Richland County, SC: At The Center Of South Carolina’s Eco Devo Boom

Discover affordable expansion and attractive lifestyle opportunities in Richland County, in the heart of South Carolina's economic expansion.

Sponsored by
Richland County, SC I-77 Alliance

 

Richland County and the state capital, Columbia, anchor central South Carolina and are at the heart of an economic development boom that’s still building, with plenty of room left to grow.

The county is coming off a second-straight year of record-breaking economic development. Notching announcements in 2023 totaling more than $2.35 billion and 4,500 new jobs, Richland County’s wins made up roughly 25% of capital investment and one-third of new jobs announced across the Palmetto State.

Scout Motors, a Volkswagen affiliate expected to begin producing electric pickups and SUVs in late 2026 or early 2027, headlined the economic news. The county is now seeing interest from EV-related suppliers interested in setting up shop nearby to support the automaker.

Here, they’re finding sites to flourish in a community uniquely positioned halfway between New York and Miami, with access via Interstates 77, 20, and 26 to more than 43% of the U.S. market via an 11-hour drive.

Richland County South Carolina

 

Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) hosts the largest air cargo operation in South Carolina, anchored by UPS and FedEx, and is the passenger air hub for the Midlands region. Charlotte and Atlanta airports, two of the world’s busiest, are about a 2- and 3.5-hour drive, respectively. Norfolk Southern and CSX railways serve the Columbia market, and the ports of Charleston and Savannah are two to three hours away.

Richland County’s economy is also notably diverse and stable. With a population of approximately 420,000, we’re home to South Carolina’s state government as well as the state’s flagship university — the University of South Carolina (USC) — and to Fort Jackson, where the U.S. Army produces nearly half of its soldiers, putting some 50,000 recruits through basic training every year, and assists soldiers entering the civilian workforce through its Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

A sampling of significant announcements of late include:

  • Scout Motors: The $2 billion assembly plant under construction off I-77 in Blythewood is committed to providing 4,000 jobs and producing 200,000 all-electric SUVs and pickup trucks a year when it hits full capacity. The all-new Scout lines are a revival of the legendary Scout brand that was recently acquired by Volkswagen.
  • Cirba Solutions: The Charlotte-based battery recycling company is investing more than $300 million in a world-class lithium-ion electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling flagship facility that will create more than 300 jobs on a 200-acre campus in Columbia.
  • The Ritedose Corporation: A major manufacturer of generic single-dose medications, Ritedose is investing $81 million and creating 100 new jobs on a 105-acre site at its current home at Carolina Research Park in northeast Richland County.
  • McEntire Produce: The 75-year-old, family-owned firm is investing $26.2 million in upgrades at its Columbia operation that will create 40 new jobs and a state-of-the-art facility that processes lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and coleslaw mix for fast-food restaurants and other wholesale customers.
  • TMC Transportation: The Iowa-based flatbed carrier firm is consolidating three local facilities into a single campus headquarters in Columbia. The 44-acre site will include an operation and logistics office, maintenance facility, and driver training center and represents a $38 million investment and 185 new jobs.

An Educated, Ready Workforce

Richland is the largest county in the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and second largest in South Carolina. The seven-county MSA provides a labor pool of about 400,000 people available to existing and new businesses. A strong foundation of public and private primary and secondary schools feeds into a higher education community anchored by the 35,000-student USC near downtown Columbia and the 10,000-student Midlands Technical College (MTC).

MTC boasts multiple campuses within the county and numerous others in just a short drive. Together, they provide access to highly affordable two-year start to a four-year education and to a wide range of industry- and company-specific offerings. MTC is also a major participant in readySC, one of the most experienced workforce training programs in the country.

Columbia and Richland County also are home to diverse higher-education opportunities, including two HBCUs — Benedict College and Allen University — and Columbia College and Columbia International University.

Affordable, Attractive Living Options And Lifestyle

Long-known as the state’s government and educational hub, downtown Columbia is undergoing a revitalization and thriving in new and exciting ways. The capital city is attracting a new, eclectic mix of living opportunities appealing to students, young professionals, and long-time residents. This influx of activity has helped bolster the city’s growth in unique eateries, retail spots, and vibrancy, and support existing attractions like the Colonial Life Arena, home to the three-time NCAA champion Gamecock women’s basketball team.

Columbia also offers a unique blend of Southern charm and urban energy with a rich history and vibrant cultural life. There are several historic neighborhoods featuring antebellum through early 20th century homes, trendy in-town bungalow-filled neighborhoods with shops and cafes, and long-established and brand-new suburban neighborhoods that provide a lot of house for the money through all price ranges.

Columbia offers a unique blend of Southern charm and urban energy with a rich history and vibrant cultural life.

A local favorite, USC’s Williams-Brice Stadium (aka “Willy B”) regularly sees crowds of 75,000 faithful football fans for SEC showdowns. Baseball is also a big hit here, with both USC’s baseball stadium and Segra Park — home to the Columbia Fireflies, a Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals — drawing crowds from around the nation.

History and art attractions also abound, such as the South Carolina State Museum, EdVenture Children’s Museum and Columbia Museum of Art. World-renowned Riverbanks Zoo & Garden — nestled on both sides of the Saluda River — brings out the wild side of this community.

The Saluda River itself passes through Lake Murray, the 47,000-acre “Jewel of South Carolina” that is a magnet for boating, lake living, and a regular host of national fishing tournaments. The Saluda and Broad rivers join here to form the Congaree River and all three are lined by the walking and biking trails of the Three Rivers Greenway.

A Great Place To Locate, Live, And Work

Industrial prospects who check us out will find we offer an unparalleled balance of lifestyle and business opportunities to make your dollar go farther. The cost of living in Columbia, as well as the cost of commercial and industrial land and buildings, compares favorably to national averages, while our state and local governments also are experienced in creating the incentive packages companies need to make their investments work.


To learn more about the opportunities, including sites and buildings, available in Richland County, South Carolina, please visit Richland County Economic Development at richlandcountysc.com.
Richland County is part of the five-county S.C. I-77 Alliance. Check us out at www.i77alliance.com for robust economic and demographic data, available sites, and much more.

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