Richland County is preparing for economic development for the coming decades and boosting the County’s competitiveness by purchasing more than 1,300 acres in Blythewood, South Carolina to develop a Class A business park.
At approximately 1,349 acres, this sizable, flexible site, located in the Northeast sector of the Columbia, S.C., region on I-77, is one of the largest in the area, giving Richland County a competitive advantage in attracting big-name companies. There is enough space to construct to 5.3 million square feet of office and Class A technology and manufacturing buildings.
“Richland County is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of our citizens and boosting the economic competitiveness of our region,” said Richland County Council Chair Paul Livingston. “With the new Blythewood Business Park, we are able to continue to compete with similar mid-sized metropolitan regions across the Southeast — and win.”
The new Blythewood Business Park could be transformative for the Columbia region via the following:
Creation of Diverse Job Opportunities
Talent attraction and retention is at the forefront of every thriving community. By creating an environment that fosters job creation, Richland County is taking deliberate steps to continue to grow and support a vibrant community where young people have access to abundant and diverse opportunities. As the County successfully locates new companies in the Blythewood Business Park, there will be more job opportunities available County-wide for all citizens.
Land Stewardship and Planned Growth
The decision to purchase this property was made after a thorough and inclusive due diligence and master planning process — including a vetting process by an independent site location consultant — with the support of the S.C. Department of Commerce, the state’s leading business recruitment arm. It is a priority to ensure that the development becomes a part of the community and is cultivated to become a tremendous asset.
Through this purchase, Richland County is taking steps to control how the land develops rather than allowing unplanned and uncontrolled growth. By putting this proactive plan in place for the development and its growth, the County is able to help shape the property to best suit the community while providing meaningful employment opportunities to residents.
Increased Tax Revenue
When businesses and industries locate or expand in the County, they are adding to the tax base, allowing the County and schools to continue to provide services at a high level. Without business and industry growth, residences have to bear more of the tax burden or suffer from reduced services.
How Did the Project Come About?
This property was identified more than 20 years ago when a technology company considered it for a premier campus. For reasons not related to the site, the project did not advance, but the state and the region knew that this was an asset that should be pursued when the time was right. The right time arose several years ago, and the Richland County Economic Development Office began working to gain control of the property and perform the critical due diligence necessary to evaluate the merits of the site.
Due diligence and vetting confirmed that the site remains a premier location for business and industry for many reasons, including the rapid residential growth in Northeast Columbia, availability of robust infrastructure, availability of large tracts of land and success of other business and industrial parks in and around Blythewood. The new park is accessible from two interchanges on Interstate 77, which will aid in the flow of traffic in and around the park.
The Vision for Blythewood Business Park
The vision is to create a park that is part of the community and embraces the look and feel of the surrounding areas. The park has a full master plan that incorporates green spaces, natural areas and ample buffers between it and the residential community to the west. There is a commercial component that is comprised of approximately 100 acres, and it will retain the Blythewood Town Center zoning standards. This will be the “face” of the park and will reflect the character and aesthetics of the Blythewood community.
“The development of the Blythewood Business Park places Richland County in a position to attract new industry, which would in turn create new, diverse jobs in our community,” said Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, who represents District 2, where the Blythewood Business Park will be located. “Similar development the County has taken on in the past has paid off with major investment and new jobs, and this project has the potential for similar growth and success.”
A History of Success in Economic Development
When the County invests in its communities, there is a history of success. After the purchase of the Pineview Industrial Park in 2012 and subsequent infrastructure development, Richland County was able to recruit China Jushi to the region, which has resulted in a $300 million investment and 400 jobs.
In 2016, the ounty purchased 103 acres on the east side of Blythewood in the Carolina Pines Industrial Park. Within six months, Charter NEX Films was announced, which has created 120 jobs and $89 million in capital investment.
“Our region is growing and strong, with the perfect combination of stability, entrepreneurship and livability — these are all key priorities for companies that are choosing where to open a new office or facility,” said Richland County Councilman Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Economic Development Committee Chair. “However, the proper infrastructure must be in place. In securing this new economic development asset, we are ready to meet the needs of leading-edge businesses worldwide.”
About the Richland County Economic Development Office
The Richland County Economic Development Office (RCEDO) was formed in 2012 with the mission of enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Richland County. The office has a staff of five economic development professionals with more than 85 years of combined experience. RCEDO accomplishes its mission by focusing on three proven economic development strategies: 1) business recruitment through active marketing of the County as a competitive location to do business, 2) supporting existing business and industry through its Existing Business Program, and 3) identifying and developing new business and industrial sites and buildings where companies can locate and grow. Learn more at http://richlandcountysc.com/.