Pence Latin America

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Organization of American States, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

COLUMBIA — Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Columbia on Thursday to visit a new movie theater in an low-income area where developers can get tax breaks through a program pushed by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Scott is expected to join Pence in a visit to the Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8 near Columbia Place Mall, which has lost three of its four anchor stores in recent years, according to Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. 

The Meeting Place Church of Greater Columbia owns the 23-acre site that includes the theater that opened last month. The church bought the site for nearly $1.5 million in 2017, a decade after it was sold for $4.2 million, with plans to spark revitalization in the area near Two Notch Road northeast of downtown. 

Bishop Eric Freeman, who founded the church, is hosting the vice president and the senator, a Republican from North Charleston.

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Scott's office has not released details other than confirming Pence's visit, which was reported first by The State newspaper. Pence last visited South Carolina in June to headline a rally in Conway for Gov. Henry McMaster during the Republican governor primary runoff.

Pence's visit is highlighting Opportunity Zones, which are designated tracts where developers can get federal tax breaks for investing in low-income areas. South Carolina has more than 120 tracts in economically-distressed areas eligible for the tax breaks. 

Benjamin said he cannot attend because of a meeting with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which he leads. McMaster also is not attending because of a previous commitment to go to an automotive summit in Greenville, his office said.

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Andy Shain runs The Post and Courier's team based in South Carolina's capital city. He was editor of Free Times and has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.

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