New vehicle-armoring factory opens in North Charleston
A new vehicle-armoring factory will officially open in North Charleston this afternoon.
Streit USA Armoring’s 70,000-square-foot facility sits on eight acres along Palmetto Commerce Parkway, continuing the growth on that burgeoning industrial corridor.
Streit built its new home after occupying a 30,000-square-foot leased space on Fain Street since 2007. Whereas the company bullet-proofed about 125 vehicles a year on a single production line at the Fain Street facility, the new factory will have two production lines and perhaps double the workforce.
The $5.8 million plant, Streit’s only factory in the U.S., won an incentive package from Charleston County Council, a 20-year agreement that allows the company to pay a 6 percent fee each year instead of property taxes.
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the 2 p.m. ribbon-cutting event.
Streit’s vehicles are built to take fire from all sides and angles. Even the battery and control module under the hood are surrounded by steel plates, to prevent a bullet from disabling the vehicle.
Used for transporting federal dignitaries, corporate executives and other VIPs, the fully armored vehicles, which can range from big vans to Bentleys, retain the look and feel of the original models, down to the decorative trim, so as not to draw special attention.
The mostly high-dollar vehicles come fresh from dealerships. They are disassembled — doors off, windows out, dashboard detached, flooring removed, wiring disconnected, everything gone — down to the frame, except for what is under the hood.
Then, carefully cut steel plates of all shapes and sizes are meticulously attached to the doors, frames, tops and bottoms of the vehicles, along with bullet-resistant glass before the vehicles are reassembled and shipped.
A company spokesman has said Streit chose to expand in Charleston rather than moving somewhere else in part because the port allows them to ship in parts and ship out finished products.
While the federal government buys most of the armor-plated vehicles, ranging in cost from $110,000 to $180,000, the city of Charleston is also a customer, buying an outfitted Sprinter van for its SWAT team.
Read more later on postandcourier.com and in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.