetlands.”

Jafza, a subsidiary of Jafza Americas, first came to the Corps in February with its proposed development plans for the entire site, Ball said. The Corps reviewed those plans and the project’s impact on the wetlands on the site.

Jafza would need a permit from the Corps if it were to fill in wetlands, Ball said.

“The original layout impacted about three acres of wetlands,” with a rail yard running parallel to the CSX line, he said. “That would have caused more impact to the wetlands.”

But Ball said Jafza has since designed other alternatives to reduce the potential wetland impact to half an acre.

“They have two parcels that don’t have any wetland impact,” he said.

Ball said Jafza also has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Society to ensure preservation.

“Jafza conducted an endangered species survey and identified several wetlands on the project site that may be considered habitat for Canby’s dropwort (Oxypolis canbyii), a federally listed endangered species,” Ball said. “Based on a site inspection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, no individual plants were found on the project site and only one wetland was determined to be suitable habitat for this species.”

Ball while there is little likelihood of the site supporting dropwort, Jafza has agreed to preserve this wetland system as greenspace.

“Therefore, the proposed project is not expected to have an adverse impact on Canby’s dropwort,” Ball said. “Jafza has done a good job working with the USFWS to avoid and minimize potential adverse impacts to Canby’s dropwort.”

Ball said it was too early to tell what, if any, permits will be needed. Much will depend on the final development plans.

Company officials are still shooting for an early 2010 groundbreaking. Jafza plans to have the first tenants in the park by early 2011.

“Our company’s vision is to be the leading global provider of sustainable industrial and logistics infrastructure solutions,” Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson said.

Jafza first announced in September 2007 it intended to make a $600 million to $700 million investment near Santee.

Plans call for a 1,322-acre logistics, manufacturing and distribution park that will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5551.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interview: Ibrahim Al Janahi, Jafza

This was taken from an interview with Ibrahim Al Janahi the Chief Commercial Officer for Jafza.

July 15, 2009

Looking at the broader picture, how does Jafza plan to expand its presence to other parts of the world?

The Jafza model has been very successful and we want to take it across the globe. This is being done by our holding company, Economic Zones World, which currently operates a free zone in Djibouti. In addition, we have penetrated the US market for the first time with a special zone that is being established in South Carolina.

Shortlist of firms for Jafza project ready

26 July 2009
Jafza South Carolina yesterday finalised its shortlist of engineering firms that will receive a request for proposal to construct the infrastructure for the first phase of the company's debut US project - its logistics and multi-use commercial park in Santee, South Carolina.

The announcement comes on the heels of Jafza Managing Director Chuck Heath's mandate that South Carolina team press ahead with the company's cornerstone US project despite global economic challenges.

The firms selected are Aecom; Alliance Consulting Engineers; Arcadis; BP Barber and Seamon, Whiteside and Associates.

The finalists include three South Carolina-based companies, Alliance, BP Barber and Seamon, Whiteside and Associates. Arcadis is based in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, while Aecom's headquarters is in Los Angeles, California.

Last week, Aecom announced that it had won two contracts totalling $60 million (Dh220m) to work on multi-use real estate development projects in the Middle East.

The bigger contract is for $45m, and it is to design and manage construction of the Al Raha Beach Development project in Abu Dhabi.

The other contract is for $15m to provide programme-management services for Knowledge Economic City in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

by Dan McCue

© Emirates Business 24/7 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jafza considering 5 engineering firms

By T&D Staff Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jafza South Carolina LLC announced Wednesday it is considering five civil engineering firms for the construction of the first phase of its planned logistics and multi-use commercial industrial park.

Five civil engineering firms will receive a request for proposal to construct the infrastructure of project’s first phase.

“All of the civil engineering firms that submitted a qualifications packet had excellent credentials,” said Clint Murphy, Jafza’s vice president of engineering and operations.

“The competition was tough and we feel confident in the firms chosen to potentially develop the first phase of our project,” he said.

The firms selected are:


* Alliance Consulting Engineers

* Arcadis

* BP Barber and Associates

* Seamon, Whiteside and Associates

All the firms have South Carolina offices.

Details on phase one are being revised and are expected to be released next month.

“Until we get a better understanding of the timeline on the U.S. 301 modification, we are focusing our efforts on plots of land that have existing access and are ready for business today,” Jafza spokesperson Tara Robertson said.

The Request For Proposals will be issued to the firms once the plans are finalized, Jafza officials say. The RFP will request more specific information, as well as a firm lump-sum price and schedule for providing the work.

In 2007, Jafza acquired more than 1,300 acres in Orangeburg County for a logistics, warehouse, light manufacturing and multi-use commercial complex.

The park will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

Company officials are still shooting for an early 2010 ground breaking, with the first tenants expected by early 2011.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jafza, industrial parks' potential have county optimistic

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Sunday, July 12, 2009

With fewer industries to woo in the midst of a recession, Orangeburg County officials are focusing on the strongest sectors and getting industrial parks ready for the moment when things start moving again.

“Automotive is not moving right now,” Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said. “So what we are targeting now (are) distribution, advanced metals, plastics, construction materials. We are targeting sectors of the economy that are doing well.

“I feel like we have hit bottom.”

Robinson said the county is continuing to prepare property for industries in anticipation of an economic uptick, although the down economy has made obtaining funding for industrial parks more challenging.

“Resources are strapped,” he said. “Everybody is doing everything they can to cut costs. We have to be realistic because there are needed services that are going unfunded. We are being very cost-conscious.”

n Jafza

Officials with Jafza Americas say the global economic downturn has brought unforeseen but not insurmountable challenges.

“Many of our existing clients are re- assessing their expansion plans,” Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson said. “This also affects U.S. companies that want to explore globally. Our project is market-driven, therefore, things may appear slow now, but we hope to be ready for the upturn.”

Robertson said an early 2010 groundbreaking — initially set for October 2009 — is still targeted with the eventual build-up based on market forces. The first tenants in the park are expected by early 2011.

“We have maintained good relationships with many reputable financial institutions that are ready to help us on a project-specific basis,” Robertson said.

Jafza first announced in September 2007 it intended to make a $600 million to $700 million investment near Santee. Plans call for a 1,322-acre logistics, manufacturing and distribution park that will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

In light of the economic downturn, Jafza officials have publicly said they will focus on the development of the Santee site, and put on hold potential projects in Virginia, Ohio and Texas.

In the meantime, Robertson says the company is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its environmental permitting process.

“This is a very detailed and tedious process,” Robertson said. “We feel confident we will have the permit this fall.”

Robertson says Jafza is also in the process of looking at engineering firms to help with the project design. The company expects a short list of firms to be announced in the near future.

Robertson said Jafza is also actively working with its sister company, Gazeley UK Limited, to market the site.

“We are soft-launching our marketing efforts until we get a permit in hand and learn more about the timeline of when U.S. 301 will be on line,” Robertson said. “We do have plots that are ready for build today and we are focusing our efforts on those plots.”

Robertson said the company is talking to several national and international companies, though she said it would be premature to release the names of the companies.

Another issue related to the project is the proposed upgrade of the U.S. 301/Interstate 95 interchange.

Robinson said a meeting was held recently with the S.C. Department of Transportation Highway Commission as well as the local legislative delegation to discuss funding opportunities, design plans, possible modifications and future public hearings.

“We are also working on the access roads with the county and with Jafza,” Robinson said. “I am not going to speculate on the design of the roads. We have a lot of work ahead of us as far as the best route and the best design.”

The total cost of the interchange project is estimated at $25 million. The county is also working to secure funds to extend U.S. Highway 301 to S.C. Highway 6, a project that could cost upward of $35 million.

About $15 million has been secured for the road improvements from a variety of federal, state and local sources, Robinson said.

n Orangeburg County

Industrial Park

Robinson said the county is currently in the process of selling about 5 acres in the Orangeburg County Industrial Park on Rowesville Road. The 5 acres are adjacent to Mars Pet Care.

There are currently talks with a Charleston developer to build a 50,000-square-foot speculative building on the site.

“It is a solid sign for the economy and for us that someone is willing to come in and build a speculative building,” he said. Specifics on the talks were not disclosed.

Robinson said the property has access to rail and interstate within 6 miles.

Also, the county is working with the city to develop about 80 acres adjacent to the Orangeburg Municipal Airport runway, Robinson said.

The development would require the creation of another road to connect current roads to the property. The site would be rail-accessible since the county has brought in rail spurs to Ecka Granules and ACO Distribution. The rail spurs were funded through grants and the private sector.

“We would like to target aviation-related projects,” Robinson said.

n County/City

Industrial Park Phase II/

speculative building

The second, 220-acre phase of the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park is complete and ready for tenants, Robinson said. The road work, infrastructure and lighting is complete.

“We have created a campus format,” Robinson said. “The idea is to really clean it up and make it nice.”

Columbia-based development company The Miller-Valentine Group broke ground in January 2008 on a $5 million, 150,000-square-foot speculative building at the park.

Robinson says the building has been shown both nationally and internationally over the past year.

The building, which is expandable to 300,000 square feet, is situated on about 21 acres across the street from Allied Air and next door to H.T. Hackney.

“This is a drawing card for Orangeburg,” Robinson said, noting it has curb appeal as well as being adaptable to office and other possibilities. The building can also be divided for several tenants.

Robinson said he also expects a new tenant to move into the park adjacent to elevator guide rail manufacturer Monteferro.

He declined comment on project specifics.

n ‘A difficult year’

World Trade City Orangeburg LLC announced in February 2008 its plans to develop land near Bowman and Interstate 26, at Exit 159, into a four-phase business center that eventually could draw $1 billion in investment and bring 1,000 jobs over a 10- to 15-year period.

A mixed-use logistics center, which will combine office and exhibition space with warehousing and distribution facilities, is planned.

The first phase of the four-phase project is projected to cover 1,200 acres.

The company’s chief executive officer, Jimmie Gianoukos, said discussions have been held with prospective investors interested in the project though a large-scale commitment has been put on hold.

“The good thing about it I think is that it will definitely come to fruition when our time comes,” Gianoukos said. “It is not our time nor too many other people’s time. I would say we are still alive and well. I spend time with it every week. We are on everyone’s radar in the state.

“It is the matter of timing now with the economy.”

Gianoukos said the property has been shown to potential investors within the past few weeks.

“We are not dead and gone,” he said. “We are far from that right now.”

Gianoukos said hopes are the project will come out of the ground by the end of 2010 or early 2011.

n John W. Matthews Jr.

Industrial Park

This park, named after Bowman Sen. John Matthews, is situated on about 542 acres at the intersection of U.S. Highways 301 and 176.

The land is currently being cleared with a $500,000 road already paved through the property.

Robinson said the park has everything except a wastewater system — at this time — and will have water tied in through the fall through the Lake Marion Regional Water Authority project.

The permitting is in place to construct a gravity-fed wastewater system and a million-gallon water facility. The projects could begin in the near future. The first phase of the water project will cost between $3 million and $7 million.

Designing and landscaping plans are under way at the park.

“We cannot go to construction without adequate water and sewer,” Robinson said.

About $1 million from capital project sales tax money will be spent on water and wastewater lines from the town of Bowman along S.C. Highway 210 to Interstate 95, Exit 165.

Additional money from the penny tax also will go toward tying in water lines to the industrial park.

n Western Orangeburg

County Industrial Park

Additional due diligence is ongoing, including surveys and environmental studies.

When asked about a construction timeline, Robinson replied, “I don’t want to speculate. It is in the very preliminary stages. We will need additional funding to create the needed improvements.”

Robinson said it may be 2012 before there is any significant activity.

In August 2008, county economic development officials purchased about 230 acres of property on S.C. Highway 389 and U.S. 321 and near S.C. Highway 4 that will be developed into a logistics and manufacturing park. The cost was about $2,500 to $3,500 per acre.

The county has about 100 acres under option.

Robinson said county officials are still working with about 24 landowners to purchase land for the industrial park.

The remaining owners hold parcels ranging in size from 1 acre to 70 acres.

“We have to design the park based on what we can obtain,” Robinson said. “We are not going to condemn property. If we cannot secure the needed property, all that does is make that park less likely to succeed.”

n County prepares new

park to lure industry

The county has started clearing land for a new industrial park near the intersection of U.S. 601 and Interstate 26.

The 95-acre Carolina International Park, situated on Industrial Boulevard, will have about a quarter of a mile of interstate frontage, as well as Norfolk Southern rail, water, sewer, gas and electricity.

“It is ready for somebody to come in,” Robinson said. “We have shown it a bunch.”

“We could literally deliver rail off the main spur,” Robinson said. “It is turnkey.”

The property is situated behind Mayer Industries and Zeus Industrial Products.

A road has been cut into the property so it can be shown to prospective buyers.

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5551. Discuss this and other stories online at

Unblocking Panama canal's bottleneck

Spanish-Italian consortium set to scoop biggest slice of $5.25bn expansion project

Panama has steamed ahead with a massive expansion of its canal to keep trade between Asia and North America flowing through the waterway.

It has revealed bids for the main contract in a $5.25bn plan to widen the canal, clearing the way for one of the world's largest and most lucrative infrastructure projects.

The Panama Canal Authority, an autonomous government agency, ended months of speculation last week by determining the "best-value" bid from three rival consortiums, signalling the almost certain winner.

The consortium, led by Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso and Italy's Impregilo, significantly undercut its rivals with a $3.12bn bid to build new locks that will double the canal's capacity and accommodate a new generation of super-size container ships.

The bid was well under the canal authority's target price of $3.48bn and appeared to meet technical requirements. A technical board will verify the canal authority's assessment before the deal is confirmed.

"This event marks a critical milestone for the Panama Canal Authority and Panama," said Alberto Aleman Zubieta, the authority's chief executive. "We look forward to awarding the contract in the coming days."

The new locks, one on the Atlantic entrance, the other on the Pacific Ocean, will consolidate central America's isthmus as a gateway for global trade.

"As far as shipping is concerned this is massively important," said Mark Page of Drewry Shipping Consultants in London. "It is the single biggest shipping infrastructure project since they built the original canal."

The project, which needs 5,000 workers, is due for completion in 2014 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the original inauguration of the canal, an engineering feat considered one of the modern wonders of the world that cost more than £600m to build. More than 25,000 workers died in its construction over 10 years.

A $50m bonus will be paid for meeting the deadline. Despite the global economic slowdown, the 50-mile waterway needs widening. Burgeoning traffic levels have left long lines of vessels queuing to cross from either side in recent years. Some ship-owners pay huge sums to jump the queue. A US cruise ship, Disney Magic, last year paid a record $331,200 for the privilege.

The canal, which moves about 5% of the world's cargo, relies mainly on container traffic between Asia and the US eastern seaboard. But the new generation of so-called post-Panamax vessels, which are 1,400ft long, cannot fit and Panama risked losing them to the Suez canal and US railways which transport containers coast to coast.

Panamanian voters overwhelmingly backed the expansion in a 2006 referendum. The canal authority is borrowing $2.3bn, including $400m from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Work is well under way. Hillsides have been blown up and a four-mile access channel on the Pacific side, which will permit passage of vessels three times heavier than the current limit, is nearly completed.

The biggest logistical challenge is building a third set of locks. They will measure 1,400ft long, 180ft wide and have a 50ft draft, all significantly bigger dimensions than currently. Catch basins will recycle 60% of the water used to fill the locks, in contrast with the present system which flushes it all out to sea.

The three consortiums submitted proposals, costings and technical designs in March. To allay concerns over corruption the cost estimates were kept in sealed envelopes in a vault at the government-owned Panama national bank along with the project's target price. Deloitte was hired as a contracting auditor to monitor technical evaluation.

The envelopes were opened in a ceremony in Panama City broadcast live. A computer and projector were used to tally points for each bid based on cost and technical specifications.

The front-runner scored marginally better than its rivals on technical issues and, with a bid of $3.12bn, emphatically better on cost.

A group led by Bechtel, the San Francisco-based construction giant, which included Japan's Taisei and Mitsubishi corporations and China's Wuchang shipyard, bid for $4.18bn.

A consortium led by Spain's Grupo ACS bid for $5.98bn. It was the only group to include a UK sub-contractor, Mott MacDonald, a London-registered engineering consultancy.

Panama's president, Ricardo Martinelli, said he was "pleased" the lowest bid was below the canal authority's target price.

The biggest losers from the canal's expansion are expected to be US west-coast ports and railways. Another casualty will be Nicaragua's dream of building a rival canal, always a long shot for Central America's poorest country.

The strait story

Linking the Atlantic and Pacific was first mooted in the 16th century by the conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who reported to the Spanish king that if a natural strait was not found "it might not be impossible to make one".

Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French builder of the Suez Canal, tried in the 1880s but marshy terrain doomed his sea-level plans, and malaria and yellow fever killed thousands of labourers.

The US, thanks to locks and drugs to combat disease, succeeded in 1914. Its military kept control of the canal zone, a sore point in Latin America, until President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty in 1977, ceding control to Panama in 2000.

Monday, June 22, 2009

MeadWestvaco, Rockefeller Group break ground on logistics park

By Molly Parker
Published June 19, 2009

Donning suits and hard hats, politicians joined officials from MeadWestvaco Crop. and Rockefeller Group on Thursday afternoon as the two companies broke ground on their joint-venture logistics park near Jedburg.

Initial work will begin on road improvements to a one-mile stretch of Drop Off Drive in an effort to make that frontage road ready to handle truck traffic. The groundbreaking also kicks off work on the site pad for the first of four planned buildings. The goal is to create a plot where a building could be erected in a matter of months if a tenant is secured.

MeadWestvaco has purchased all rights to this photograph. 6/18/2009 “It really — especially today, in today’s financial environment, it takes collaboration to pull off a project like this,” Ken Seeger, president of MeadWestvaco’s Community Development and Land Management Group, said after the groundbreaking during a ceremony at High Cotton in downtown Charleston.

MeadWestvaco originally planned to sell its land there to Rockefeller, but the two groups announced in May that they were partnering on the development. Through its land division, headquartered in Summerville, Virginia-based MeadWestvaco has shifted its real estate focus in recent years and has now entered the development business.

This deal marks the first of its development efforts to get under way.

Ed Guiltinan, vice president and regional director of Rockefeller Group, called the groundbreaking a “significant step” after three years of planning and negotiations with other area developers and Berkeley County officials.

The road work will be done by Banks Construction, the site work by Landmark Construction. Colliers Kennan is handling the leasing for the project.

MeadWestvaco and Rockefeller Group plan to eventually build 2.7 million square feet of warehousing and light industrial space on a 400-acre plot.

Dallas-based Hillwood Development Co. and Trammell Crow Co. also are planning commerce parks in Jedburg, in addition to the facilities already operating there that are owned or have been sold off by Spartanburg-based Johnson Development Associates. In total, the area — considered a prime location because of its proximity to the Port of Charleston and Interstates 26 and 95 — is expected to eventually house a combined 17 million square feet of industrial space.

Hillwood, Trammell Crow and Rockefeller had planned to have speculative buildings out of the ground by now, but the economy has slowed those plans. Guiltinan said that several companies are eyeing the property, though competition for new business is stiff.

Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis called the deal “very exciting,” especially considering the amount of work it took to iron out the details. Those details include a deal in which the four developers, in conjunction with the county and state, agreed to help pay for road improvements.

“This is going to help us out of the doldrums,” Davis said.

In the short term, the road project and site preparation work are expected to create about 45 jobs. But state and local leaders say the buildout of all four industrial parks could create thousands of jobs in the long run.

“We’re going to try to load up the port again,” said Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Goose Creek. “We’re going to try to grow business, and we’re going to try to grow employment.”

Reach Molly Parker at 843-849-3144.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beach Co. outlines plans

SUMMERTON — After waiting nearly five years since purchasing more than 3,880 acres outside downtown Summerton, the Beach Co. of Charleston believes it will finally begin to break ground on development projects in the area by next spring.

Kevin O'Neill, vice president of development for the company, spoke with Summerton Town Council on May 26 to give an update about the project.

"(Summerton Town Administrator) Bruce (Behrens) suggested it might be a good idea for me to come," O'Neill said. "As he may have told you, we're working diligently on producing the legal agreements necessary to guide the process."

O'Neill said the legal agreements were part of three separate sets of documents the company would rely on to guide the project, which will bring 7,000 new homes to the area during a 15-year period once construction begins.

"The second document that's equally important is the Planned-development District Plan," O'Neill said. "It's not a legal document, but it will likely be helpful to town council and everyone else because it will provide an executive summary of the project as well as pictures of what we're planning to do. This document will also tell the story and history of the land, talk about the concept of the development and the vision for site development."

The third document is an economic impact study. While O'Neill would not talk about specific numbers, he did say that the study showed favorable results for Summerton and Clarendon County at-large.

"We're probably to (within a week of being able to submit this document)," O'Neill said. "One of the things we're working on right now is how to translate it into benefits for the town. From what we've seen, the data indicates that of the benefit they see, 80 percent of the impact to the county is felt or is achieved by the closest and local municipality. Having said that, I really don't want to release (hard) numbers just yet, but I can tell you that the impact to the town, county and state are very significant and very positive."

Picture Robert Baker / LakeSide
Bonnie Agnew, store and boat landing manager for Jack's Creek Marina, works in the kitchen at the landing.

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The company purchased the land for $10.3 million in 2005. They named it Cantey Bay in 2007 after Teige Cantey, who immigrated from Barbados to Charleston in the 1600s. In September 2008, the company purchased Jack's Creek Marina, proposing to provide a new waterfront area with new docks, vacation cottages or "hospitality units," and a new restaurant.

Some of those projects are already under way.

"We have the kitchen up and running now," said Bonnie Agnew, store and boat landing manager for Jack's Creek Marina. "They haven't started any big construction yet, but they have repaired the docks and we have an electric license now."

Agnew said the company had also cleaned the marina.

"They came in and cleared up some of the abandoned boats and campers," she said. "I think people finally know that we want the community to come out here and have a nice time."

Agnew said that she believes residents were wary of the Beach Co. initially because they thought the business might make the landing at Jack's Creek private.

"I think people were scared of that," she said. "But now, I think they can see that hasn't happened and people have been coming out here. The restaurant's been steady, and they hope to have some of the (cottages) up by next spring. That's what they're telling me."

O'Neill told council that he would probably come back to speak to them in late August or early September.

Summerton resident Patty Stewart asked O'Neill about the probability of the new development taking away from downtown Summerton.

"I get asked all the time, 'Why do you want to annex into Summerton?'" O'Neill answered. "We like a lot of things we see happening in Summerton. You have great things going on on Main Street and this is a unique shopping area. Together, I think with us being a part of the town of Summerton, I think that we can encourage and promote (the) spending of money in downtown Summerton so that we can be a part of the greater community. I think we can achieve a lot more by annexing in. And I think we can help the town continue to thrive."

Picture Robert Baker / LakeSide

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When completed, the development will feature 5,300 single-family homes and 1,600 multi-family homes, according to company partner Scott Parker. Using Charleston as an example when he spoke to Summerton residents a year ago, Parker said houses would be built with their front yards rather than their back yards facing the lake. Streets will run along the lake's edge and parks will be along the shore.

"And, of course, throughout all of this, we are concerned with protecting and enhancing our natural resources," he said, adding that of the 3,880 acres, only about 48 percent of it will be developed space. "Fifty-two percent of that won't be touched by development with buildings, although it might be touched by enhancing it with a park.

"I've made it publicly known that regardless of where plantation is, this will always be Downtown Summerton. We may be talking 10 years out. In the immediate future, I think we have the consensus that government center stays where it is. Whether this particular lot or across the street. We don't have any plans to move town hall to Cantey Bay."

Contact Staff Writer Robert Baker at or (803) 435-8511.