Richland County leaders are working to lure an industrial project worth several hundred million dollars in exchange for tax credits.
An unidentified company is considering Richland County’s Interstate 77 corridor for a project that would invest a minimum of $400 million in exchange for at least 30 years’ worth of tax reductions, according to a proposal being considered by the county council.
If it decides to locate in the county, the company’s property would be assessed for tax purposes at a 4 percent rate – a cut from the state’s 10.5 percent industrial assessment rate – with an additional 40 percent cut on top of the lowered assessment. The company’s tax rate also would be frozen.
It is not clear if the project — called Project Oro — is related to an aluminum foundry being considered in Blythewood, which The State newspaper reported on last week.
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Linamar, a Canadian-based corporation, is considering development of a 300-job aluminum foundry and automotive components plant off Interstate 77 near Westwood High School. Linamar’s chief operating officer, Jim Jarrell, said the investment would be more than $100 million if the company decides to locate in Richland County.
The company also is considering a site near Asheville, N.C.
Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush and Councilman Paul Livingston, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, both were tight-lipped about the nature of Project Oro, citing a nondisclosure agreement. They would not say whether the Linamar project is related to Project Oro.
Livingston said it is important for the county to pursue ventures such as Project Oro and other industrial development because “attracting jobs is the bottom line.”
Tax incentives such as the ones being offered for Project Oro are common and necessary in South Carolina, said Jeff Ruble, the county’s economic development director. Incentives are particularly important given the state’s industrial property taxes, which are high when compared to neighboring states, Ruble said.
“Industry is mobile, and it’s a competitive environment, so we have to offer incentives to be competitive,” Ruble said.
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.