Editor's note: this story was updated Sept. 21.
Ordinances authorizing the execution and delivery of a fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement between Greenville and Spartanburg counties, and Volvo Cars USA were unanimously approved by the counties’ councils this week, moving the proposals forward for final votes at future meetings. The final votes are anticipated within the next few weeks.
Volvo Cars USA plans to invest upward of $62 million in existing businesses that supply the automaker.
Both counties are considering the FILOT agreements with Volvo in return for the company’s significant capital outlay plans, according to the agreements. A Greenville Area Development Corp. statement on Tuesday clarified reports, stating clearly that the investment is not to build new Volvo plants.
In the automotive industry, strategic investments are often made by brands such as Volvo with select suppliers to have certain work, such as tooling or mold preparation, done at the facilities of those partners, which is the case in this pending agreement with Greenville County, the statement said.
Ultimate decisions on staffing and job creation will be made by the partners at the chosen locations where Volvo’s investment in equipment and site preparations will take place, the statement said.
Public hearings were held at the Greenville County Council regular meeting Tuesday and at the Spartanburg County Council regular meeting Monday. The pending agreements were on the meeting agendas to discuss granting the Swedish car manufacturer the proposed FILOT agreements as part of the project previously referred to under the code name “Project Iron” for Greenville County and “Project Whirlwind” for Spartanburg County. The agreements call for the company to invest at least a combined $50.6 million in the counties over a span of five years.
Resident concerns over the project were heard at the public hearings from an economic standpoint.
“FILOTs are analyzed by the county, and they won’t get approved if it’s a detriment to the county, financially,” said Sam Patrick, president of Patrick Marketing & Communications Inc., an outside marketing team for GADC. “This deal is a financial win for Greenville County over time.”
Sites listed in Greenville County documents by Volvo include 120 Moon Acres Road in Piedmont and 800 Woodside Avenue in Fountain Inn. The Piedmont address is home to Magna, an industrial machinery manufacturer that works with Volvo already, while the Fountain Inn address is home to Wirthwein, an international plastic injection molding service company, according to the statement. According to Spartanburg County’s agreement, the sites listed include 1 Austrian Way and 1000 Robinson Road, both in Spartanburg, and 1200 Woods Chapel Road in Duncan.
Questions from SC Biz News to a spokesperson for the Volvo Cars plant in Ridgeville were acknowledged but have not been answered.