Lexington County is adding a $5.9 million structure to its package of incentives to offer to firms that promise to bring in hundreds of new jobs.
County Council gave initial approval Tuesday to building the 120,000-square-foot structure in an industrial area south of Cayce that is best known as the local home of online retailer Amazon.
“You’ve got to have product to be competitive,” county economic development director Chuck Whipple said.
The move comes as some commercial development advisers say the Midlands has diminished its supply of move-in ready commercial buildings. The new building, they say, will give the Midlands an advantage in courting manufacturers and warehouses.
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“There’s huge demand out there for this, but nothing like it is available in the Columbia market,” said Julian Wilson, a broker with Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler.
His company is starting to promote a 250-acre addition to the industrial area near I-26 and I-77.
County leaders are putting up the facility without guarantee a company will move in, but are confident it will attract a buyer. Private developers have agreed to purchase the structure should it remain empty for four months after it is built, officials said.
“There’s really no risk for us,” Council chairman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said.
Final approval for the building could come as soon as late March. Plans call for construction of the facility to start this summer and be completed next spring. The facility would be left unfinished inside so a company can customize the building for its use.
It will be a few blocks south of the Amazon distribution center.
The building would be offered on top of other incentives such as property tax breaks and free land that the county typically gives to companies that bring many jobs.
Having a pre-built facility shaves up to 10 months off preparation time for companies eager to start, Wilson said.
“If they build it, they will come,” he predicted.