2019 Industry Profiles
By Kathleen Maris
The aerospace industry in the Upstate has seen increased activity and production since this time last year. Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport has started offering direct flights to more and varied locations, including Miami, Tampa, Denver, Orlando, and Las Vegas, through American Airlines and Frontier services. Currently, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, and United offer flights at GSP.
Passenger activity at GSP increased by 10.8% in September 2018 due to the World Equestrian Games, which marked 12 consecutive months of increased traffic. According to the Greenville Area Development Corporation, as of December 2018, GSP’s effect on the Upstate economy has reached nearly $3 billion, with the International Logistics Park cited as one of the key reasons for the increase on impact. This is based on a study of the airport’s influence on Anderson, Greenville, Laurens, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Union.
The Upstate’s aerospace industry has also benefited from ACL Airshop’s construction of a new air cargo products factory in Greenville, which opened in June. The company invested $7.2 million into the project and created approximately 32 new jobs. The new 60,000-square-foot facility is located at Park West Commerce Park and broke ground in August 2018.
And then there is Lockheed Martin, which recently celebrated the unveiling of its new F-16 production line at the S.C. Technology and Aviation Center
So far, four nations have agreed to buy new Greenville-built F-16s: Bahrain, Slovakia, Morocco, and Bulgaria. The deals are valued at several billion dollars. An agreement with Taiwan is currently being discussed.
The logistics industry in South Carolina is growing behind the scenes, with hourly wages in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties increasing by 15% from 2013-2017 in the transportation and warehousing (T&W) business. These counties have also added more than 5,000 new T&W jobs over that same time period, a 31.6% increase.
In Spartanburg County, Inland Port Greer received a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in January 2019 to support its expansion. The project will increase terminal capacity, create more storage and processing tracks with improved rail capacity and efficiency, and expand on-terminal support facilities. The port’s lead track and rail line will be extended to about 15,100 feet.
Multi-Pack has announced plans to grow its Greenville County operations by moving into a 125,000-square-foot facility at the S.C. Technology and Aviation Center. The new operations are expected to be completed by fourth quarter 2019 and create 72 new jobs.
In Anderson County, CM Knight Logistics recently acquired LaFrance Industries for $7.7 million and rebranded it as Anderson Industrial & Logistics Pointe. The 405,000-square-foot facility has approximately 288,000 square feet available for lease.
The construction industry has been hard at work building and renovating spaces for numerous companies moving and expanding into the Upstate, as well as developing plans for a new police headquarters, County Square, and affordable housing in Greenville. For the affordable housing project, the City of Greenville has committed to $5.5 million over the next five years to the Greenville Housing Fund.
The Upstate as a whole has seen population growth, leading to an increase in property value and revenue. In the City of Greenville, this has led to an estimated surplus of cash in the city’s reserve fund for fiscal year 2019-2020, according to Interim Assistant City Manager Matt Efird.
Greenville County has also seen the continued construction of the Camperdown project downtown at South Main and East Broad street, spearheaded by Centennial American Properties. The project is scheduled to open in the first half of 2020. Falls Tower broke ground in March and will feature seven floors of office space, one floor of conference space, 18 luxury condominium units, and 33,321 square feet of retail/restaurant space.
Spartanburg County is currently experiencing a housing boom, with western and northern Spartanburg along Highway 101 and Interstate 85 having the most growth. The county grew by 7.9% from 2010 to 2017 and officials anticipate another 25,000 residents by 2030.
With the relocation and expansion of businesses and people into the Upstate, tourism in the region has increased, especially in Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Spartanburg, in particular, has been working to make itself a destination instead of a stopover with projects such as Keep OneSpartanburg Beautiful, which launched in November 2018 and promotes and educates about environmental cleanliness, and the addition of two ADA-compliant access points to the Tyger River at Tygerberry Landing and Lake Cooley Park.
Spartanburg County is also building more hotels to encourage and accommodate more tourism. The county has six hotels that were either built in the past year or will be completed by the end of 2019, which, combined, will increase the guest room number by about 23% over a two-year period. A Cambria hotel is slated to open by the end of 2020.
Anderson County has announced plans for a Home2 Suites by Hilton to be built downtown. The $12 million hotel, developed by Paragon and Steve Timmons of Greenville, will include 87 rooms, meeting space, and retail spaces. Construction will begin in December 2019 and be completed by the end of 2020.
In January, a new Auro Hotels property opened in downtown Greenville. The property features 286 rooms and a restaurant and bar called Oak & Honey. In April, hoteliers broke ground on the boutique hotel Grand Bohemian Hotel Greenville, which will be completed in late 2020. Meanwhile, construction has begun on a Hampton Inn in downtown Greer’s dining and retail destination, Greer Station.
The advanced manufacturing industry has been bustling with activity throughout the Upstate. Announced in March, 3M has planned $60 million in capital investment over the next five years in a move to expand its operations in Greenville County. Also in Greenville, Lucideon M+P has announced plans to invest $7.5 million to grow its operations, which will create approximately 28 new jobs.
IPSUM Technologies plans to launch new production operations in Pickens County. The company will invest $19.2 million and create approximately 55 new jobs. U.S. Waffle Company also plans to launch new operations in Pickens, investing $22.1 million and creating approximately 114 new jobs.
Minnesota-based Horton Holding Inc., which provides engine-cooling solutions, is planning an expansion into Oconee County, creating 125 new jobs. The 1000,000-square-foot facility will be completed in early 2020 and be located in the Oconee Industry and Technology Park.
CeramTec North America is expanding its existing Laurens County facility once again, adding a $20 million investment to its previous $79 million and 14 new jobs to its previous 210. On the other end of the spectrum, BDS Technologies, LLC is developing its first manufacturing operation in the county; it will be completed by the end of 2019 and create 44 new jobs.
In addition to its growth and expansion, the Upstate’s healthcare industry has received a number of research grants. Clemson University received a $4.1 million grant for heart research in February, which provides funding for finding treatments for various cardiovascular diseases and illnesses. Also in February, the Greenwood Genetic Center received a one-year grant of $54,000 for rare disease research from the Million Dollar Bike Ride program.
Sharpen, in partnership with the United Way of Piedmont, has launched a web-based content and social media platform called SharpenFAMILY to provide mental health and wellness education resources and support. This is meant to be especially helpful to foster families and children.
Greenville-based Blood Connection began serving Roper St. Francis Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, and Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital in January. This has made it the exclusive blood provider for the entire Upstate and a portion of North Carolina.
In January 2019, Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health began to operate under the new brand Prisma Health, reflecting how the two health systems have blended into a single entity since becoming affiliates of S.C. Health Co. in November 2017. Prisma Health is headquartered in Greenville and continues to operate hospitals throughout the Upstate and Midlands.
Despite worries caused by President Trump’s proposed tariffs on automobiles imported from Europe, Japan, and other countries (the decision will be postponed for six months, he announced in May), the automotive industry in the Upstate has stayed strong. In December 2018, Germany-based DRÄXLMAIER completed the expansion of its existing manufacturing operations in Spartanburg County, investing $42.7 million and creating 460 new jobs. Around the same time, Czechia-based KV Final announced plans to locate new operations in Spartanburg, investing $2.5 million during its first phase of operation. The 32,000-square-foot facility opened in first quarter 2019 and is now hiring.
In December 2018, Bosch announced plans to invest $45 million to expand its existing operations in Anderson County through the purchase of an adjacent property. The expansion will include new manufacturing capabilities for its Mobility Solutions business sector in North America.
Fuyao North America announced in January that it is launching an automotive glass processing center in Greenville County. It is investing $16.1 million into a new 182,000-square-foot facility and will create approximately 70 jobs. In February, valantic SCE (USA) Inc. announced plans to locate new operations in Greenville and create at least 15 jobs.
The IT industry in the Upstate has been steadily expanding, with multiple companies receiving investments and others growing current operations. Atlanta-based BIP Capital recently announced that it will be establishing an office at NEXT on Main in downtown Greenville. The company also announced a large capital investment in ChartSpan, which, after the investments of four other firms, will receive $15 million. ChartSpan will continue to grow its presence and add hundreds of jobs to the Greenville area.
Summerville-based SCRA has invested in various Upstate companies through its program SC Launch, Inc. The most recent companies, announced in April and May, are Clemson-based Recovr and Greenville-based 6AM City and Zylö Therapeutics. SC Launch, Inc. has also accepted DeSol Power Tiles, MIPY, and Surcee to its program.
SYNNEX, which has a location in Greenville, recently announced a series of new offerings through its Westcon Americas division, including a cybersecurity program management tool, an expanded Network Operations Center (NOC) offering, and comprehensive security management support. The company has also rebranded its CloudSolv marketplace into Stellr, which removes barriers in connectivity and develops solutions concerning cloud, mobility, and IoT.