Fort Mill Times


INDIAN LAND -- Jeld-Wyn Windows and Doors will move its regional showroom and sales office from Charlotte to Indian Land in the Bailes Ridge Corporate Park.

The $6.5 million project will bring 40 employees from its current office, but Lancaster County Economic Development President Keith Tunnell expects the company will hire more employees after the move.

"They are growing, adding between five and 10 people a year," Tunnell said. "There will be some attrition and adding jobs over the years."

Jeld-Wyn will work with the Lancaster office of the One-Stop Catawba Workforce Center to fill any new positions, he added.

This project is proof of the importance of speculative buildings, buildings that are built without a tenant, Tunnell said. The Jeld-Wyn building was built by Merrifield Partners, developers of the Bailes Ridge Corporate Park. According to Tunnell, just one month after receiving its certificate of occupancy, the building was leased.

"I'm a big believer that when 85 percent of projects want to go into an existing building that it makes sense to have as many build as you can to show those companies," Tunnell said.

"If you don't have a building, you don't have a visit, and you don't get the business and the jobs. It's imperative that we have buildings available."

Right now, Indian Land has only a handful of empty buildings to show perspective companies, Tunnell said. Twenty thousand square feet of space is available in the building that will house Jeld-Wyn Windows and Doors and office space is available in 521 Perimeter Park.

In other parts of Lancaster County, the county is helping get speculative buildings built by partnering with private companies on projects, such as the Heath Springs Industrial Park. The county is working with developers in Heath Springs on a plan to build a speculative building at a reduced risk to the developer. If the plan is approved, the county will agree to buy the speculative building if it remains unoccupied six years after being built.

But in Indian Land, private companies are taking the lead and the county isn't likely to step in, Tunnell said.

Merrifield Partners, which built the speculative building in Bailes Ridge, plans to build more in the Bailes Ridge Corporate Park, he said.

"I think the private sector can take care of it there [in Indian Land]," Tunnell said.

"I think the market is strong enough and will stay strong enough for the private sector to do the spec buildings there."

The owner of the Jeld-Wyn building, M.L. Brock, was offered a 6 percent fee-in-lieu of taxes, which also locks in the current millage rate on the property for 20 years.