By Betsy Finklea
Dillon County has one of three properties in South Carolina that was selected for the Duke Energy site readiness program, and recently the findings from their evaluation was presented to a group of area officials.
“Through the program, Duke Energy identifies high potential sites and partners with county officials and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for getting the site fully ready to market to industrial projects,” according to the press release announcing the selection. Other properties selected were in Newberry and Lancaster.
In Dillon County, the Woodle site was selected. The 163-acre site is located adjacent to Inland Port Dillon and two miles from Interstate 95’s Exit 190.
Some of the positive aspects about the property is that it is 96 percent developable; it has a one ownership group; and the county has option on the property.
A master study is being done to focus on the long-term growth, and the presenter said the infrastructure needed to be completed in the next few years.
The presenter also said that work needed to be done on the zoning. The property is currently zoned rural. Clients like to see properties zoned industrial or heavy industrial.
There are several structures on the property that need to be removed.
The presenter said that the property has great interstate access. She said Longstreet Road will need improvements. She said there is a great deal of access to good electric capacity and the potential to partner to increase the gas capacity. She said investments would be needed for larger water users. She said they need to consider long-term capacity needs. She said there is a similar story with wastewater. She said there is an opportunity to work with DHEC to increase capacity at the sewer treatment plant. She said the master planning is needed to encourage a vision for development.
Another presenter said the Ports Authority wouldn’t have made the investment here if they didn’t believe in Dillon County.
He also stressed that the zoning needs to be done and noted that the power is robust. He said it is rail served on the east boundary of the property. He said the property has multiple points of access to the property.
The workforce is also an important factor. He said the challenge is sheer workforce availability.
Some target industries to consider for the property are distribution, logistics, bulky manufacturing, and food production operations that don’t need a ton of water.
The Site Readiness Program is considered a valuable tool for their partners. The program had its start in 2005 and has resulted in 15 major projects in South Carolina.
By Betsy Finklea