After three years of looking south and waiting for the right time, Stuart Simon and Dan Watson moved their construction company from Charlotte to Fort Mill last month.
A spacious new headquarters off Flint Hill Road houses 30 employees and a storage area for building materials and equipment. The move also puts the company closer to its most lucrative job site --Carowinds, a 112-acre theme park where thrill rides and new attractions are built almost every year.
Simon & Watson Construction has worked on all the major projects at Carowinds for the last seven years, including roller coasters such as the Borg Assimilator and Top Gun. This winter, the company is installing a 600,000-gallon wave pool at the water park known as Boomerang Bay. It will open in May.
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Moving to South Carolina makes sense because three-quarters of the company's work is done here, Simon said. Another advantage is financial. The new location allows for lower property and vehicle taxes compared to Charlotte.
Simon and Watson founded the company in 2000 with three employees in an office on East Boulevard. Now, they have a staff of 30 and surpassed $11 million in total sales last year. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked the company No. 451 on its annual list of the 500 fastest-growing businesses in America.
The new headquarters is housed in a 12,000-square-foot building on Quarry Overlook Drive, near S.C. 51.
Aside from its work at Carowinds, Simon & Watson also built the retail buildings at Millwood Plantation, said Tony Berry, the developer in charge of Millwood. Other projects include an office building in Fort Mill's Baxter Village and a new sanctuary for Good Shepherd United Methodist Church on S.C. 49.
Though development in York County has become a familiar sight for locals, Simon said industry types from around the Charlotte region are still catching on.
"People are just starting to realize there's a tremendous amount of growth that is occurring in the Rock Hill/Fort Mill area," he said.