Industrial Moving Ahead in South Carolina

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By Nick Stomski, Industrial Broker with NAI Avant

Columbia is located within a 1,000-mile radius of three quarters of the U.S. population and 100 miles from the Port of Charleston. It is located at the intersection of Interstates 20, 77, and 26 giving it exceptional access to the eastern part of the country. The metropolitan area is home to 715,000 persons making it the 69th largest MSA in the United States. At yearend, the market had a total of 34.2 million square feet of industrial space. Approximately 97.6 percent of this space was occupied at the end of 2007 following a year in which 775,000 square feet was absorbed.

The Columbia market is influenced by a number of positive factors unique to this area. In addition to proximity to the Port of Charleston, the quality of the Columbia workforce has been a plus. The region has one of the highest rates of adults with a college degree or greater, and adults with a high school diploma or greater — a trait not shared by many of the surrounding rural areas. Third, the exchange rate of the dollar has improved the export oriented manufacturing market, in which South Carolina is a national leader.

Recent Industrial Projects

Michigan-based Kirco purchased 125 acres in the Carolina Pines Industrial Park at the interchange of I-77 and U.S. Highway 21. They selected the site because of its proximity to I-77 and the rapidly growing northeastern suburbs of Columbia. The site is at the center of a regional employment cluster that includes Computer Sciences Corporation, Siemens Diesel Systems, Bose, Belk, Google, and Trane. The first building on their campus will be 184,000 square feet. The site will be available for multitenant warehouse space or build to suit manufacturing facilities with a target capacity of 2 million square feet of industrial, warehouse, and distribution space.

Second, is the assemblage of major manufacturing and warehouse distribution sites throughout the region. Newberry County assembled 465 acres and Lexington County assembled 500 acres, both along I-26 just south of Columbia. In Orangeburg County, Jafza World LLC purchased 1,200 acres along I-95 and another group assembled 2,000 acres near the interchange of I-26 and U.S. 301. Collectively, these sites will be the location for major warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing activity in the central part of the state.

In summary, the future of the Columbia industrial market looks very bright. While there is a shortage of quality space and sites in the past, over the next 12 months, speculative activity is expected to add new space to the market. Additionally, the relatively low cost of land, transportation access, and growth of the state’s port infrastructure should continue to create an ideal environment for the future industrial market.


Nick Stomski is an Industrial Broker with NAI Avant in Columbia, S.C.

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