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2 projects could bring 400 jobs

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Corporate HQ eyes IL, manufacturer targets Lancaster

By Gregory A. Summers

Lancaster County is close to landing two large employers that would bring a total of $43 million in investment, more than 400 jobs and one corporate headquarters to the county.
The unidentified companies, code-named Project Green Onion and Project Wine, have been on the county’s radar screen for 18 months and three months, respectively, said Lancaster County Economic Development Director Jamie Gilbert.
“Lancaster County has become a real desirable place for corporate headquarters and facilities, especially up in Indian Land,” he said.
County Council members started building a preliminary framework for the deals June 25 by unanimously approving resolutions to create special source revenue credits [tax incentive agreements] for each company.
Project Green Onion
Project Green Onion is a financial-services corporate headquarters that is looking to grow its Charlotte-area operation, Gilbert said.
If the county can land the project, the company would move 182 existing jobs here and create 117 new positions over five years at an hourly rate of $23 to $76. That’s well above the county’s average salary of $20.47 an hour.
“This is a well-respected company that’s been in business for more than 20 years. They have an outstanding reputation and one we would be very proud to have,” Gilbert said.
He noted that the county’s economic development department and the S.C. Commerce Department has been working with the company on a possible site since January 2017.
The company is looking at an existing building in the Edgewater Corporate Center.
In a report to County Council, Gilbert said the property purchase could be finalized this month, “provided county and state incentives can be made available for the project.” The state, he said, approved job-development credits for Project Green Onion in May.
“We expect that closing sometime by the middle or end of July…. This has been a long time in the making,” he said.  
For every dollar invested in this company’s tax incentives, Gilbert said, $5 will come back to the local economy.
“It’s a very attractive project for the county and fills up a building that’s sat 30 percent vacant for the last several years.”    
Project Wine
Project Wine is a construction-materials manufacturer looking to locate in the Charlotte region.
Gilbert said his department and state officials have been working with the company since mid-April on a possible site.
The old 32,000- square-foot Fab Fours building at 1312 Camp Creek Road just north of Lancaster has been identified as a suitable location. The building has been vacant for two-and-a-half years.
Right now, property tax on the building is assessed at 6 percent. Once a manufacturer is in it, Gilbert said, the  assessment will increase to 10.5 percent.
If the county can lure Project Wine, Gilbert said the company is expected to invest almost $3 million and create 137 new jobs in three years. Wages at the manufacturer, Gilbert said will range from $14 to $30 an hour.  
The company, he noted, has negotiated a lease-to-purchase contract on the property. And if all the details can be worked out, Project Wine has a start-up date of August.       
Using a cost-benefit analysis, Gilbert said Project Wine has a 2-1 fiscal benefit. For every dollar invested in tax incentives for Project Wine, $2 will come back to the local economy.

Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at (803) 283-1156.