Metro Spotlight: Greenville/Spartanburg, SC

Greenville: A Patchwork of Industries

The city of Greenville, SC is cut from a different cloth. Once known as the “Textile Capital of the World” for its economic reliance on manufacturing textiles, recent years have seen Greenville weaving a patchwork of diverse business.

The International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) was created recently by a consortium including Clemson University, BMW, Timken, IBM, Microsoft, Michelin, and the Society of Automotive Engineers International. Surrounding ICAR along Interstate 85 is a large office park, The Millennium Campus, which has been built to attract more investment by large companies and their headquarters. Among the first to locate on the campus is Hubbell Lighting, Inc., a major manufacturer of commercial lighting systems. Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Center is an aircraft maintenance facility located in Greenville at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park, a former U.S. Air Force base. Donaldson Center also is home to 3M, Honeywell, and Stevens Aviation.

Greenville Paving the Way

In November, the City of Greenville joined with government and corporate partners to dedicate Carolina Point Parkway and to acknowledge the cooperative efforts between the State of South Carolina, the City of Greenville and Carolina First, all of which were instrumental in development of the roadway. The one-mile, four-lane boulevard was built in conjunction with the Carolina First Bank Corporate Campus and features sidewalks with curb lawns, bicycle lanes and non-traditional Hubbell lighting fixtures. Additionally, Carolina Point Parkway is landscaped with canopy trees, includes two roundabouts for traffic calming and boasts a permanently wet storm water detention pond that will be integrated into a park/open space.

“Carolina Point Parkway represents the City’s continued commitment to building roadways that are aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian and bicycle-friendly,” says Philip Lindsay, Greenville’s engineering services manager.

Construction of the roadway was a component of the City’s development agreement with Carolina First Bank and the project was completed on time and within budget. Carolina Point Parkway was opened to traffic in February 2008 and the City accepted the roadway into its street system in August. Funding for construction of Carolina Point Parkway was provided through monies from the State and the City.

In addition to its aesthetics, Carolina Point Parkway also provides vehicular connectivity across the length of The Point development and supports the vision of the Woodruff Road Corridor Study by serving as the second critical link to providing alternative connections between heavily traveled roadways such as Woodruff Road and Laurens Road.

Millennium Boulevard was the first link, providing a vital connection between Laurens Road and Salters Road, and Fairforest Way will be the final link, providing the last leg of the corridor by connecting Mauldin Road and Laurens Road.

Spartanburg and BMW Operating on All Cylinders

BMW Manufacturing Company in Spartanburg County, SC has pumped more than $8.8 billion into South Carolina’s economy, leading to the creation of 4.3 jobs statewide for every single job created at the Upstate South Carolina factory, according to a study released in September by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

The findings of the study reveal that, after 16 years, BMW has become more than a manufacturing branch plant of the famous German automaker. Combining manufacturing, community and educational activities, it occupies a distinctive position in the South Carolina economy, the report says.

The study stresses that as BMW invests and creates jobs for South Carolinians, it also demonstrates how successful businesses can address environmental challenges as well as serve as models for sustainable enterprises.

The economic impact study was conducted earlier in 2008 using BMW’s activity in 2007.

“The immense impact of BMW is felt across the Upstate and throughout South Carolina,” says Dr. Douglas P. Woodward, professor of economics at the Moore School. Woodward and Dr. Paulo Guimarães, also a Moore School economics professor, conducted the in-depth study.

Woodward said the study shows that BMW has an “outsized impact on the state’s economy” due to its presence as a “high-wage, final producer with extensive ties to local suppliers.”

The activities generated by BMW also serve as a stellar example of sustainable business practices in South Carolina.

“Given our school’s new theme of ‘sustainable enterprise and development,’ I am often asked what we at the Moore School mean by ‘sustainable,'” says Dr. Hildy Teegen, dean of Moore School. “BMW is a great example of a firm dedicated to sustainability. Like all companies, it depends on generating profit for its economic survival.

“But through its cutting-edge business practices and understanding of how to advance economic development in the markets where it participates, BMW has demonstrated that it is a responsible steward of the environment and benefits society at large.”

BMW and Spartanburg received an Honorable Mention award in Business Facilities’ 2008 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition.

Spotlight on Spartanburg

• Spartanburg City Population (2006) 38,561

• Spartanburg County Population 253,791

• Area Rivers: Lawson’s Fork Creek, Pacolet River, Tyger River

• Area Lakes: Lake Bowen, Lake Blalock, Lake Cooley, Lyman Lake, Apalache Lake

Distances from Spartanburg to Major U.S. Cities

Atlanta, GA
Charleston, SC
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
Myrtle Beach, SC
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
Orlando, FL
Washington, DC

171 miles
215 miles
68 miles
691 miles
2,335 miles
710 miles
243 miles
350 miles
662 miles
711 miles
496 miles
434 miles