New Industrial Parks for Columbia?


New industrial areas proposed to attract jobs

March 29, 2008


Lexington County needs to set aside new areas for industrial parks to attract jobs, a consultant is recommending.

Six existing industrial parks — the largest of which is 175 acres — is inadequate, Strategic Development Group president Mark Williams told County Council members this week.

His plan comes after a recent report said steady growth has sent the county’s industrial vacancy rate to less than 1 percent.

Making several sites available would make the county a magnet by giving developers choices on location, he said.

“You really need this pipeline of sites,” Williams said.

The expansion would be largely speculative but most of the sites would fill gradually, he predicted.

Larger sites than those available now will be attractive for data collection centers as well as traditional manufacturers and warehouses, he said.

It is becoming difficult to find suitable sites ready to build on quickly, said Chuck Salley, a partner in commercial real estate company Colliers Keenan.

A selection of sites is “a great thing to have in your quiver,” he said.

Key suggestions from Williams include:

• Open one or two new parks between 500 acres and 1,200 acres along with an undetermined number of small ones.

• Concentrate new areas near I-20 and I-26.

• Make the 12th Street Extension corridor near Cayce a home for corporate headquarters.

No price tag was put on the plan.

But land acquisition and addition of roads and utility service make the expansion proposed a multi-million dollar effort, council members said.

Council members aren’t committed to the plan yet.

But Councilman Smokey Davis of Lexington, who oversees economic development, likes many of its idea.

“Its a mix of ideas that a road map to accomplish and achieve many things we are interested in,” he said.


With an industrial vacancy rate below 5%, Columbia certainly needs to be concerned about having facilities available for economic development prospects.

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