The Laurens County Development Corporation is going to move from the Professional Park between Clinton and Laurens to an upstairs, recently renovated building in downtown Laurens.
“It is important that we showcase quality of life,” LCDC President/CEO Jon Coleman said Tuesday at the agency’s board meeting, in the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Piedmont Tech, Laurens.
Right now, LCDC shares space with the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, and will pay the chamber $72,000 to vacate its lease. The Chamber needs more space - it is hiring two new employees - and plans also call for the vacated space to be a “landing pad”.
In economic development-speak, that’s a place for entrepreneurs who want to try out their business, or a person sent in by an industry for a year to study an area or pave the way for a new facility.
LCDC will sign a 5-year lease with The Midtown Building, which is beside Laurens City Hall. The Coffee Roost just went into the ground floor, and LCDC will lease the second floor. LCDC will have access to a second conference room on the first floor, and will access the offices by a key-pad back door.
Upstairs, the economic developers will have 3 offices for a 3-person staff, kitchenette, commons seating area, two conference tables and chairs, and a widescreen TV. Two offices overlook the Historic Courthouse and Monument Square.
The LCDC board unanimously approved the move, after a brief closed session to discuss a contract. Prior to the closed session, Coleman walked the board through the logistics of “breaking away” from the Chamber. He and Chamber President & CEO Amanda Munyan are finalizing the details.
In addition to leasing a new office, LCDC is buying an industrial park.
For $3.2 million, Laurens County’s economic development arm will own Power South, a key industrial component to the I-385 - Gray Court - Owings industrial corridor.
The board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Power South owner Kyle Cheros, who will self-finance the arrangement.
LCDC will pay him $400,000 a year for 8 years (3.85% interest) with no penalty for early pay-off of the mortgage. If LCDC sells or conveys a portion of the property, all the net proceeds of the sale go to Cheros. These are applied against the mortgage principal.
A initial payment of $400,000 will be paid at closing, expected about Aug. 1.
Coleman said the $40,000/annual can come from the Octagon Park reinvestment fund, which generates $700,000 - $900,000/annual. The property will be conveyed by Limited Warranty Deed.
Coleman said LCDC needs to buy the property because it is coming under pressure from residential developers.