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By Trevor Anderson, Upstate Business Journal
Spartanburg Community College’s Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development received another major vote of confidence. Automotive supplier Brose North America Inc. announced it will invest $6 million to bring a new 77,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to Spartanburg County and create at least 60 new jobs. Brose’s project manager, Michael Morgenroth, unveiled his company’s plan at the end of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a 22,000-square-foot addition at the center, which is housed within SCC’s Tyger River Campus off Highway 290 near Duncan.
S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt joined with local leaders and college officials to tout the center’s contribution to economic development since its inception in 2006.
State Rep. Mike Forrester, R-Spartanburg, and director of economic development for SCC, said the company’s fourth production operation in North America will likely remain at the center until January. “The Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development is something that makes it worry free and easy for companies [to start up operations in Spartanburg County],” Morgenroth said. “I’ve not seen anything like it in Canada or Mexico. It’s very unique even in the U.S.” The center sits on 50 acres of what was once part of the corporate headquarters for One Price Clothing Stores Inc. It includes several large warehouses and modern office space near the front of the building that features classrooms, computer labs, conference rooms and other workspaces. In total, 61 new and existing enterprises have utilized the 363,000-square-foot center to launch, expand or relocate their manufacturing, distribution and office operations in the county.
Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeff Horton said the center has generated 20,000 jobs, $1.3 billion in annual wage earnings and more than $69 million in annual tax revenue in South Carolina since it opened. Headquartered in Coburg, Germany, Brose, which specializes in the integration of mechanics, electrics and electronics, said it will produce door systems and on-demand cooling air supply control systems in Spartanburg County.
Hitt, who was a former executive at BMW Manufacturing Co., recalled the economic turmoil that gripped Spartanburg County before BMW announced its decision build its first plant outside of Germany near Greer in 1992. Tens of thousands of textile jobs had vanished, Hitt said. State and local leaders were hoping and praying for a miracle. BMW’s plant, which opened in 1994, was a game-changer for the county and state. In the years following that announcement, county leaders joined with SCC officials and other organizations to develop resources, such as the center, to continue to support economic development. “I know any time I can call these guys and they will get something done,” Hitt said. Toray, Kobelco, A.I. Industries and BMW Manufacturing Co., are just a few of the companies who have utilized the center to grow their operations, train employees and test or store new processes and equipment.
“If you have a job, you have hope and opportunity,” said Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt.