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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