2007-06-15 / Business


by John Temple Ligon

by John Temple Ligon

Democrats do Charleston

The Citadel will be the host venue for the July 23 Democrat presidential debate. The event follows an April Democrat debate at S.C. State University and a May Republican debate at the Koger Center, and is sponsored by CNN and the Internet video site YouTube.

Downtown Columbia and downtown Charlotte

Neither Columbia's nor Charlotte's high street has much retail. The shopping is in the 'burbs for both regions, and both are wondering what to do to even approach the success of Charleston's King Street. Both cities have downtown high- rise housing under way, but the advertised advantages of locations within walking distance to shopping are still in question. Charleston's King Street, meanwhile, welcomes national newcomers Jos. A. Banks, Brooks Brothers, Pottery Barn, Waterworks, and Ralph Lauren Polo.

Textile losses

Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Act in 1994, textile and apparel job losses in the U.S. total more than one million. In 1994, S.C. had 122,511 jobs in the industry, and by 2007, only 32,200 remain.

Hey, Duke, don't forget us

Davidson College is the beneficiary of Duke Endowment largess, $110 million since 1924. Davidson will replace student loans with grants starting this August with a new $15 million contribution from the Duke Endowment. Davidson is one of a few American colleges and universities to eliminate student loans from financial aid packages, relieving its graduates of debt. In 2005, the average debt for a student graduating from from a private four- year institution, including Davidson, was $29,000.

States' growth numbers

S.C.'s economic growth last year was 3.5%; N.C.'s, 2.9%. On a per capita basis, however, S.C.'s economic growth rose just 2.6% from 2003 to 2006, claiming the second- lowest in the nation. Michigan, at a decline of 1.2% for the same time period, ranked the worst per capita economic growth in the U.S.

Charlotte's growth numbers

As of July 1, Charlotte will add another 7,000 new people through annexation of about five square miles, which brings the Charlotte total area to 285 square miles. Charlotte has more than 90 additional square miles it plans to claim. In 1959, N.C. passed a law allowing municipalities to add territory without owners' permission if the land met state criteria in density and development. N.C. has more cities with top bond ratings than any other state. Meanwhile, S.C. has no such law, and Columbia last year took $9 million from its water and sewer fund for other purposes, denying itself funds for expansive infrastructure.

Then come to Columbia

The slow start- up schedule of Magnolia Development, Charleston's $2 billion new urbanist community, is showing fears of coastal property insurance rates. The 216- acre master plan calls for the construction of 4,400 townhomes and condos over the next 15 years, plus there are plans for 700,000 square feet of retail and another 700,000 of commercial office space.

Al Parish lawyers for the long haul

Federal prosecutors said recently Al Parish, the Charleston financial consultant who allegedly lost about $50 million in his clients' money, can come to criminal trial as soon as the 1974 Speedy Trial Act allows, but modified time limits are expected. Around the time of Labor Day is the earliest likely beginning of a criminal trial. The civil side, not connected with the criminal, could run through a more protracted time while victims and assets are searched.

President of Carolina Investors denied parole

Larry Owen, former president of Carolina Investors, the failed firm that lost more than $277 million for its 8,000 investors, is serving an eight- year prison term for securities fraud. Owen was denied parole recently, but he can request parole again next year. The former board chairman of Carolina Investors, Jack Sterling, is scheduled for trial in October.

Columbia- based VC3 expands

VC3, an information technology solutions integrator for both private and public sector clients, has opened a new office in Dacatur, Ga. For more information on VC3, visit www.VC3.com.

Dry and humorless

In early June, the S.C. Drought Response Committee upgraded the drought level to "moderate" for the entire state indicating an increasing threat of a drought as demonstrated by drought indices.


USC's in- state tuition should rise by 6.9% next fall. Increasing the annual cost by $538 to $8,346, USC's tuition is a bit less expensive than Clemson's proposed $9,870, a 5% increase.

Tobacco advertising

Annual tobacco industry marketing expenditures nation- wide were $15.4 billion. Estimated portion spent for South Carolina marketing each year: $298.9 million.

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