SANTEE - Although the project hasn't been as visible as it was in the past, Jafza America says its plans to build a large logistics park in Santee are still alive and well.
"We have always said the Santee project is market driven and we firmly believe it will be successful," Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson said. "The first quarter of 2010 has passed and the global economic crisis is not over, which has obvious implications on the entire market's original plans."
Robertson says about 125 acres have been cleared as part of Phase 1 of the project. It includes about four plots, which total about 385 acres of the 1,322 acres of Jafza Magna Park-Santee.
The park will primarily be developed near Hannah Drive, Knowles Street, Intercoastal and LTD Road. These will all be temporary access points to the property.
"Plots here are being made available to clients," Robertson said
Despite the continued economic challenges, the scope of the project has not changed, she said. "The project will be built out in phases, as we are able to close lease deals on facilities."
"These plots are easily accessible to current infrastructure located near the site," Robertson continued. "We are offering build-to-suit warehouses and light manufacturing facilities of any size on a leasehold or freehold basis to suit customer needs."
Robertson says there is no turning back now.
"We are as confident in Orangeburg County today as we were in 2007 when Jafza purchased the 1,300 acres in Santee," she said. "It's the right location for business growth and for the additional volume expected at the completion of the Panama Canal's expansion in 2014."
Robertson says the activity level during six months of marketing "has been steady."
"We have several proposals that are being strongly considered by prospective clients," she said. "We hope this activity will continue to increase now that our site certification application is approved."
Jafza received level-four site certification from the S.C. Department of Commerce in late May. Level-four certification means archeological, geotechnical, endangered species, wetlands delineation and needed engineering work have been completed at a site.
On average, about one or two companies a month have expressed interest in the site.
"We are moving forward every day," Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said. "I have talks with Jafza on a daily basis and we are moving forward on a number of projects. It has not stopped. It has not gone away."
Groundbreaking for phase 1a, which was initially scheduled for the first quarter of 2010, is now set for the fourth quarter of this year, Robinson said.
Phase 1a will focus on warehousing and distribution.
Businesses from the aviation, automotive and assembly sectors have shown an interest in the property, Robinson said.
"Due to the global economy and national economy, things have gone slower than anyone anticipated," Robinson said. "We are cautiously optimistic about the economy."
The OCDC is actively working on 20 projects related to Jafza, he said. About 10 of them are thought to be "seriously" looking at Orangeburg and Jafza.
Prospects would most likely bring between 100 to 200 jobs, or perhaps as many as 500.
Jafza believes that by 2020, its project could generate about 50,000 daily traffic trips with about 60 percent of the traffic using the interstates and the adjacent Interstate 95-U.S. 301 interchange.
Officials have said there is a need to upgrade the interchange. About $15 million in federal, state and local funds have been set aside for its development. The project is expected to cost between $25 million and $60 million.
Contact the writer: email@example.com or 803-533-5551.