Ground was officially broken Tuesday morning for a 497,000-square-foot speculative building located in an industrial park at the Lexington-Calhoun County line.

The cross-dock speculative industrial facility is being built at the Sandy Run Industrial Park. It is the 761-acre park’s first speculative building.

The building is expandable to 663,000 square feet and is touted by project officials as the largest expandable spec building ever to be constructed in the market.

Those officials gathered together on Wednesday morning, along Calhoun County officials and other members of the surrounding community, for a groundbreaking ceremony at the park.

Columbia-based Red Rock Developments and NAI Columbia announced in April 2020 that they were developing the Sandy Run Industrial Park. Other investors include Calhoun Land Investors and Alliance Consulting Engineering.

Calhoun County is providing Red Rock Developments with the fee-in-lieu of taxes incentive to develop the spec building at the park. The building will be paid for entirely with private dollars.

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“This building meets all of the modern-day requirements for logistics and light manufacturing users,” Red Rock Developments Chief Executive Officer William C. Smith Jr. said Tuesday.

Smith said the site was chosen for several reasons.

“First and foremost, it’s in a great laborshed in central South Carolina, and the citizens here show a strong work ethic in this community. That’s vital in what we do as a company and where we locate buildings,” he said.

Smith said the area’s pro-business community, its close proximity to the Port of Charleston and its location near where Interstates 26, 77 and 20 intersect were all factors which helped him make the decision to locate in the industrial park with the “$35 to $40 million investment.”

The industrial park is located off U.S. Highway 21 near the DAK Americas property. It’s also located near I-26’s Exit 119.

The industrial park is already home to Zeus Industries’ 148,000-square-foot plant. About 580 acres of the park can be developed.

Smith said, “Calhoun Land Investors, which is the park ownership group which Red Rock is a part of, donated 21 acres in the park to Calhoun County so that the county could construct a new fire station on Lot 9.

“We made that donation for the community. So that’s just an example of what we do when we go into communities and give back to the communities.”

Smith said he looks forward to the spec building being the first of many buildings developed in the industrial park.

“As you can tell by the master plan, we can develop approximately six million square feet of this park, which is quite a capital investment for the county here. So we’re excited that this will be the first of many,” he said.

Calhoun County Administrator John McLauchlin Jr. who is also the county’s economic development director, said Red Rock Developments’ investment in the park will create the jobs the community needs.

“We’ve got a very strong workforce in Calhoun County. A lot of folks are underemployed to a certain degree. So these type of projects really mean a lot. Not only did they invest in the 800-plus acres out here, but they’re making true to their word … to ultimately help our workforce. It’s all about the jobs for us,” he said.

McLauchlin continued, “I also want to thank Zeus, our anchor tenant, for coming in, starting in an 800-acre field and ultimately starting the process here and then Bill coming in. We really hope there’s more to come from both Zeus as well as the other partners here.”

McLauchlin said the timing and size of the project was also optimal.

“This is at a time when the industrial vacancy rate is at an all-time low, which is 3.1 percent. Everybody needs product. Every county, whether you touch the interstate or not, you need product. It’s definitely there to be had as far as being able to sell or lease,” he said.

McLauchlin also thanked Lexington County for its partnership in the park.

“A small part of this is in Lexington County. We’ve got a multi-county industrial park partnership with them, but we feel like with what Red Rock has done, with what investors have invested in, and what the state (and) county has invested in, we’re ready for the future,” McLauchlin said.

He said Red Rock’s investment also helped to keep Calhoun County’s tax structure low.

“We are proud of the fact that, on average, our taxes are 36 percent less than our adjoining neighbors. These types of investments are what we need to maintain that tax structure. So I want to thank you. All we can hope for is bringing more,” McLauchlin said.

Calhoun County District 3 Councilman John Nelson said he appreciated Red Rock’s commitment to preserving the character of the local community and how the project will enhance economic development.

“We’re glad to share that because we’re right up here between Richland and Lexington and Orangeburg counties. Thousands of those people come through and benefit as well. So we’re glad for that throughout. … We just really want to continue to support the efforts,” Nelson said.

Dr. Walt Tobin, president of Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, said he was also pleased at the development and what it means for his students.

“We are responsive to the needs of our community. So that means providing our students with the skills to be able to begin good careers and good jobs and earn good salaries, but at the same time contributing to the economic development by meeting the needs of our local employers,” Tobin said.

“I think this just furthers our mission in that dual capacity to meet both of those needs. We’re just excited about what’s happening in this part of the state and certainly Calhoun County. It’s good for everybody,” he said.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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