Charleston Council Approves Plan Related to Major Development

December 15, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveThe Charleston County Council’s Dec. 6 meeting agenda included a request by the city of North Charleston for approval to proceed with a bond issue to be financed from the creation of Tax Increment Financing District (TIF).

The bond issue would amount to $120 million, but could be increased. The term would be up to 15 years.

The TIF District is to be called the Ingleside Community and would encompass 2,090 acres on the western side of Interstate-26, south of University Boulevard. The land is presently zoned agricultural but that would clearly change.

Weber USA Inc., a subsidiary of a large German-owned automotive group, has held most of the land for 14 years and is planning a massive development.

A spokesman dropped some figures during the council meeting that immediately garnered attention: the development would entail some 6 million square feet of commercial space, 3 million square feet of retail space and 3.5 million square feet of industrial space.

The investment would not be immediate but spread over a 25-year period. No estimate was made of the cost but estimates are that it would be more than $1 billion.

Few details were given of the likely investment but clearly the city of North Charleston is viewing the plan seriously. It will be committing to infrastructure creation costing some $92 million to aid the development.

Councilman Dickie Schweers was a little puzzled as to why a TIF was being created. The land was not blighted or in an economically distressed area. County staff told him that the state allows the creation of a TIF district in areas zoned agricultural.

Council unanimously agreed to support North Charleston’s plan.