By Betsy Finklea
At a workshop meeting on Wednesday, the Dillon County Council received information on a proposal from Marlboro Electric Cooperative about a proposed spec building.
County Attorney Ken Dubose presented the information. Dubose said that the Marlboro Electric Cooperative is proposing to build an industrial spec building for Dillon County that would be marketed by Marlboro Electric and Dillon County.
The building would be a 50,000 sq. ft. Class A building that would be ready for occupancy and would be expandable. Marlboro Electric has an option on property on Highway 34 and I-95 in the northeast corner where the frontage road (that was constructed with capital projects sales tax money) is located. This is where they would construct the building.
If the building did not sell within one year, then Dillon County would pay the coop $2.5 million for the building.
Dubose said that this would take three readings and a public hearing in regards to appropriation of funds. Dubose said as a practical matter this needs to be considered by July 1st.
Dillon County Economic Development Director Tonny McNeil said if they wanted to continue to make announcements like Harbor Freight then they were going to need available product. He said there is a formula to bring in jobs. He said they need certified sites and buildings. McNeil said that a spec building will take the county to another level and that they wanted to continue to put themselves in a good position.
McNeil said now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity and as an economic developer he needs a spec building.
He said they have lost some very lucrative projects in the past due to the lack of a spec building. He said this was an investment that will help them to continue making announcements, keep the citizens happy, increase the tax base, and impact the local economy.
McNeil then addressed some council concerns. He said that he did think that the building would be occupied within one year.
He addressed the possibility of locating a building at the megasite. He said that the purpose of the megasite is for a major mega-project and cannot be broken up into an industrial park or smaller parcels. He said the megasite is for a single occupant. He said the megasite is a long-term strategy.
McNeil said that he thought that they should “think big.” He said if we think small we will get small results. McNeil said there are enough workers in a 60 mile radius to support a mega-industry.
Also, it was noted that Dillon County does not own the megasite.
The matter is expected to be an agenda item at an upcoming meeting.
By Betsy Finklea