Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fed budget plan includes money for local projects

By T&D Staff Thursday, February 26, 2009

South Carolina could receive more than $35 million for projects ranging from biomass research to a new interchange at Interstate 95 and U.S. 301 in the federal budget, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn announced Wednesday.

The House passed its version of the $410 billion budget, including $35 million for state projects, on Wednesday.

"I am pleased to direct federal investments to South Carolina that will enhance local communities, economic development, support higher education, improve the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and preserve some of our state's natural and historic treasurers," Clyburn said.

Congress and then-President George W. Bush were unable to agree to a budget bill last year, requiring passage of a continuing resolution to run government through March 6. Clyburn said the House bill will keep the government running for the remainder of 2009.

Local projects that will receive funding if the bill becomes law are:

* Claflin University will receive $469,000 for its cellulosic biomass program.

* Claflin will also receive $700,000 for its forensic DNA lab.

* The Lake Marion Regional Water Agency will receive $10 million for water lines.

* The Town of Ehrhardt will receive $500,000 for water infrastructure.

* The S.C. Department of Transportation will receive $4.6 million for interchange improvements at I-95 and U.S. 301.

* Calhoun County will receive $190,000 for the construction of a learning center.

In addition, Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state could receive almost $10 million for science enhancement programs.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jafza takes green path to US debut

Dan McCue on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

From: Emirates Business 24/7

The planning of Dubai-based Jafza International's first foray into the North American warehouse and logistics park market is beginning to take a decidedly green turn in the wake of its parent company's acquisition of Gazeley UK Limited last year.

The $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) project is to be located on 1,324 acres in Orangeburg, South Carolina, a site about midway between New York and Miami, Florida, and 112km inland from the port of Charleston.

It was initially hailed by local government officials as an unexpected windfall that could ultimately bring thousands of jobs to an economically depressed region in the Southeastern United States. But the purchase of Gazeley by Jafza's parent company, Economic Zones World, from Asda Wal-Mart last June for a reported $450m has brought a decidedly new wrinkle to the current project and others being considered throughout the US.

Gazeley, which bills itself as a provider of "sustainable logistics space", is one of the biggest industrial developers in the United Kingdom. The company also has operations throughout Europe as well as in India, Mexico and China.

During his unveiling of Jafza's master plan for the project last autumn, Steven Eames, Vice-President of Operations for Jafza Americas, described Gazeley as a "leading developer of sustainable warehousing" that will bring "unmatched efficiencies" to the project. Among the green initiatives it has brought to other projects are the use of solar panels and wind turbines for energy production, and innovative approaches to stormwater collection.

"This project will be sustainable, in terms of its impact on the surrounding communities, it will be green, and it will be a model for us going forward," Eames said.

Rene Patey, Programme Manager at the Sustainability Institute, South Carolina, a non-profit organisation established in 1999 to promote green policies throughout the state, said there simply is not anything like what Gazeley can potentially bring to South Carolina over the two-decade build out of the Orangeburg site. "It is a spectacular innovation in terms of engaging the movement to going green," she said.

The lightest touch possible

During a trip to Gazeley's offices in London, Clint Murphy, engineering principal in charge of Jafza's US operation, met the company's consultants to discuss design specifications and sustainable development standards that can be brought to bear in South Carolina as well as future North American projects.

Murphy said Jafza is now actively engaged in developing "appropriate American standards to implement in our projects".

He said potential options culled from his visit to Gazeley's offices include employing solar panels for electrical generation, solar or thermal preheating for hot water systems, reliance use of external lighting to minimise use of electrical fixtures, use of high efficiency light fixtures, maximising the use of recycled material such as aggregate in concrete and the use of organic paint throughout the site's facilities, reliance on wind energy and bio-fuels were possible, and kinetic energy production in high traffic areas.

"The available sustainable options will vary significantly from site to site and will have to be determined on a project specific basis," Murphy said.

Speaking from London, Jonathan Fenton-Jones, global procurement and sustainability director of Gazeley, stressed integration of the firm into the Economic Zones World's family of companies is still ongoing.

"The role we play in the project will be in line with our longstanding philosophy: we approach all of our projects as if we own nothing, but are mere stewards for everything we do. In our view, wherever we work, the site was there a long time before we were, and it is going to be there a long time after we're gone. Out of respect for that belief, we want to do what we are doing with the lightest possible touch on the site," he said.

Matching the project to the client

Fenton-Jones said when it comes to employing green approaches, the real opportunities are in building to suit a particular client, rather than speculative buildings.

"With a spec building, you don't know who the client is, so you're concentrating on the foundation and the walls, and while there are opportunities there in terms of planning and materials, the real opportunities for green savings are the occupational phase, when you're talking about lighting, heating, air channelling, and taking advantage of the particulars of the climate and the like," he said. "You're talking to a client about a situation where they can amortise their capital expenses over the longer term, further increasing the appeal of going green."

Fenton-Jones said as a general rule, the company begins its design work on a site by making a full accounting of its attributes.

"The soil conditions, the drainage patters, the underground water, the rainfall patterns… all of those things matter and the way you master plan a site takes all of that into consideration," he said.

By way of example, Fenton-Jones pointed to the differences between Gazeley projects in Mexico and Northern Europe.

"They're very different, and the reason is the climates are completely different," he said. "In Mexico, you have very little rain and a lot of sunshine, you have to respond to the scarcity of rainfall and to the heat – so you see a lot of passive ventilation and geothermal technologies in those projects. In Northern Europe, you're building in a colder and wetter environment and so you're trying to capture as much ambient heat as you can"

Once in operation, Gazeley's efforts become a story about energy. On one recent project, the company installed kinetic plates at the gates facility that generate electricity whenever trucks drive over them as they move in and out. So much power is generated that the client is able to power a fleet of on-site electric vehicles. Another project includes a biomass plant operated by a third party that generates enough electricity to power not just the warehouse development, but also 31,000 adjacent dwellings.

"So we're fostering economic growth at the warehouse, while also achieving another end: providing green-generated power to a community at rates less than they would pay for off the grid," Fenton-Jones said.

Balancing growth with societal needs

Fenton-Jones said at their base all of these efforts are as much an expression of a particular philosophy of corporate responsibility as they are about sustainability.

"We're witnessing all around us what happens in the corporate sector when there is an endless drive for profits without a thought for responsibility to the larger society," he said. "What sustainability means is that society prospers over the long term, and the corporate realm grows and prospers in a complementary manner. What we've had up until now is a drive for infinite growth within finite systems. Systems that put business in conflict with society will inevitably decline."

Murphy said he came away from his meetings with Gazeley inspired by the company's passion for sustainable development.

"As we were touring their developments, including the Chatterley Valley facility, you could feel their pride and sense of accomplishment in the completed product," he said.

The £50 million (Dh266.83m) facility, located in North Staffordshire, is considered the company's flagship for sustainability, with 100 per cent of its energy supplied from renewable sources.

"My goal is to capture this same enthusiasm and sense of urgency for sustainable development and implement similar standards in our American project," Murphy said.

High hopes

Throughout South Carolina, proponents of sustainable construction are already excited about the green possibilities that the Jafza project will bring to the state.

Bin Wilcenski, Chief Operating Officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia and a member of the group's Green Building Council, said he as thrilled to hear of Gazeley's involvement in the project.

"Even as energy prices are levelling off, the environment is still an area of concern for many Americans," he said. " Individuals, families and corporations are all searching for better ways to live and work while causing little or no harm to the environment.

"The impact of green business and logistics parks in South Carolina is that environmentally conscious businesses will be able to consider moving to our state," Wilcenski. "If and when this happens, I would think that other developers and planners would also incorporate green into their projects, or potentially miss out on clients."

But Wilcenski hopes Gazeley's integration into the Economic Zones World family will have impact that extends beyond the logistics parks that are springing up around the state.

"We believe that what people learn at work, they tend to apply to their personal lives and vice versa," he said. "For example, if an employee sees his employer taking special measures to reduce their impact on the environment, it's very likely that the employee will take those values home with them."

For Patey, the fact that Eames has gone public with talk of bringing a green approach to the development of a logistics park is "particularly thrilling". "I have never heard of an industrial park being a development with a green spin to it, and it's particularly thrilling that it's so tied to logistics," she said.

That is because logistics companies were notably absent from a recent sustainability forum hosted by the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business. Those who did have a seat at the table included Michelin and Milliken, as well as representatives from Clemson University, the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

"A complete let down," Patey said, although she said she suspects that is because the logistics community has had little incentive to date to employ green techniques in their warehouses and operations.

"If I had to make a guess, I think Gazeley's approach to sustainable warehouse and logistic development will be widely successful and widely copied," she said. "That's because what they will be building isn't just a real estate project, they are creating an opportunity for those operating out of the park to offer green services to their customers."

Patey said by incorporating a sustainable philosophy in the creation of its Orangeburg facility and lessening its overall environmental impact, Jafza will effectively be greening the international supply chain, something that is sure to be an attractive lure for companies that want to align themselves with the green movement.

Patey also believes having an emphasis on sustainability be part of such a high profile project, not to mention one with such an international scope, will create pressure in the market for other distribution centre developers to follow suit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jafza releases a request for qualifications

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jafza South Carolina LLC has requested professional civil engineering firms to provide their qualifications for design, permitting and construction administration for the first phase of its $600 million, 1,322-acre county logistics/industrial park.

The Request for Qualifications was sent to more than 50 civil engineering firms that have expressed interest in Jafza. Firms receiving a RFQ are mainly from South Carolina, though some are from Georgia.

The RFQ allows firms to present their qualifications for consideration. Jafza will review the responses to the RFQ against its own evaluation criteria.

From this review, the company will select no more than six firms. The firms will then submit requirements to a Request for Proposals.

Amid the economic downturn, the RFQ submittal is a sign the company is still moving forward with its plans.

“We are still on schedule,” Jafza spokesperson Tara Robertson said. “Of course, some things are out of our control, but we are still on schedule for the first phase.”

The RFP, which will be released in the spring, will request more specific and detailed information as well as a firm lump-sum price and schedule for providing the specific scope of services.

The RFP includes a general review of the firm, project experience, resume of key employees, partnerships that include small and minority businesses, the number of years the company has operated in South Carolina and references.

Finalization of the RFP is projected to be in the summer.

Jafza announced in September 2007 its plans to build the five-phase park near Santee.

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

Jobs will include clerical, managerial, food service and transportation jobs. In addition, the project could create 1,500 indirect spin-off jobs in the state by 2020.

The company plans to break ground on the project in late 2009 or early 2010. It estimates it could create about 3,700 direct jobs in the county over the next 12 years.

Phases will be determined by market conditions.

The first phase will include about 135 acres of mixed-use development including light manufacturing, light industrial, and office and retail space. The $140 million phase would be completed in 2012-2013.

The RFQ submittals must be postmarked or emailed by the close of business on March 13. Applicants must submit questions via email.

Companies interested in doing future work with Jafza should email information to

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

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jafza selects ATM as Program Manager for Logistics & Distribution

To read the ATM press release click here.

Digging deep: Counties hope there’s money in federal pockets for their projects

By LEE TANT, T&D Staff Writer Sunday, February 08, 2009

As Washington politicians iron out their differences on a federal stimulus package, local officials have already submitted lists of projects they hope the package will fund.

Water and sewer system upgrades and better interstate access are among the most popular items on counties’ wish lists of “shovel-ready” projects that can be started in at least 18 months.

The timing of the stimulus bill couldn’t be better, according to Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson.

“We’ve done a lot of the groundwork to move forward with the next stages, which are funding,” Robinson said.

He says the infrastructure projects would create jobs immediately in the county, which has seen soaring jobless rates in recent months.

“We have an unacceptable level of poverty. We can fix that poverty by creating an environment for companies to make money. How we do that is through infrastructure,” Robinson said.

For example, he says improvements to the county’s railroad system would spark increased distribution from ports in Savannah and Charleston while improving traffic along Interstate 26.

Boosting employment and improving infrastructure should bring back consumer confidence, help attract top companies and increase tax revenue, Robinson said.

But Robinson noted the county doesn’t know how much stimulus money it will get yet.

Since there will be no Congressional earmarks in the stimulus bill, the money will be distributed by various state agencies, according to Hope Derrick, spokesperson for U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

The S.C. Department of Transportation will decide where highway and bridge funding ends up. Spokesman Pete Poore said SCDOT is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding stimulus money.

According to the House version of the stimulus bill, South Carolina would get a total of $3.2 billion. Derrick pointed out the Senate bill, being debated now, could vary greatly from the House version.

Clyburn included a provision in the House bill that sends at least 10 percent of rural development funding to high-poverty counties. Orangeburg and Bamberg counties fall under that category, Derrick said.

Bamberg County Administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott said the high concentration of low-income families in her county makes it an ideal candidate for stimulus money.

“If we get what we ask for, it would put us in a position to compete,” she said.

Orangeburg County Administrator Bill Clark expects some competition for the money.

“At that point, the projects will speak for themselves,” Clark said.

The following is a glance at the “shovel-ready” projects counties have submitted for consideration:

Orangeburg County

“One project supports the other,” Clark says.

Those projects are the Interstate 95/U.S. 301 interchange and extending U.S. 301 into S.C. Highway 6.

Clark said those additions, which total $50 million, would support the county’s Global Logistics Triangle.

Another $36 million in proposed road construction would improve access to the planned $600 million Jafza facility near Santee, Clark said.

Orangeburg and Dorchester counties are jointly asking for $554 million to make enhancements to and widen I-26 and I-95. Those interstates intersect near the Orangeburg/Dorchester border.

Clark said both counties have mutual interests to improve the interstate highways for economic development.

The county has put upgrading more than 40 miles of railroads and building a $34 million logistics center for trains on its stimulus wish list.

Clark said those proposed projects would not solely benefit Jafza, adding they would also support anticipated spin-off developments in the logistics triangle.

“This would bring money to impact the entire eastern portion of Orangeburg County,” he said.

He cited as an example the possible development of a business park by Charleston-based World Trade City, a potential $1 billion investment, near Bowman.

Other items on the list include a $23 million regional wastewater facility in the John W. Matthews Industrial Park and $15 million for other industrial park enhancements.

A regional health and government services center in Holly Hill and a county wellness center off St. Matthews Road round out the county’s list.

Bamberg County

A $46.5 million water/sewer system upgrade is the big ticket item up for stimulus consideration in Bamberg.

Dobson-Elliott said the possible investment would create a countywide system and build a water plant in Olar to service the lower portion of the county.

She believes that construction will open up areas for housing and industrial development, in addition to creating jobs for years to come.

The county also hopes it will secure $25 million to widen U.S. 78. It is also seeking $5 million to renovate the Bamberg County Hospital.

Courthouse renovations and a new law enforcement complex, which have a combined price tag of $20 million, are other items on the list.

Calhoun County

A $20 million interchange at Savanny Hunt Creek Road and I-26 would be a coup for Calhoun County’s future economic development, County Administrator Lee Prickett says.

“For five or six years, there has been tremendous truck traffic on Frontage Road (which runs parallel to I-26),” he said. Prickett said the interchange would open up that part of the county to attract new businesses.

Prickett would also like to see funding for the plethora of water/wastewater projects, totaling $36.9 million, on the county’s list.

His county wants to build infrastructure to tap into water and wastewater access from Orangeburg County. Calhoun County would pay a fee to Orangeburg County for those services, he said.

Prickett said water improvements to the Midway and New Bethany areas and linking the county’s water systems together are also priorities.

“The long-term goal is to have a countywide water system,” he said.

Other stimulus requests include a $1.3 million Sandy Run government complex and expanding the parking lot at the county courthouse.

T&D Staff Writer Lee Tant can be reached by e-mail at ltant@times or by phone at 803-534-1060. Discuss this and other stories online at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Economic Zones World targets US, China, and India

Middle East Business Intelligence has posted a short comment about EZW on it's website today. You can read the entire comment by registering on their website

"The UAE's Economic Zones World will move ahead with projects in the US, China and India this year, but will keep other international projects under review while it assesses the impact of the economic downturn."