Winding Wood Industrial Center Achieves Status as First Certified Site in the Charleston Region

Summerville, South Carolina

February 10, 2009 - Dorchester County has announced the Tri-county Region's first certified industrial site, located near the intersection of I-95 and I-26 and adjacent to the Town of St. George. The 610-acre site, called Winding Wood Industrial Center, will accommodate manufacturing, distribution and other operations requiring large tracts of land. Depending on individual project requirements, the site can be subdivided into lots ranging from 20 to 50 acres.

Dorchester County Council Chairman, Jamie Feltner, a long time advocate of site development, welcomed the completion of the site certification process. "With this certified site, Dorchester County can take full advantage of our most significant business asset: the intersection of I-95 and I-26. We've not had that opportunity until now," he said.

According to Jon Baggett, Dorchester County's Economic Development Director, the county pursued the certified site designation to meet the demand for port-served industrial sites near the I-95 corridor and to address the need for job opportunities in upper Dorchester County.

"In today's competitive business environment, companies need to be up and running as quickly as possible," he said. "This certification offers companies requiring both port and interstate access a low risk option to help them make a fast decision. It also provides Dorchester County a competitive advantage in attracting quality jobs and investment for local residents, especially in the upper part of the county."

Winding Wood Industrial Center is one of 68 certified sites in South Carolina. The state's certified site designation applies to industrial sites that have been analyzed to assure no major development issues exist, as determined by the S.C. Department of Commerce. The certification process typically includes verification of the property's ownership and availability, documentation of supporting infrastructure, an environmental assessment, surveys for cultural and protected resources, seismic classification and other critical analysis.

The process usually takes three to nine months to complete, and provides documentation that the property is fully served by water, sewer, telecommunications, transportation and other critical infrastructure and is ready for development.

County Council Vice Chairman, Willie Davis, who represents upper Dorchester County’s District 1, provided his perspective: "Residents in the upper part of the county are eager for good paying job opportunities closer to home. This industrial center is a welcome development and is coming at a very good time. When the economy turns and companies start investing in new manufacturing plants, we'll be able to accommodate them immediately."

The Winding Wood Industrial Center will complement the new St. George QuickJobs Center, which is scheduled to open in 2010. This collaboration between Dorchester County and Trident Technical College will provide 60- to 90-day training programs for manufacturing, distribution and other operations requiring specialized skills. The Center is located less than one mile from Winding Wood.

"Today marks an important step forward for both Dorchester County and the Town of St. George," said the Mayor of St. George, Anne Johnston. "With both the new job training center and the certified industrial site, our town is in a prime position to benefit from new economic development opportunities. We're thrilled with both of these new developments."

To certify the site, Dorchester County partnered with the South Carolina Power Team, the economic development alliance of Santee Cooper and the state's 20 electric cooperatives. The Charleston Regional Development Alliance, which promotes the three-county region for new business investment, facilitated a matching state grant to help fund the certification. Engineering firm, BP Barber out of Columbia, SC, conducted the site certification.