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Orangeburg City Council has approved the purchase of a building for an aviation industry supplier locating in the area.

The agreement approved Tuesday involves the purchase of a speculative building at the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park for $5.2 million. Attorney Jimmy Walsh told council closing on the structure was supposed to take place within the last two weeks.

"Originally, we were going to have a simultaneous closing with (building developer) Miller-Valentine," Walsh said. "Right afterwards we would convey the building to GKN."

GKN requested the city delay closing, Walsh said. "In the meantime, Miller-Valentine requested that we go ahead and purchase the building even though we were not going to have an assignment date with GKN."

GKN Aerospace announced last month it will locate a manufacturing operation in the Miller-Valentine speculative building in the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park. The company is expected to create 278 new jobs over the next six years.

A condition for approval called for the industrial park commission to assign the building and property to the city and county as co-tenants if GKN does not locate there in 60 days.

Council gave unanimous approval to another related resolution on Walsh's recommendation. The measure allows GKN Aerospace to issue a letter of credit at a local bank in lieu of securing a mortgage on the building.

Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said the letter of credit is preferable to seeking repayment from the company on a mortgage.

"We have an agreement with the company that is tied to $38 million in investment and 278 jobs," Robinson said. "If they fail to do what they said they are going do, there is a performance-based clawback to make the city, state and county whole.

"With a mortgage, we would literally have to go through foreclosure proceedings on the building to get it back. That involves more court and attorney costs. With the line of credit we do not."

Robinson said Orangeburg County is in the right spot for attracting aviation companies.

"It's constantly evolving with us to try and approve the aerospace companies because timing is going to be very important at the other major OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) coming online," Robinson said. "You have Boeing in Charleston, Gulfstream in Savannah and HondaJet in Greensboro (N.C.). We are in a great location."

In other business, council:

Adopted health insurance benefits for city employees and retirees for 2012, repealing any conflicting resolution or ordinance.

Approved a staff recommendation to name the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce the city's lead agency for allocation of state accommodations tax proceeds. Council also approved carrying over $2,700 until the next year.

n Heard a report from Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Chief Wendell Davis on the effort to seek reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The public is invited to offer comments at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 at city municipal court.

Mayor Paul Miller issued a proclamation naming "leadership" as the Community of Character trait for December.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5540.



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