Above: The county’s main supply of sites for new factories now is the Augusta Grove industrial park along U.S. 25 in southern Greenville County. TPA Group and partners are constructing a 331,850-square-foot spec building there.
Greenville County officials have decided against creating a special fund for increasing the supply of property available for industrial development.
The idea was proposed by Mark Farris, president of the Greenville Area Development Corp., the county’s economic development organization.
Farris had envisioned a “Product Development Fund” that the county could use to join with private-sector partners in developing new industrial parks or so-called “speculative” industrial buildings.
As envisioned by Farris, the fund could have been used to pay for roads, utility service, or other “infrastructure” needed by a company to launch a new operation in the county or to expand an existing one. The fund might also have been used to develop office buildings on a speculative basis, Farris had said.
He has said Greenville County is at a disadvantage in recruiting industry compared to Spartanburg and Anderson counties because those counties have more industrial land fronting or close to Interstate 85.
County officials, however, have decided that such a fund could become a “target” for economic development prospects as they negotiate with the county for perks in exchange for jobs and corporate investment.
The county prefers to handle any potential contribution to the development of industrial property on a case-by-case basis, said Butch Kirven, chairman of County Council and a member of the GADC board.
At the same time, Kirven said, the county encourages Farris to be creative in negotiating with economic development prospects and won’t rule out contributing to the development of industrial property under the right circumstances.
“If you set up an account with money in it, then that’s a target that companies go after,” he said. “So we’re a little more entrepreneurial in our approach here, but we think it’s a better way to go than setting up a specific fund as a target.”
County Administrator Joe Kernell said the county “feels we have a good system in place to deal with issues as they arise.”
The county’s main supply of sites for new factories now is the Augusta Grove industrial park along U.S. 25 in southern Greenville County.
That park was developed by the county in the late 1990s and owned and operated by the county until last year when the remaining 709 undeveloped acres were bought by a joint venture of the county and various private-sector investors, including TPA Group of Atlanta. The county retains a 40 percent stake.
TPA Group and partners are constructing a 331,850-square-foot spec building at Augusta Grove.