York County is pursuing two economic development projects that could bring more than 5,000 jobs and an investment in excess of $200 million to the county, sources say.
Britt Blackwell, chairman of the county council, said, “we don’t have them yet, but they should open eyes.” He said he hopes an announcement could be made within four to six weeks.
The county council is scheduled to take take one of the first official steps to secure the two office projects on Monday by voting on whether to apply for $4 million in grants from the S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development. With the county council’s approval, York County will apply for two $2 million grants that would be used for roads and utility work for the projects.
If the grants are approved, they would be four times larger than what the county annually receives from the coordinating council. Mark Farris, York County’s economic development director, said during the past 20 years, the county has averaged receiving about $1.2 million in grants annually.
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Farris said the county has been pursuing these two “large-scale, Class A office projects” for more than a year. Class A is an industry standard denoting offices that have high quality finishes, state of the art systems, and a “definite market presence,” according to the Building Owners and Managers Association.
The projects represent a “major investment in new construction and job creation,” Farris said. He stressed the projects are competitive, and York County has not finalized a deal.
Sources say the office projects would involve construction of new facilities. Names of the prospects and the construction sites have not been released.
Applying for the economic development grants is one of the first steps in the business recruitment process.
Typically, the York County Council will also pass an inducement resolution that gives preliminary information about the project and any intent of the county to offer tax breaks. No inducements resolutions are on Monday’s agenda.
If the county proceeds with a project, any tax breaks must be approved by an ordinance that requires three votes and a public hearing.