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Greenville officials release economic development strategy

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A new forward-looking strategic plan released by the Greenville Area Development Corp. showcases how the organization plans to continue focus efforts and maximize return on investment for the long run in the Greenville community.

Mark Farris, Greenville Area Development Corporation CEO, announced another exceptionally strong year in 2022 for economic development in the city, which is also referred to as “the business heartbeat of the Palmetto State,” according to a GADC news release. The exercise of developing the GADC’s first-ever formal strategic economic development plan was both timely and healthy, he said.

The industries that chose to locate to or expand in Greenville County are diverse, with 13 of 22 announcements being in GADC’s core target industries, and 15 of them in manufacturing verticals, which are a historical strength for the county, to include a strong response from automotive, life sciences, and office/headquarters industries, which “helps to provide a varied economy that is robust and multi-faceted, said Farris in the release.

Combined, the organizations represent $468 million in new capital investment to enhance the tax base in addition to 2,326 new jobs — the strongest year since 2016—to keep Greenville’s economy booming, the release said.

The $468 million in new capital investment ranks third highest ever for the county’s new investment portfolio, trailing behind years 2020 and 2014. This achievement pushed the GADC’s five-year new investment capital to $1.8 billion, and its new job creation efforts to more than 9,000. Cumulative job announcements by the GADC since its founding 22 years ago now total more than 34,600, according to the release.

Mark Farris is CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corp. (Photo/GADC)“It’s a testament to the work of so many people that Greenville, despite the global challenges of Covid, inflation, workforce challenges and hyper-competition, continues to be such an attractive and appealing destination for organizations the world over to want to live in and conduct business from,” said Farris in the release. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team, our Board and our Investors and allies, and the year’s results speak for themselves. This is a continuation of a remarkable run for Greenville County economic development.”

The capital investment showcases Greenville’s economic vitality, diversity, and tax base, and with the announced jobs and mean wages well above both county and state averages, there is a positive future for this city, said Farris in the release.

“Raising per capita income is always a primary goal in our efforts, and we continue to raise the bar,” he added.

The strategic planning process was led by the GADC Board of Directors, staff and representatives from TIP Strategies of Austin, Texas, which is a nationally recognized strategic planning consultancy to public and private sector clients worldwide. Additional details on the learnings and strategies in the strategic plan will be released shortly, Farris said.

“It provided us the opportunity to examine our strengths and weaknesses, our competition for quality growth, and industries to emphasize going forward that will best complement our vision for this community,” he said. “The contributions from many collaborative minds ranging from our Board of Directors to industry and economic development leaders, civic organizations, elected officials and others have helped us to develop a sound blueprint to continue to guide Greenville County growth efforts into the future.”

Continued spec development of both industrial parks and office/industrial space has fueled interest in the community at a time when businesses make fast decisions on where to locate or expand — and require communities to have near-ready property and sites for consideration, he added. Farris referenced the growth and new development at Fox Hill Business Park, Augusta Grove, Main Street Labs, University Ridge, and other locations as helping to drive continuing interest in Greenville.

Farris also noted in the release the community’s ongoing commitment to nurturing start-ups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, expanding emphasis on STEM education, and how the county continues to attract widespread attention for its smart growth, productive workforce, and its affordability.

“It takes support and leadership from many parties — Greenville County Council and the county’s tremendous staff, the cities and municipalities we work with, and the many members of the GADC Investor base and private sector who play key roles — to produce these results,” said Farris in the release.

Reach Krys at 864-640-4418.

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