Winding Woods Commerce Park in St. George, dubbed a key piece for economic growth in Dorchester County, has been without tenants.
Officials are now hoping the space will be more enticing to prospective employers following next year’s completion of a multi-million-dollar project adding sewer and water lines to the 610-acre space near interstates 95 and 26.
Crews broke ground on the $3.6 million sewer project Monday. The project is planned to be completed by March, and ideally a sea of tenants would follow within the next 24 months, said Jon Baggett, the county’s economic development director.
“The infrastructure has been keeping us from luring them,” Baggett said. “You can’t just show a field. You have to show sewer lines and that the infrastructure is fully in place for projects these days.”
Officials have been advertising the space in various trade publications since the S.C. Department of Commerce certified the site as ready to go in 2009.
The state’s label verifies sewer, telecommunications, transportation and other critical infrastructure are in place for immediate development.
There’s been some interest from companies in past years, but nothing has come to fruition, Baggett added.
The commerce park could be divided into 20- to 50-acre spaces, ideal for industries such as manufacturers and distributors due to its close proximity to rails and major roadways, officials said.
The water project is partly funded by a $2.1 million loan from state-owned utility Santee Cooper, $1 million from Dorchester County’s economic development fund and $500,000 from water and sewer impact fees.
Local officials said the project could fast-forward job creation in the county.
“With infrastructure now being added to the site, the final piece of the puzzle is in place to attract industry to create more jobs for our citizens,” state Rep. Patsy Knight, a St. George Democrat who represents Dorchester County, said in a statement. “Today is a sign that good things are in store for Dorchester County.”