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Here’s who’s bringing 200 more jobs to Columbia’s BullStreet district

First Look: Nearly half million dollar townhouse at BullStreet

TownPark at BullStreet are the first townhouses being built on the development. They are four floors and feature an elevator.
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TownPark at BullStreet are the first townhouses being built on the development. They are four floors and feature an elevator.

A global technology company is bringing at least 200 new jobs to Columbia’s BullStreet district.

It’s the biggest boon of tech jobs in the capital city in a decade, the state Department of Commerce says. And it could be a catalyst for the still-sparse but slowly growing BullStreet community downtown.

Capgemini, a Paris-headquartered digital consulting firm, plans to hire 200 employees in Columbia during the next nine months. About 50 of those positions already have been filled.

“These are really good jobs, the types of jobs that every city in the world wants to attract,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “The best way to keep talent here in the Midlands is, obviously, to have the types of jobs that people want to have here.”

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The new jobs are expected to pay 50 percent more than the average hourly earnings in Columbia and nearly double the average manufacturing production wages in South Carolina, which hover in the low $30,000 range.

They’ll join the roughly 130 Capgemini employees already working at the company’s Advanced Technology Development Center at BullStreet’s First Base Building beside Spirit Communications Park.

Capgemini’s clients include companies such as NBC Universal, Mercedes-Benz, Johnson & Johnson and General Electric. The BullStreet jobs will blend technology and business know-how to help those clients grow their businesses and connect with their customers using innovative tech solutions.

Capgemini first came to Columbia in 2017 when it bought TCube Solutions, an insurance technology firm that was founded in Columbia by Sam McGuckin through the USC-Columbia Technology Incubator program.

Columbia’s size and the University of South Carolina were among the factors driving Capgemini’s decision to bring the jobs here, said John Mullen, the company’s North American CEO.

“We surveyed the entire country, and we knew we wanted to be in an area in a city where there was a fast-growing and extremely vibrant university,” Mullen said.

Capgemini plans to partner with the university to help educate students entering the advanced technology workforce — and not just the ones who will be future Capgemini employees, Mullen said. One of their goals is to “develop a massive talent pool” coming out of Columbia, he added.

Jobs like these — and others coming out of tech-driven companies such as IBM and Siemens — have the potential to keep talented college students in town and grow the city’s “knowledge economy,” said Bill Kirkland, director of USC’s office of economic engagement.

“We graduate, what, 8,000 kids a year, and they’re all high-quality students looking for jobs. That is a nice stable of talent,” Kirkland said. “So someone graduates from here, and they go five blocks down the road, and they’re making $65,000 to start. It’s good for the community, it’s good for taxes and houses and hotels and retail. That’s money going back into the economy. But the other side is it’s keeping kids here.”

The new Capgemini jobs will almost double the full-time working population at BullStreet. Along with Capgemini, BullStreet is home to Ogletree Deakins law firm, Founders Federal Credit Union, SOCO coworking space and Bone-In Barbeque. The development’s first residences — 28 townhouses and an active seniors community — are under construction, as is a public park.

The 181-acre development has yet to welcome any retail offerings, as many have hoped to see. But city leaders continue to keep the long-game in mind.

“The investment in BullStreet is paying off,” Benjamin said. “This has always been a 20-year plan. And people will still want to see the retail development. ... But the reality is, if you’re going to build a strong, healthy, prosperous city, you have to have good, high-paying jobs.”

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