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.

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