Monday, December 20, 2010

Columbia Under Construction: Winter 2010 edition

Columbia Regional Business Report

Jafza Santee Training Center
721 Hannah Drive – Santee

This 16,000-square-foot, multitenant building consists of 12,000 square feet of industrial
space and 4,000 square feet of office and conference space. The building is designed for
approximately 6,000 square feet of expansion. All the industrial units for lease have frontage
on Interstate 95.
Developer: Jafza South Carolina, Charleston
Architect: MV Design/Build, Columbia
General contractor: Miller-Valentine Construction, Columbia
Engineer: MV Design/Build, Columbia
Estimated completion date: March 2011

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Build it and they will come!

Jafza's first building is out of the ground. I will post updated photos every couple of weeks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Prep work begins on construction of first building at Jafza

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T&D CORRESPONDENT/MARTHA ROSE BROWNCrews with Porth Contracting Co., the Miller Valentine Group and Tri-County Electric Cooperative work together Thursday prepping the five-acre site for Jafza’s first commercial building at its Santee location.

SANTEE - Preliminary work is under way on a 16,000-square-foot building at Jafza South Carolina LLC's 1,322-acre park near Santee.

Jafza plans to develop a logistics, manufacturing and distribution park at the site.

Phase 1 of the Jafza park consists of 47 acres on the west side of Interstate 95, next to the Santee Town Hall, and 76 acres on the east side of I-95, behind the Santee Outlet Mall.

To help create a "flagship building" for the project, Orangeburg County and Tri-County Electric Cooperative worked together to get Jafza a no-interest federal loan for the construction of the "Jafza Enterprise Center" on five acres bordering I-95.

As many as three tenants are expected to occupy the building, Drue Fitzgerald, Jafza USA business manager, said Thursday.

"We're excited," Fitzerald said.

However, he said he could not disclose the names of the potential tenants because formal contracts had not yet been signed.

Crews first arrived at the site on Oct. 7 to begin the prep work, said contractor John Porth of the St. Matthews-based Porth Contracting Company Inc.

Porth said his company is responsible for all clearing, grading, paving and utilities at the site.

On Thursday morning, crews from Porth Contracting; the Miller Valentine Group, a commercial real estate general contracting company and Tri-County Electric Cooperative were busy digging footers in preparation for pouring the building's concrete foundation, said Jim Tuttle, an employee of the Miller Valentine Group.

Gregg Robinson, executive director of the Orangeburg County Economic Development Commission, described the building as "flexible" in that it will "allow Jafza to customize and grow the building according to the client."

"We're very happy that Jafza feels confident with the (economic) market coming back," Robinson said. "This is a significant step in the right direction as we are coming out of a recession and posturing this area for growth.

"We're getting ourselves ready for new companies as well as expanding companies and port-related industry."

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Jafza begins to build!

You can see the equipment at work, if you drive along I95 between exit 97 and 99 and look to the west. Construction has finally begun on the Jafza's site. The first building is much smaller than initial plans of Jafza, but this is still an exciting event for Santee, South Carolina. the 24,000 sq.ft building is schedule to be completed by January 1, 2011. It is my understanding that Orangeburg County will be paving Hannah Drive in the next couple of months.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jafza prepares for construction, seeks tenants

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ILLUSTRATION SPECIAL TO THE T&DCounty officials say the planned Jafza Enterprise Center will show the 1,322-acre logistics, manufacturing and distribution park is open for business.

As Jafza South Carolina LLC plans for the construction of a new building at its 1,322-acre park in Santee, officials say they're also preparing for bigger things to come.

Senior Vice President Clint Murphy says there's been considerable interest in the company's plans for a logistics, manufacturing and distribution park at the site.

"We have written numerous proposals for tenants to locate in our Phase 1," he said. "Several of these proposals are still active and we remain optimistic that we can sign an agreement in 2011."

Murphy said assuming an agreement is signed in 2011, a manufacturing facility typically takes a year to plan and construct.

Phase 1 of Jafza Magna park consists of 47 acres on the west side of Interstate 95, next to the Santee Town Hall, and 76 acres on the east side of I-95, behind the Santee Outlet Mall.

Jafza has met all the necessary regulatory requirements to begin development, including site certification, Murphy said.

To help create a "flagship building" for the project, Orangeburg County and Tri-County Electric Cooperative worked together get Jafza a no-interest federal loan for the construction of the "Jafza Enterprise Center" on 5 acres bordering interstate.

The 20,000-square-foot building will house Jafza offices, warehouse space and training facilities for Timmonsville-based Palmetto Training Inc. An estimated 10 to 15 people would be employed there.

Murphy said the company is looking to move its headquarters to the new building upon completion to better serve company clients and to have oversight of the project now that it is moving forward.

County officials say they expect the building to be a flagship, providing a visible indication that Jafza is open for business and committed to its plans for Orangeburg County.

Construction is expected to begin in October with a Jan. 1, 2011 opening.

Murphy declined to say how much it will cost to build the center.

"We don't discuss price," he said. "We won't know until bids come in and are properly evaluated."

As part of the loan agreement, Jafza will deed 5 acres to the county for the development of the structure, which will be located near Santee Town Hall and visible from Interstate 95.

The county is leasing that land back to Jafza with Jafza being responsible for construction. Jafza will have the sole responsibility for the building, including finding tenants and paying taxes.

n Palmetto Training

Palmetto Training provides classes in a number of fields, including industrial maintenance, carpentry, forklift operations, truck driving and welding, according to the company's website. It also has locations in Timmonsville, Charleston and Winnsboro.

Several calls and messages left over a period of a couple of weeks for PTI President Elmer E. Jackson were not returned.

In an interview last year with the Winnsboro-based Herald Independent newspaper, Jackson said he incorporated PTI in 1998 while he was working as a high school vocational educator.

In the interview, Jackson said Palmetto Training designs its curricula to meet identified employer needs.

Murphy said the center will provide specialized vocational training in areas such as excavation and heavy equipment usage, and possibly computer training.

Although local officials haven't had much experience with the company, Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said Palmetto Training has a role to play in the county's economic development.

"Any type of training is good in my opinion," Robinson said. "People are learning a new skill set and now in this climate it is time to go back to school and learn a new skill. They will be a tenant in this new enterprise building and we hope they are successful."

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College President Dr. Anne Crook initially expressed concerns about the county's plans to help finance a building that could house a private training firm, especially as OCtech is experiencing budget cuts.

Crook said she has no concerns about Palmetto Training being in the county. She says OCtech can provide the same training as Palmetto Training.

"We don't mind competition," Crook said. "From a competitive standpoint we feel like we do everything they do and probably better."

Crook said OCtech offers what is considered the "premiere" truck driving training in the state and that it recently added a state-of-the-art welding facility.

Crook says the college has an arrangement in place with sister colleges to provide heavy machinery training.

"Them being a part of the Jafza building does not mean they will be doing the training for Jafza," Crook said. She noted the state technical college system already provides training through the Ready South Carolina workforce force training program.

Crook said she has had conversations with the company but has never worked with the firm.

n Palmetto Training

in Fairfield County

Fairfield County cut the ribbon on a Palmetto Training facility in Winnsboro about a year ago.

Fairfield County Councilman David L. Ferguson Sr. says he became aware of Palmetto Training through his professional working relationship with Jackson while serving as a career education teacher in Sumter County.

So when the economic downturn hit, Ferguson said the county's One Stop Shop got in touch with Palmetto Training to help bring in specialized classes in carpentry, welding and other areas.

Palmetto Training began operations in the county about a year ago and graduated its first class of about 14 students about six weeks ago, said Ferguson.

Electricians, masons and carpenters were among the graduates.

"We are happy to have them in Fairfield County," he said, noting the county has lost three plants in the county over the past few years "Our unemployment rates are double digits. We are at odds of what to do."

"We wanted to bring all our workforce who was underemployed or unemployed brought up to a good skill standard," Ferguson said.

Ferguson said Palmetto Training serves as a stepping stone to more in-depth training provided by the technical college system.

"We have as good a career center in Fairfield County as any," he said. "We have tried to get kids in the certain level and send them onto Midlands Technical. He gets their feet wet."

Contact the writer: gzaleski@times or 803-533-5551.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

US-based Magna Park starting to take shape

Monday, Sep 06, 2010

Gulf News

Construction of first building underway

Dubai Economic Zones World announced the construction of the first building in Jafza Magna Park, its US-based, 1,324 acre logistics and distribution hub located in Santee, South Carolina.

The 20,000 square feet training centre and office will be a multi-use facility that will consist of shared office facilities, training laboratories and general warehouse space known as Leased Industrial Units.

Economic Zones World acquired over 1,300 acres just outside of the town limits of Santee in Orangeburg County in the fall of 2007.

Since then Jafza has pursued and received all the necessary regulatory requirements to begin development, including site certification from the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The initial land development will be done in three immediate phases which include the construction of the mixed-use training facility and the development of 42 and 76 acres of plots respectively. The project is expected to attract about $1.2 billion (Dh4.4 billion) in private investment and generate an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 jobs over a decade.

“This building is a significant milestone for us at EZW, especially for the Jafza team on the ground in the United States. We are excited about the project and have spent time laying the ground work for it. This first step towards the realization of all the hard work is very rewarding,” said Salma Ali Saif Bin Hareb, chief executive officer of Economic Zones World.

“It is, above all, an encouraging sign of the global economic recovery and we hope it’s a stepping stone to many more great things to come at Santee,” he added.

County Council chairman Johnnie Wright said the facility will be a major asset to the region as well as the development of the Industrial Park.

“This is further confirmation of Jafza’s commitment to South Carolina and Orangeburg County. It is indeed a Great Day in Orangeburg County,” Wright said.

In addition to the US Industrial park project, Economic Zones World is currently engaged in numerous development projects across Asia (India, Malaysia and China); Africa (Djibouti); the Middle East (the UAE) and Europe (Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain and France).

This building is a significant milestone for us at EZW, especially for the Jafza team on the ground in the United States. We are excited about the project...”

Salma Ali Saif Bin Hareb

CEO, Economic Zones World

Staff Report

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Plans for Jafza training facility move forward

    There were no comments during a public hearing Monday on an ordinance authorizing a deed-lease agreement between the county and Jafza South Carolina, LLC. Orangeburg County Administrator Bill Clark said second reading will take during a special called council meeting, which could be held Aug. 23.Construction of a training building near Interstate 95 is one step closer to fruition thanks to agreements between Orangeburg County and several entities.

Stephen McCrae Jr., Jafza's attorney, said the company will deed five acres to the county for the development of the structure.

"At the same time, the county will lease that land back to Jafza with the responsibility on our part to construct a facility called The Training Center," McCrae said. "The funding for the construction will be through Tri-County Electric Cooperative. It has some funds from Rural Economic Development Land Grant and other funding.

"The construction must be completed by January 1 because we already have one tenant identified. This is a wonderful opportunity, not only for Jafza but for the county, which brought it to us."

McCrae said the tenant is an organization involved in workforce training. Jafza will have the sole responsibility for the building, including finding tenants and paying taxes.

Clark said Tri-County is able to obtain almost $1 million through REDLG, which it will make available to the county at no interest for ten years under a separate agreement. The agreement also allows for the deferral of payments for the first two years.

"These are extraordinary, beneficial terms that cannot be touched in the private sector," Clark said. Tri-County, "will have a separate agreement with Jafza to construct the building, which will make lease payments sufficient to cover the debt service on the loan.

"It's a win-win for all parties."

McCrae said the final terms of the agreement, such as the construction budget, still need to be ironed out. He promised the documentation, once completed, will be made available for public inspection before second reading next week.

"This is virtually risk-free for the county," McCrae said. "Jafza has land that will be made available to the county if there is a default on the lease."

Also during its Monday meeting, council agreed to enter an intergovernmental loan agreement with Santee Cooper for up to $4 million for ten years. Clark said the money would likely be used for the development of a regional wastewater facility in eastern Orangeburg County.

"We have a wastewater facility under permitting review right now that should become operational in the next two, three years," Clark said. "If we need funding assistance to proceed with the development of either the water or the wastewater utility systems in that area, Santee Cooper has just made themselves available as a partner, if needed."

If the county were to use any of the Santee Cooper funding, "payment would not occur until either six months after the facility was constructed and permitted to operate, or two years from the time the funds were drawn down," Clark said. "Principal payment could be deferred to the end or be prepaid at any other negotiated period."

Santee Cooper spokesman Mollie Gore said the agreement must win approval of that utility's board of directors next week before it becomes final.

"This arrangement would be similar in structure to an agreement Santee Cooper had with Berkeley County in order to help attract development," Gore said.

In other action council:

* Unanimously gave final approval to a new county waste tire policy. Clark said accepting the policy keeps the county eligible for waste tire funding from the state.

* Awarded South Carolina State University Head Football Coach Emeritus Willie Jeffries a resolution of honor in recognition of his accomplishments in the field of athletics and role in community service to Orangeburg County. Jeffries was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame July 17.

* Entered executive session to discuss economic development, including the terms of the Jafza agreement.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5540.