ESTATE


Berkely industrial park plan advances
2009/02/10, 1:06 pm
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Berkeley industrial park plan advances

By Andy Paras
The Post and Courier
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
MONCKS CORNER — Berkeley County Council on Monday finalized the Jedburg Road Assessment District, paving the way for a massive industrial park that is expected to attract 18,000 indirect and direct jobs to the county.

“This is, in essence, Berkeley County’s economic stimulus package,” said Attorney Neil Robinson, who is representing Hillwood Development, one of six companies that have agreed to fund two-thirds of the $30.5 million plan.

Together, the six companies plan to develop 18.8 million square feet of industrial and commercial space on about 2,672 acres on both sides of Interstate 26 near the Exit 94 interchange.

Much of the space will be used for port-driven distribution space, while some will be manufacturing, officials say.

The purpose of the assessment district was to come up with a way to fund improvements to the roads and an overpass needed to accommodate the increased traffic created by the industries.

Under the agreement, Berkeley County will borrow a total of $30.5 million from the State Infrastructure Bank.

The county will contribute a total of $10 million by using its capital improvements fund to repay the loan over the next 20 years.

The six businesses will pay the remaining $20.5 million un- der the terms of the assessment district.

The first jobs will come with the construction to improve the area roads and increase over time, officials said. Construction is expected to begin by this summer.

County Attorney Nicole Ewing said without the plan, many of the companies would have had to pack up and go home.

She said the assessment district is the first of its kind in the state. There have been others involving one business but never involving six competing industries.

“This is really a very significant event for Berkeley County and the state,” Ewing said.

The companies include Ross Perot Jr.-run Hillwood, Rock-Berkeley, MeadWestvaco, Eastway and the Trammel Crowe Co., and local developers International Mercantile Park and Gordon Darby.

Foster Gaillard of Rock-Berkeley and the Rockefeller Group, said the deal was complicated because of the companies’ competing interests and the necessary road improvements.

He credited the county staff, Supervisor Dan Davis and County Council with making the deal happen.

“None of this would have happened without the county taking the lead on this,” Gaillard said.

Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589 or aparas@postandcourier.com.

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