State Committee OK’s Multimillion-Dollar Clemson Projects

October 25, 2012

Investigative Reports

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ClemsonThe state Joint Bond Review Committee on Wednesday approved building and other development proposals by Clemson University that carry a total price tag of nearly $42 million.

Clemson seeks to lease more than 71,000 square feet among five floors in an office high-rise under construction in downtown Greenville after the Clemson University Land Stewardship Foundation buys the leased property, with an estimated closing date of Jan. 31, for $5 million, according to committee documents.

The leased property has a projected total value of $12.5 million; the $7.5 million balance will be donated by Hughes Development Corp., the developer of the Greenville ONE high-rise, according to documents. When finished, the building project will feature nine-story and 11-story office towers along with retail space.

The property to be leased by Clemson will be used for various master programs, the Small Business Development Center, SPIRO Institute and Center for Corporate Learning. The space will include classrooms, case study rooms, conference room facilities, an executive board room, consulting space and faculty offices.

The area will house more than 160 employees as well as students in the masters programs.

Starting in 2013, Clemson will pay an annual rental fee fixed at $574,408 for 25 years, totaling nearly $14.4 million, plus operating fees that are expected to increase over time, according to committee documents. Total rental and operating costs are projected at more than $30.2 million over the 25-year-span, documents show.

Clemson also wants to upfit the interior leased space for an additional $6.7 million. The university is seeking $100,500 to start design work.

According to documents, Clemson will cover the cost by using revenue generated from graduate student fees, business support and consulting services programs located in leased space.

But Clemson isn’t stopping there.

The university plans to spend $63,750 for design work to renovate its 52-year-old McAdams Hall, according to committee documents. Clemson officials say improvements to the School of Agriculture and Forest and Environmental Sciences’ programs are needed because of increases in student enrollment, extension programming and research demand.

Clemson also wants to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant at a total projected cost of $4.8 million, according to documents.

The Joint Bond Review Committee is made up of four state senators and five House members. Its chairman is Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence and the Senate Finance Committee chairman; the vice-chairman is Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson and the House Ways and Means Committee chairman.

Final approval for all the proposals presented Wednesday rests with the five-member S.C. Budget and Control Board, made up of Gov. Nikki Haley, State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Leatherman and White.

Clemson also has other multimillion-dollar building plans in the works. Earlier this month, the university’s board of trustees approved a new $98 million dormitory complex in the center of campus.

The university has a 10-year fundraising goal of $1 billion, of which $617 million has been raised since 2006, according to media reports.

Contacted after Wednesday’s meeting, Angie Leidinger, Clemson’s governmental affairs director, toldThe Nerve that the proposed Greenville ONE lease will be reviewed Tuesday by the Budget and Control Board.

“We’ll make the best case for the project because it’s an important project to Clemson,” she said. “[The money]’s being managed through a capital plan.Some of the money we’re raising for the $1 billion (fundraising project) will be used to pay for the building projects.”

Reach Legette at (803) 254-4411 or derek@thenerve.org.