By Stan Welch
The biggest news to come out of the Anderson County Council meeting Tuesday night concerned a potential economic development in the Piedmont area. While economic development director Burriss Nelson followed the usual procedure of using a code name for potential projects, enough details surfaced during the discussion of the benefits to be received to serve as clues to the client’s identity and intentions.
Nelson, who presented a request for economic incentives to be offered in the form of infrastructure credits , and inclusion of the client in the joint county industrial and business park, informed Council that the proposed development would result in a capital investment of $13.5 million, and result in one hundred forty seven jobs, with an average wage of $19.72 per hour. That would produce an annual payroll of approximately $5.7 million.
Nelson added that the property in question generated one hundred seventeen dollars in property taxes last year. Once the project is completed and in operation, the annual tax revenues will approach $175,000 annually. The total economic impact in the first year is estimated at approximately $6.7 million dollars, and soaring to $148 million over the next twenty years.
While Nelson will not confirm the client’s identity this early in the process, he did tell Council that the company, which is in the food and beverage industry, is more than a century old and is global in its reach. The proposed facility will serve as a regional corporate headquarters, as well as a distribution center.
However, corollary information obtained from other county sources indicate that the permitting process is underway for a warehouse and storage facility of more than a million and a half square feet. That proposed facility’s location near the existing Budweiser distribution center at the intersection of Highways 86 and 17 would put it in Council District Six, where the Project Upstate, as it is code named, is also situated.
Again, Nelson refused to confirm rumors that the potential client is the Coca Cola Company. By the time the third and final approval of the incentive package is brought to a final vote, the details of the client’s identity will be revealed, as required by law.
A public forum is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Reed Street YMCA. The purpose is to start the process of developing the overlay plan for the Highway 81 corridor. The meeting will be held, weather permitting, at 6 p.m.