Next stop is Nexton for the South Carolina Research Authority.

The state-chartered agency last week said it has finalized the purchase about 9 acres in Summerville for its new Lowcountry headquarters.

It paid $2.27 million for the land, or $252,000 an acre, Berkeley County property records show.

The site is within MeadWestvaco Corp.’s emerging Nexton mixed-use development near U.S. Interstate 26 and Highway 17A.

The Research Authority helps commercialize technology and runs tech-centric business incubators around the state, including one it developed with the Medical University of South Caorlina on upper Meeting Street on the Charleston penisula. It also oversees a investment fund, SC Launch, that targets promising young companies within the Palmetto State.

The agency began seeking new coastal digs early this year, after selling its current home on International Boulevard for $23.35 million to neighboring Boeing Co.

It picked Nexton as the site of its new “Applied Research Center” in April when the authority signed a deal to buy the land. It said last week that the Summerville location was “by far” the best alternative.

The new office building will house the agency’s local operations, including its research and development units, and the majority of its 185 employees. The structure cannot exceed 100,000 square feet, according to Nexton’s development agreement. Completion is scheduled for October 2014.

“As we complete our 30th year of operations, SCRA continues to grind through new milestones of growth and change by opportunistically capitalizing on an expanded future,” said CEO Bill Mahoney. “Our new Nexton location and facility ... will advance our capabilities, both in growing our core R&D business, and expanding the knowledge economy in South Carolina.”

No love lost

Organized labor plans to be on hand when Gov. Nikki Haley announces her re-election today in Greenville with three other Republican governors by her side.

Safe to say, the South Carolina AFL-CIO won’t be there to show its support.

The union said last week it’s helping to organize a demonstration of the 4 p.m. event at the Bi-Lo Center, where Haley will be joined by Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. The union contends, among other things, that they have only represented corporate interests. To boot, Haley is staunchly anti-union, said Rob Groce of the S.C. AFL-CIO.

“Haley’s negative stance on unions is well known. She’s declared herself to be a ‘union buster,’ refers to union members as ‘thugs,’ and has signed laws that make union development more difficult in South Carolina,” he said in statement.

Indeed, last week, Haley blasted unions during a speech at Wal-Mart’s well-attended “Made in America” manufacturing summit, saying on a YouTube clip that she fights to keep them out of South Carolina.

“I wear heels, and it’s not for a fashion statement,” she said. “It’s because we kick, and we kick those unions hard. And they will not step foot into the state of South Carolina.”

Wired for growth

The InterTech Group Inc. has added a cable manufacturer from the Old Dominion to its mix of publicly disclosed stock investments.

The North Charleston-based conglomerate said it has acquired 321,453 shares in the small Virginia company through a trust controlled by CEO Anita Zucker. That’s a break from most of the equity investments the privately held company has disclosed in recent years — those have been concentrated in the energy industry.

InterTech paid $1.33 million between June and Aug. 2 to amass its position in Optical Cable Corp. The purchases pushed its ownership in the thinly traded, Nasdaq-listed stock just beyond the 5 percent mark. That required it to report the investment to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Roanoke, Va.-based Optical Cable makes fiber-optic and copper cable products with uses ranging from homes to data centers. It had sales of $36 million through the first half of its fiscal year, which starts in November.

In typical fashion, InterTech said it bought the shares for general investment purposes and that it will continue to review the company’s performance while leaving all options open.

Robert Johnston, InterTech’s chief strategy officer, called the deal “pretty straightforward,” saying Optical Cable has good growth prospects and throws off a decent dividend.

The stock closed at $4.15 Friday, which was the average per-share price InterTech paid.

Texas bound

Last fall, the destination was Nashville. This autumn, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Metro Leadership expedition heads farther west, to the heart of Texas.

The annual road trip will focus on San Antonio from Oct. 8-11. The chamber said the idea is to have a group of the region’s public and private-sector leaders parachute in on another successful metro area for a few days “and explore innovative ideas and programs which have helped the host community become a top global competitor.”

San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the nation and home to the Alamo. The chamber trip will focus on its: education and Talent; innovation and entrepreneurs; community visioning; River Walk San Antonio; the local military; and the Texas city’s bike share program. The cost is $2,250.


AT&T called to tout its investment across South Carolina.

The Dallas-based telecommunications giant said last week it had invested nearly $140 million in its wireless and wired networks in the state in the first six months of 2013. A spokesman did not have a figure for the Charleston region for that period, but over the past three years, AT&T said it’s spent nearly $130 million in the local wireless and hard-wired networks.