BMW supplier Gestamp investing $129M to expand Union County operations

BMW Supplier Gestamp will expand its Union County operations and create 130 jobs.

One of Union County’s two BMW suppliers plans to expand.

Madrid, Spain-based Gestamp announced Wednesday it will spend $129 million to grow its operations in the county and create 130 jobs.

Gestamp’s existing facility is at 1 LSP Drive in the Union Commerce Industrial Park off Highway 176 across from Spartanburg Community College’s Union County Campus.

The investment will include a 123,000-square-foot addition to the company’s existing plant.

Gestamp has also signed a lease on a speculative, or “spec” building at 2 LSP Drive that was constructed by the county and sold in 2016 to industrial developer Agracel Inc. for $1.5 million.

Sources familiar with the project said Agracel is in the process of expanding the building from 60,000 to 182,000 square feet as part of its agreement with Gestamp.

“This new project multiplies our size in South Carolina with a remarkable investment that shows how committed we are with our future operations at the Union County plant,” said Jeff Wilson, CEO of Gestamp North America, in a statement. “The United States is a strategic market for us, where we have six plants in five different states, and we want to grow in this country with the major car manufacturers. This is an important step forward.”

Gestamp has leased this spec building owned by industrial developer Agracel at 2 LSP Drive.
Gestamp has leased this spec building owned by industrial developer Agracel at 2 LSP Drive.

Gestamp said the expansion will help it serve Spartanburg County-based BMW Manufacturing Co. and the new Volvo plant in Berkeley County.

The company said it specializes in the development and production of metal components for automotive structural systems.

It operates 98 manufacturing plants, with 10 more under construction, and boasts a workforce of 34,000 associates worldwide.

“We are very excited about this project, our partnership with Gestamp and the confidence that they have in our community,” Union County Supervisor Frank Hart said in a statement. “This major industrial expansion is a testament to the fact that Union County is a great place to locate, operate and expand industrial operations.”

Union County Development Board Chairman Joe Nichols said Gestamp’s expansion will be a “game changer” for the county and the region.

“Gestamp continues to be a driving force for economic development in Union County,” Nichols said in a statement.

Based on the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s most recent labor market data for December, 130 new jobs would have the potential to lower Union County’s unemployment rate by a full percentage point to 3.7 percent.

Kathy Jo Lancaster, executive director of the Union County Development Board, said she too is excited about Gestamp’s expansion and believes its impact will be felt in Union and beyond.

Gestamp established its Union plant in 2009 after purchasing the former LSP facility, which opened in 2007, from Laepple AG.

During the past eight years, the company has continued to expand its physical footprint and workforce. The plant has grown to about 700,000 square feet and its workforce to about 400, comprised of 291 full-time employees and some temporary workers.

Union’s only other BMW supplier, Gonvauto, a sister company of Gestamp, operates a facility nearby at 1725 Jonesville Highway.

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