What SC owns: Building space for 30 Empire States

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on July 11, 2014 

  • State agencies with the most buildings

    The department overseeing 47 state parks tops the list, followed by a transportation agency that maintains the nation’s fourth-largest system of state roads.

    Agency Number of buildings % of all buildings
    Parks, Recreation and Tourism1,35517.3%
    Transportation99612.7%
    Clemson University7549.6%
    Corrections7409.5%
    Adjutant General3774.8%

    Source: Staff research of S.C. Budget and Control Board data

  • Largest state-owned buildings

    Two arenas that are two blocks apart in Columbia rank among the five largest state-owned buildings and only one is outside the capital city. (Note: Rankings excludes parking garages and stadiums.)

    Building Square feet
    Carolina Coliseum (USC)412,606
    Columbia Mills building (State Museum)391,070
    Close-Hipp Building (USC)340,978
    Basic Science Building (MUSC)332,696
    Colonial Life Arena (USC)329,008

    Source: Staff research of S.C. Budget and Control Board data

  • Most frequent state building uses

    Based on building descriptions, storage came up most common. Nearly one of 10 state buildings is prison-related.

    Use Number of buildings % of all buildings
    Storage98312.6%
    Office7189.2%
    Prison7169.2%
    Recreation6167.9%
    Residence/Housing6157.9%

    Source: Staff research of S.C. Budget and Control Board data

  • Counties with most state buildings and properties

    Richland County is no surprise at the top as the state capital, but Pickens County in the northwest corner of the state makes the list for Clemson University and large tracts of wildlife management areas and nature preserves:

    County Number of buildings/parcels % of total
    Richland1,60315.5%
    Charleston1,04710.1%
    Pickens6476.3%
    Spartanburg4634.5%
    York3803.7%

    Source: Staff research of S.C. Budget and Control Board data

  • Largest percentage of state-owned land

    With nature preserves, wildlife management areas and state parks, Pickens, Marion and Chesterfield counties had the largest portions of their land owned by the state.

    County % of state-owned acres
    Pickens15.0%
    Marion12.0%
    Chesterfield10.8%
    Beaufort8.1%
    Sumter7.7%

    Source: Staff research of S.C. Budget and Control Board data

  • Biggest state-owned land parcels

    State forests and wildlife-management area comprise the top-five list. The first non-forested area on the list is Lee Regional Detention Center in Sumter County, which ranked 42nd.

    Use County Acres
    State forestChesterfield45,303
    Wildlife-management areaMarion25,668
    State forestSumter16,945
    Wildlife-management areaCharleston15,288
    Wildlife-management areaHampton13,280

    Source: Staff research of S.C. Budget and Control Board data

The state of South Carolina owns a mansion, several stadiums and arenas, enough forested land to cover about half of Rhode Island and a bunch of buildings to store stuff, train workers and hold prisoners.

But until recently, South Carolina did not have a complete list of state-owned buildings and property. The list of 7,815 buildings and 2,525 parcels was finished this month and posted online by the State Budget and Control Board at the urging of Gov. Nikki Haley.

The state owns enough building square footage to fill 30 Empire State Buildings and enough land to easily cover Richland County, according to analysis of the property data.

Haley issued an executive order in October requesting the state’s 107 agencies report what they held to see if they could find any excess property to sell.

“It's time to simplify the books, it's time to clean it up,” Haley said after signing the order.

South Carolina sold three properties over the past year and currently has another 47 listed for sale, including some that have been on the market for a decade, according to the Budget and Control Board.

The state will seek bids soon for a contractor to develop tools for agencies to determine property needs, Budget and Control Board director Marcia Adams said. The contractor also could help manage South Carolina’s real estate portfolio. The complete assessment of state-owned property could take about two years, she said.

“We’re looking at, ‘Do we need all this space?’ ” Adams said. “We want to make sure we’re all looking at real estate the same way.”

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