Estimated Expenses To Upfit Mohawk Building Discussed
By Betsy Finklea
The estimated expenses to upfit the Mohawk Building for use by Harbor Freight Tools was discussed at a called meeting of the Dillon County Council on Wednesday morning.
The upfit of the building is part of a deal to induce Harbor Freight Tools to expand in Dillon County. It was noted that Harbor Freight will lease the building for two years. Economic Development Director Tonny McNeil said the lease is tied to a much larger project.
The estimated expenses total $826,843.22; however, the projects have not been bidded out so this is just an estimate. County Administrator Clay Young said the work could come in lower than expected.
Young said the S.C. Department of Commerce would allow him to use the $500,000 grant that the county received for a spec building on this project. He said that they could take $225,000 of this grant money and use on the Mohawk Building instead. The county is expecting to receive $225,000 from Marlboro Electric at the end of the year for the spec building which could be used to replace the money being taken out for the Mohawk project.
The news of the estimated expenses drew upset from some members of council.
Councilman Andrew Graves said it looked like they were investing more in an old building than it would take to build a new building.
Councilman Harold Moody was also very vocal on the subject. “My worst fears have been realized,” said H. Moody. He said when the county first took the building it was for a company that didn’t work out. He said then they ended p with a 50 year old building. He said he was never in favor of this building and that the whole time he wanted to build a spec building where Dillon County would get 100 percent of the tax base, not one-third as with the Tri-County Industrial Park.
Councilman Bobby Moody said they needed to get some bids and find out what the actual costs were going to be.
H. Moody said that he had said this building was going to be a “white elephant” and that is exactly what it has turned out to be. “It looks like a money pit,” said H. Moody. “It makes me sick.”
H. Moody said there were forces at work that didn’t make sense, and they should have left this building alone. He said this building was like an anchor around their necks when they should be spending good money somewhere else.
H. Moody pointed out that the paving seemed extremely high, and he questioned the removal of the duct work. “Do you want it out or does Harbor Freight want it out?,” H. Moody asked Economic Development Director McNeil. Moody said a representative of Harbor Freight told him it was not a problem. McNeil said he had talked to someone higher up than that, but as long as Harbor Freight is happy with it, they could leave it in.
It was stated that Harbor Freight wanted the boiler out because they needed the room.
H. Moody said they were in the middle of this now. Young said that they were trying to get the cost down.
B. Moody said they needed to get the bids in and then they could argue.
Young said these figures were “worst case scenario,” but said they were probably looking at $626,000.
County Attorney Ken Dubose said that Dillon County had entered in a lease agreement with Harbor Freight to expeditiously make improvements to the Mohawk Building and that the list of improvements was attached to the lease agreement.
Upon a motion by B. Moody and a second by B. Moody, the council voted to move forward with obtaining the bids.