2009-12-11 / Business


by John Temple Ligon
Not enough

According to state officials quoted in The State newspaper, S.C.’s prepaid college tuition program is $64 million short of the money necessary to pay its current contracts. About 6,100 S.C. families have invested in the program, which was closed to new participants in 2007.

Airplane maintenance

West Star Aviation Inc. has signed a lease to occupy a hangar at Columbia Metropolitan Airport until its new hangar is constructed in 2011. The firm will offer maintenance services for most turbine aircraft including Cessna, Falcon, Hawker and Learjet.

BlueCross buys its own building

Built and sold in 1999 for $42.5 million, the two–story 456,304 sq. ft. structure at 17 Technology Circle has been bought by its single tenant BlueCross for $36.5 million.


Lexington Medical Center has filed a certificate–of– need request with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to perform therapeutic cardiac catheterizations and open–heart surgery.

Exporting expertise

Columbia–based US Development Co. has bought the 100–year–old Navy YMCA building in Norfolk, Va. In joint venture with US Development on the deal is Norfolk businessman Luke Hillier. The building was originally a gift from John D. Rockefeller, dedicated in 1909. US Development plans on a mixed–use historic readaptation with retail on the street level and apartments above. Early estimates of the project’s budget are reportedly above $17 million.

CoEE program creates 3,200 jobs

S.C.’s Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program, enacted by the General Assembly in 2002, has brought more than $250 million in non–state investment into the state and has led to the creation of 3,200 jobs, mostly knowledge–based and high–paying distributed among Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina. The 45 cutting–edge research centers have recruited 22 of the world’s leading scientists and engineers, resulting, so far, in 13 U.S. and international patents and 11 new start–up companies.


The Palmetto Cycling Coalition (PCC) is relocating to an office space donated by Abacus Planning Group in its new headquarters building at the corner of Devine Street and Queen Street. The move by PCC will be accomplished entirely by bicycles, lots of bicycles. Volunteer bicycle riders/movers are invited to appear at PCC’s current location, 215 Pickens Street, this Saturday at 10 am to begin the two–mile shuttle. For more information, call 445.1099.

$$$ for energy–efficient appliances

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded S.C.’s Energy Office $4,298,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the state’s energy efficient appliance rebate program. The State Energy Office will administer the program which is expected to begin in March 2010. Call Trish Jerman at 737.8030.

Nuclear in the Carolinas

A Clemson University study reports 37,000 jobs in both S.C. and N.C. are directly involved in the nuclear industry, about 28,000 in S.C. and 9,000 in N.C. Total income contribution is $1.8 billion in S.C. and $500 million in N.C.

787 Dreamliner

Boeing’s maiden flight of its new 787 is expected before the end of this month. The first delivery to a customer should occur by the end of 2010 when the Everett, Wash., assembly plant should be producing seven planes per month. The program is more than two years behind schedule, but the new second full assembly plant in North Charleston should be producing three Dreamliners per month in 2012.

Furman president

Greenville’s Furman University has narrowed its president search to three finalists. President David Shi retires June 2010. The finalists: Jonathan Alger, senior vice president and general counsel at Rutgers; Thomas Kazee, provost and executive vice president at Furman; Rodney Smolla, dean of the School of Law at Washington and Lee University.


Daimler AG in Stuttgart is sending some of Mercedes Benz’s C–class sedan production to its Alabama plant, which should benefit S.C. suppliers. BMW’s plant in Greer, S.C., is under way with a $750 million expansion, planning on an annual production schedule of 200,000 vehicles including the next–generation X3.

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