2010-06-18 / Business


by John Temple Ligon
Avoiding litigation Columbia law firm Collins & Lacy is having a free Thursday morning seminar, July 15, on avoiding litigation in the construction industry. The free half–day seminar will discuss seven major topics: (1) subcontractor and contractor insurance issues, (2) common code violations, (3) importance of job description and drug testing, (4) government contracts, (5) independent contractor agreements, (6) workers’ compensation issues worth watching, (7) immigration. For more information, call 255.0417.

Centers of Economic Excellence The review board that oversees the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program voted in the first week of June to approve three new centers. The program helps the state’s three research universities (MUSC in Charleston, USC in Columbia, and Clemson University) create CoEEs, along with associated endowed professorships, in high–technology areas to enhance the state’s economy. The goal of this research is to generate well–paying jobs and economic opportunities for the people of S.C. The three newly approved Centers of Economic Excellence: (1) CoEE in Sustainable Development at Clemson; (2) CoEE in Data Analysis, Simulation, Imaging and Visualization at USC; and (3) CoEE for Inflammation and Fibrosis Research at MUSC. The CoEE Program was created by the legislature in 2002 and is funded through S. C. Education Lottery proceeds. To date, 49 CoEEs have been created, and 30 CoEE Endowed Chairs have been appointed to lead the centers.

Prices at Citadel and CoC going up The Citadel Board of Visitors has approved an increase in tuition and fees, raising the price of attendance by 6.3 percent for in–state students to $9,871 and 7 percent for out–of–state students to $24,800. At the College of Charleston, in–state undergraduate students will pay $10,314 per year in tuition, a 14.75 percent increase from the 2009–2010 academic year. Out–of–state CoC undergraduates will pay $23,172, an increase of 6.07 percent. State funding at CoC is down to 9 percent of its operating budget.

Parade of Homes delayed Since 1985, the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia has used the annual Parade of Homes to showcase its high–end homes. But for 2010, the second consecutive year, there will be no parade. What was scheduled for this October has been delayed until May 2011. Tight credit is the reason for the delay. Homebuilders can’t access the credit needed to build the homes for the annual showcase.

Lexington County property values appreciate According to The State newspaper and Lexington County updated property tax values, three–fourths of 122,500 residential and commercial tracts in Lexington County are worth more now than in 2005. Waterfront properties were among the largest increases, particularly around Lake Murray and along the Saluda River and the Congaree River.

Greenville County property values stabilize After the April 30 expiration of federal tax credits for home purchases, Greenville–area home sales remained stable. Compared with May 2009, home sales in May 2010 rose 15 percent, and total sales volume for the month rose $15 million.

Richland County foreclosures in May down Foreclosures in Richland County for May 2010 were down 23 percent compared with May 2009.

But statewide there’s still a problem Statewide foreclosures were up in May by 29 percent compared with the same month last year.

Particularly in the Lowcountry Home foreclosures in the MSA composed of the counties of Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester recently showed the region had the highest number of homes in distress for May compared with any other MSA in the state. The increase in foreclosures for May 2010 compared with May 2009 came to 82 percent.

Art supply store coming to Main Street Rosewood Drive’s S&S Art Supply plans to move to 1633 Main Street in about another month. Meanwhile, Mast General Store continues its renovation of the Lourie’s building, and the Nickelodeon arthouse cinema still sees a move to the 1600 block of Main Street within the year.

BMW benchmark The BMW plant near Spartanburg is a few months away from completing its $750 million expansion to ready the facility for production of the next–generation BMW X3. The plant’s millionth BMW X5 sports activity vehicle rolled off the assembly line on Tuesday, June 8. After 15 years of operation, the BMW Greer plant has produced a total of 1.6 million vehicles.

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