The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had negative economic impact but development in The T&D Region continued in 2021.

Premium Peanut

Headlining the year in economic development was Georgia-based Premium Peanut announcing in September it would establish operations in Orangeburg County.

The grower-owned peanut-shelling company said it would invest $64.3 million and create 130 new jobs. Premium Peanut plans to invest $27.5 million in buildings and $36.8 million in equipment over five years.

It will be the state’s first peanut-shelling plant.

The company began shelling peanuts in January 2016, with about 140,000 tons in shelling capacity.

Through investments, efficiencies and growth, the company now has a plant capacity of 300,000 tons, which is about 10% of the U.S. peanut crop.

Premium Peanut’s new facility will provide more capacity and allow South Carolina peanut growers the opportunity to be a part of a cooperative model. This facility will build on the company’s existing model.

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Premium Peanut’s customers consist of the major snack, candy and peanut butter manufacturers domestically, as well as customers in more than 30 countries around the world.

Portions of the new facility are expected to be operational by spring 2022.

BRN Sleep Products

Another major acquisition was Turkish-based BRN Sleep Products, which announced in July its plans to invest about $4.3 million and create more than 300 new jobs in Orangeburg County over the next five years.

BRN Sleep Products is a supplier of online mattresses, box spring beds, covers and ready-made brands.

Orangeburg is the company’s flagship manufacturing plant in the United States.

The company will locate at 3771 Cameron Road (U.S. Highway 33) near Exit 149. It is housed in the former Utica Tool building.

The plant will manufacture a new product line, which will help to increase the company’s capacity to meet growing demand.

The arrival of BRN means Orangeburg County is now home to 29 international companies from 17 foreign countries.

INDEVCO, a world leader in packaging products, announced a $22 million investment and the creation of 50 new jobs with its new 100,000-square-foot facility that is under construction.

The project will be located at 715 Prosperity Drive within the Orangeburg County Industrial Park.

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Its new Orangeburg manufacturing facility will support the petrochemical, lawn and garden and salt markets.

The pre-engineered metal building will house manufacturing, storage, office and lab space.

The facility includes a 20,000-square-foot penthouse area with 63-foot-high ceilings designed to accommodate large manufacturing machinery. The remaining 80,000-square-feet has a 30-foot clear height.

Zeus Industrial Products was in full-scale hiring mode at its Gaston plant and other locations. About 100 new jobs were opening at the plant.

The jobs are being added to meet growing customer demand as the economy opens up following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Zeus jobs – primarily machine operators – pay $20 or more an hour.

U.S. 301 Industrial park/spec building

In late summer, Orangeburg County announced it was planning to build new industrial park at U.S. Highway 301 near the Interstate 26 interchange.

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The county plans to develop the 242-acre park behind the 7-Eleven travel center currently under construction near Exit 154.

The project, which includes about 162 developable acres, is identified as the Shamrock Commerce Center. The park will be served by the City of Orangeburg’s Department of Public Utilities with power, water, gas and sewer.

The industrial park will be anchored by a $25 million speculative building in the park.

The 534,702-square feet speculative building is touted as the largest speculative building built in the Midlands — ever.

The building is completely privately funded.

The speculative building is being developed by Greenville, South Carolina-based Appian Investments, the investment and development arm of real estate brokerage and property management firm NAI Earle Furman.

The building is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2022.

The industrial park is the county’s 11th.

The first project underway in the park is a 6,600-square-foot 7-Eleven. The business is slated to open in the third quarter of 2022. The company broke ground on the project in May. The project promises about 29 new jobs.

This development is the first of a retail corridor being designed as part of an amenity plan for that interchange on Five Chop Road.

Earlier in the year, QuikTrip Corporation cut the ribbon on a new $7 million travel center located near the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park at the interchange.

Santee industrial park

It’s been 13 years since Dubai World, parent company of Jafza International, said it was considering Orangeburg County for a $600-700 million logistics, manufacturing and distribution center.

The year saw movement at the 1,322-acre “South Carolina Gateway Industrial Park,” formerly JAFZA Magna Park, property.

A 125,000-square-foot expandable Class A structure with tilt walls that can be subdivided for smaller users is currently under construction at the park.

The walls of the speculative building were being erected as the year came to a close.

The park’s master plan projects upwards of 6.5 million square feet of building space. About 350 acres are currently available for sale or built-to-suit development.

About 806 acres of the site can be developed.

The site has power through Tri-County Electric Cooperative, natural gas from Dominion, water from the Lake Marion Regional Water System, sewer service from Orangeburg County/Santee, telecommunications through Verizon and Frontier and fire protection from the Santee Fire Service and Orangeburg County Fire Service.

The site also has access to CSX rail.

Power Site

Construction began in the spring on a road at the new, 745-acre Orangeburg County Power Site Industrial Park.

The new park is located on U.S. Highway 21 about 1-1/2 miles south of U.S. Highway 178. It is roughly across the street from The Okonite plant.

The county and city will be partnering on the development of the site.

The roadwork is being funded with a $600,000 site readiness development grant from the S.C. Department of Commerce. There will be no expense to the county for the road project.

The Orangeburg County Development Commission says the site is ideal for heavy manufacturing. Of the 745 acres, about 725 are developable.

A speculative building may be built to make it more attractive to industry.

The S.C. Department of Commerce has designated the industrial park as a certified Palmetto Site, indicating due diligence work is done and the park is ready for future development.

Due diligence work completed at the property includes: a boundary survey, cultural resource identification, protected species assessment, geotechnical work, wetlands delineation and topographical surveys.

The park provides high-volume utility capabilities at the site are the reason it is currently being called a “power site.”

The park is serviced by Orangeburg’s Department of Public Utilities. The park also has Norfolk Southern Rail access.

Other developments

Heating and cooling manufacturer Allied Air Enterprises Inc. announced plans to invest $35.7 million to expand its manufacturing plant and add a new 405,000-square-foot distribution center. Soon the company will have more than 1.4 million square feet of active workspace in the county.

Neeses solar farm Magnolia Solar also announced it would make an additional $46.2 million on equipment and solar panels at its farm in December. There are no new jobs as a result of the investment. $4.99 for the first month

There have also been extensions of new roadways for the Shamrock Commerce Park and the John W. Matthews Industrial Park.

Bamberg County

South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC announced in September it would invest $6.8 million and create 122 new jobs at the former Black Water Barrels plant at 3914 Bamberg Highway in Bamberg County. The company would manufacture barrels for bourbon, fine wines and whiskey industries.

Black Water Barrels announced in November 2019 that it was temporarily closing as part of a restructuring effort. The company never reopened.

The facility is up and operational.

The company touts itself as the only woman-owned cooperage in the state and one of the only woman-owned cooperages in the nation.

Also in Bamberg County, the former Paw Country Club and Bamberg Golf and Sports Club, reopened in December as River Birch Golf Course. The course opened Dec. 7.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative continued its expansion of its broadband infrastructure to all cooperative customers.

The project will bring high-speed service to every Tri-County member in the Santee, Elloree, Vance and Eutawville areas as well as to Calhoun County.

Non-members will also have access if they are within the cooperative’s service area.

The electric cooperative is investing a total of $50 million in its broadband project throughout its coverage area.

The cooperative started the project in December 2020 and expects it to be finished by June 2022.

The cooperative has a total of 18,000 meters and is hoping about 3,000 customers will have service by the end of the year.

The project was ahead of schedule and will be completed in about two years rather than the initially projected three years.

Aiken Electric Cooperative and its subsidiary AECONNECT Inc. also announced its plans to invest $19 million in the placement broadband into currently unserved, rural areas such as Springfield, North, Wolfton and Woodford.

Work will begin on areas around Springfield early next year and then around North during the middle to late part of the year.

There were no new jobs planned for either of the broadband projects.

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