BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — Two companies have signed on to bring money and jobs to Beaufort Commerce Park.
A sign of good things for the local economy and possibly for the housing issues facing the area.
The companies Norman USA and Critical Role are each leasing half of the 64,000-square-foot building. Construction of the building, at 74 Schein Loop and developed by Magnus Development Partners, was completed earlier this year. It was built on spec, before any companies were involved, but took just over a year from groundbreaking to find tenants.
“Statewide and regionally there was a lack of confidence we could be successful in this type of diversification effort,” Beaufort Mayor Stephen Murray explained. “Buildings like this and projects like the one down the street are proof positive that we can be successful and this can be a place where industry and distribution in a different type of job sector than we have typically seen in Beaufort can thrive.”
Norman USA manufactures and distributes window treatments worldwide. Its site in Beaufort — its first on the East Coast — will be used for the distribution of its products.
Norman USA should start production in October. It expects to create 67 jobs over five years and invest an estimated $16.17 million, according to Charlie Stone, Senior Project Manager at the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC)
Norman is hiring and said anyone interested can email their resume to NormanCareers@NormanUSA.com.
Critical Role, a multi-platform video gaming company will use the facility to distribute merchandise related to its video game company.
It expects to hire 15 people and is expected to also open in October.
“The addition of these two companies to the Beaufort Commerce Park demonstrates that the City’s commitment to improving the park, from adding infrastructure to the construction of the Spec Building, is paying off,” Murray said. “We are determined, over time, to diversify our economy beyond the military and the hospitality industry, so that young people can see a future for themselves and their families.”
“Getting a bonified developer to put their money down and make its case is what this proves,” said Executive Director John O’Toole of the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation.
Both Mayor Murray and John O’Toole, Executive Director of the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation said many businesses are attracted to Beaufort because of a ready-made workforce, exiting military men and women and their families. These are people with technical skills and people who know how to work hard and be part of a team.
“You can invest really anywhere you want to be but ultimately you put that machinery in place you want operators and we will be able to provide those operators,” O’Toole said.
“It gives folks who have to work to live here a different type of job with a higher wage attached to it,” Murray said. “And it gives us some choice for what the future holds for our region.”
Magnus is so happy with the success of the first building, that it is currently in the engineering phase to build another 72,000-square-foot spec building next to the first one.
This is the beginning of a business boom in the Beaufort area.
According to Stone, Materials Research Group, a glass manufacturer based in New Jersey, is planning to begin operations by November.
It has invested $4 million and expects to create 26 new jobs at its 10,000-square-foot plant.
The company specializes in ready-to-press glass powders and various glass components used in aerospace, medical, battery and other markets.
Knight’s Companies, a concrete manufacturer with operations in South Carolina and Georgia, has acquired Lowcountry Concrete, just outside Commerce Park, Stone said, and plans to add 80 positions.