Industrial sites and parks, which are large areas of land developed for industrial purposes, have had a major impact on South Carolina’s economy for years. After World War II, there was a concerted effort to attract more diverse industries to the state to provide jobs for returning veterans. Some may remember the State Development Board – the predecessor to what we currently know as the Department of Commerce. Part of their long-term mission was and is to assist communities prepare for industrial investment and the resulting job creation. Historically, as a state, we have been identifying and developing industry-ready properties for many decades, but the process has evolved.
In the early days, this type of development moved much slower than it does today. There was ample time to identify a suitable piece of land for an industrial site, survey the land, and if utilities weren’t there, providers and developers had plenty of time to get them there. Sadly, that’s not the case today. We move fast and so do our projects. In today’s world, manufacturing companies have to avoid risks associated with moving or opening an entirely new facility. Risks are usually in the categories of time and budget.
It’s easy to assume that a large area of land would make a great industrial site, but that’s not always the case. There are many factors that must be weighed, but two to consider when identifying an industrial site include:
1. Identify an existing site where operations have closed and repurpose the land. One benefit is that the required utilities typically are already in place. A challenge generally lies in existing environmental issues from previous operations that need to be mitigated.
2. Identify property that has been undeveloped that would be suitable for industrial development. For undeveloped property, there are many important factors to consider, including if utilities exist on the site or if they need to be brought in. If it’s the latter, that adds risk in both time and money. Not only is there a large cost involved in bringing in water, power, etc. to a site, but it takes more time due to coordination with various utility providers.
While there are many more details that go into developing an industrial site, these keys items are crucial in the beginning of the process and so is having the right team in place from the beginning to help evaluate the viability of a site. It’s important to work with a consulting engineer that understands not only land development, but also utilities, regulatory agencies, transportation, environmental issues, etc. At Davis & Floyd, our experienced industrial team has assisted in the development of sites and parks throughout the state and stands ready to help in the development process from start to finish.