By Trevor Anderson
From the outside, Spartanburg Community College’s Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development looks like another industrial complex along the county’s bustling Highway 290 corridor.
But looks can be deceiving.
Local officials believe the facility is one of the most important tools in the county’s repertoire of economic development assets that has continued to attract new investment and, perhaps most importantly, jobs.
Since its inception in 2006, the center at SCC’s Tyger River Campus has supported the development of more than 15,000 jobs and close to $1 billion in wage earnings in Spartanburg, according to the college.
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.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a company say ‘this is the reason we chose Spartanburg,’” said state Rep. Mike Forrester, R-Spartanburg, and director of economic development for SCC. “There’s nothing else like this that I know of.”
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.
SCC recently completed a 22,000-square-foot expansion of the office area aimed at raising the center’s appeal and efficiency.
“Adaptability is what makes this place so special,” Forrester said. “Whatever the company’s needs are, we can make it happen… A lot of work goes into economic development. It doesn’t stop when a company announces that they’re coming.”
A study conducted in 2015 that measured the center’s economic impact found it supported the creation of 2,766 jobs during the year and created a “ripple effect” that supported a total of 4,304 jobs.
Since 2007, the center has generated about $50 million in sales and income tax for the state, according to the study. And numbers for 2016 are still being finalized.