A 40,000-square-foot industrial building in northern Beaufort County expected to be the new home of a mystery manufacturing company could offer some clue as to the nature of the work.
The identity of the company remains a secret, though it would receive a $750,000 public cash incentive to locate here.
Stephen McCrae, a Rock Hill attorney representing the company in the deal, said he couldn’t talk about the project and declined to identify his client Wednesday.
“That would be disastrous for the company and probably affect its plans,” McCrae said.
Beaufort County Council has agreed to give the company the $750,000 to invest in the site at 134 Parker Drive near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The money is based on the company meeting investment and job-creation goals outlined in a resolution Beaufort County Council passed last week.
Despite the commitment of public money, county officials have kept the name of the company secret as a favor to allow the manufacturer to inform its employees. The deal has been identified only as Project Eagle.
The attorney McCrae is a partner at K&L Gates, whose practice focuses on commercial real estate development, land-use and governmental relations, according to the firm’s website. He has advised American and foreign-owned companies on state and local economic incentives for doing business in South Carolina, the website says. The website does not provide specific company names.
Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce president Blakely Williams, whose organization worked to recruit the business, revealed only that the company was an international manufacturer. A formal announcement about the deal and revealing the company name is expected early next year.
The building was previously used to make metalworking equipment and is expected to need only minimal improvements to fit the new company. In a news release last year, real estate firm Binswanger said it was marketing the property to a variety of manufacturers, including plastics, rubber, steel products, fabricated metal, machinery, automotive and aerospace parts suppliers.
The targeted building was once home to Ohio-based Minster Machine, which operated in Beaufort for 30 years before announcing plans to move in 2010.
The company, now known as Nidec Minster Corp., makes metalworking equipment for the automotive, electronics and packaging industries.
In Beaufort, the company employed about 15 people and made equipment to uncoil spools of metal and feed it into metalworking equipment, which the company made in Ohio. The operations were consolidated to improve efficiency and logistics, a company executive told The Beaufort Gazette at the time.
Under the agreement with the county, the new company would invest a minimum of $2.5 million and create 45 full-time jobs with an average starting salary of $24 per hour.