Blog Archives

Recap of Another Booming Year in CHS

The Post and Courier provided a year-end 2016 overview.  Some highlights:

  • Update on Mercedes-Benz $500M plant that will hire 1,300 to build the Sprinter vans in Palmetto Commerce Park on a plant that will cover 75 football fields, plus the new Volvo plant in Berkeley Count
  • Boeing opened its 787 DreamLiner paint hangar of 360,000 SF that can paint two jets at the same time
  • Travel + Leisure praised the city again – voting it the world’s best city while Conde Nast Traveler readers voted it the friendliest city in the world
  • Over 16,200 home sales thru November, plus about 5,500 apartment units under construction with rents rising 3.3% (to $1,113) and occupancy at a stellar 94.4%
  • New grocery retailers in the metro area include a new Fresh Market, a new Lowes Foods, both in Summerville, and Germany’s Lidl planning a site in Goose Creek
  • Blackbaud began construction on its new 360k SF headquarters in a new $154M campus for the software maker where it will hire an additional 300 over the next five years
  • AT&T and Home Telecom will provide gigabit speed Internet in some suburban areas


400k BMWs Produced in Upstate SC

An amazing 400,000 BMWs were manufactured in BMW’s plant in Greer near Greenville/Spartanburg in 2015.  That’s almost 1,100 a DAY and 45 each and every HOUR of the year.  Incredible.  Figures for exports through the Port of CHS are not yet out, but $9.2B of autos were shipped out in 2014.  Add Daimler’s and Volvo’s exports in the next two to three years that will swell these figures to make SC one of the largest auto exporters in the nation; its already one of the largest tire exporters in the U.S.  David Wren has the story here for The Post and Courier.

$500M Volvo Plant Groundbreaking

Volvo broke ground on their $500M manufacturing plant that will eventually employ some 4,000 workers. It is Volvo’s first plant in the U.S. as the company seeks to double its share of sales in North America.  The Post and Courier and Associated Press have the announcement here.

Colliers International Mid-Year 2015 Industrial Market Report – Game Changers

David Wren of The Post and Courier reports on the recently released Colliers International Q2 2015 industrial market report for Charleston that highlights some “game changers” of some job creators such as Volvo Cars North America and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans which, combined, will create over 5,300 direct jobs between just the two of them and a $1 BILLION investment in CHS.  And the multipliers, automotive suppliers and third party logistics providers (and don’t forget Boeing) will grow automotive manufacturing in the region and across the state.  The big picture – vacancy is now at 6.8%, down 300 basis points from just one year ago and leasing is robust with possibly as much as 2MSF to be be absorbed in 2015.  Recent projects announced:

  • Gerber Childrenswear – $33M, 477k SF distribution center in Berkeley County
  • WestRock/SunCap – speculative 350k SF warehouse at North Pointe Business Campus in Hanahan.
  • Childress Klein/Amstar – speculative 279k SF warehouse in Charleston Regional Business Center off Clements Ferry Road/I-526.
  • Patillo Industrial Real Estate – 142k SF spec warehouse in Palmetto Commerce Park in N CHS; its expandable to 400k SF.
  • Childress Klein/Jamestown – 272k SF multi-tenant building recently completed also in Palmetto Commerce Park.
  • Lineage Logistics – 340k SF cold-storage distribution facility in Palmetto Commerce Park for exports like poultry and vegetables through the Port of CHS.

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Gerber Childrenswear Building 477k SF Distribution Facility in Berkeley County

Gerber Childrenswear, whose customers include the famous Gerber baby clothes and softgoods, but also the National Football League and New Balance, is building a 477k SF warehouse that will open in June.  It is in WestRock’s (formerly MeadWestvaco) FTZ industrial park at I-26 and Exit 195 (and future Exit 197) just past Summerville and near the 1.3MSF TBC warehouse that opened in early 2011.  Both the Gerber warehouse and TBC were co-developed Rockefeller Group is a co-developer with WestRock.

Its been a busy last few months for WestRock – May’s announcement of Volvo’s $500M campus in Ridgeville that will make 100k passenger cars a year and employ 2,000 was announced and Cabela’s announced in July that it will build an 82k SF store and its first in the Lowcountry in Nexton in Summerville.

David Wren of The Post and Courier has the story on the Gerber warehouse.

“Activity” to Start On Volvo Site by September

Groundbreaking for the new $500M Volvo plant is expected in late September that will eventually employ more than 2,000 persons in its initial phase.  Civil engineering contracts totaling almost $75M were awarded by Berkeley County that will prepare the site for development.  College of Charleston economist Frank Hefner expects the Volvo plant to have an annual economic impact of $4.8B.  David Wren of The Post and Courier has the story here.

Corps’ Approves Wetland Permit for $500M Volvo Plant

The Army Corps of Engineers approved a wetland permit for some 195 acres of a total 2,800 Volvo (and probably some suppliers) will use as Volvo prepares to start preparing the Ridgeville site this Fall and start vertical construction in 2016 with plans to hire 2,000 workers and start making its first US-built cars in 2018.  John McDermott of The Post and Courier has the story on the wetland permit approval…

Glenn McConnell Extension a Major Catalyst of Development of West Ashley and East Edisto

To quote from the map below, “A 6k home development near Bees Ferry Road, and an even larger development in Dorchester County, and a proposed 4-lane road from West Ashley to Ridgeville, near Volvo’s new plant, should mean more people, more traffic, and some new (and much needed) route options for drivers.  Emphasis added by  That roadway would provide an “enormous relief valve to Interstate 26” according to an official at the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, but the road also has its critics, as do most things involving CHS and development.  David Slade of The Post and Courier has the article.

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – Volvo Chooses Charleston For Auto Plant and Up to 4,000 Jobs

Gov. Nikki Haley will announce today that Volvo has picked a site near Ridgeville, about 30 miles northwest of downtown CHS and just 10 miles or so past suburban Summerville for its first U.S. automobile plant that will create up to some 4k jobs over the next decade.  The decision, according to Volvo officials, was based on:  access to the Port of CHS, infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, attractive investment environment and experience in high-tech manufacturing.  The initial phase will be for a 2k-worker assembly plant with a second phase to potentially double that, but would multiply when suppliers that need to be nearby are included.  Dr. Frank Hefner of The College of Charleston estimated the economic impact of the Volvo plant to be about $4.8B.  This is all on the heels of April’s announcement that Daimler Chrysler will build a $500M manufacturing facility in N CHS to make Mercedes Sprinter vans, creating 1,400 jobs there, and certainly Boeing’s 2009 announcement to build the 787 DreamLiner in CHS and their 2013 announcement to invest another $1B in their facilities here.   David Wren of The Post and Courier has the Volvo announcement.

Volvo Looking Good For CHS

While it is well short of an official announcement that Volvo is coming, a report on the Atlanta newspapers site,, suggests that the competitive site (in GA) is out of the running.  If prior reports are accurate, that leaves the CHS site in Ridgeville, as the preliminary winner of the competition for Volvo’s first U.S. auto manufacturing plant. a $500M venture that will create some 4k jobs.  Reportedly, the automaker will announce their decision this month.