2011-08-19 / Business

Briefs

by John Temple Ligon

Nukes

The National Science Foundation awarded the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training $3.1 million helping to link seven Southeastern states including South Carolina. Leading South Carolina’s collaborative efforts is Midlands Technical College, meeting the demand for skilled nuclear technicians. Besides Midlands Tech, key supporters in the program in South Carolina include SCE&G, Spartanburg Community College, and the technical colleges in Aiken, Denmark, and the counties of Florence, Darlington, Orangeburg, and Calhoun.

Port revenues

For the first time since 2005, pier container volume, as counted by the South Carolina State Ports Authority, rose during fiscal year 2011. Operating revenues gained 12 percent over last year to $124.6 million. Earnings rose from $8.4 million to $16.6 million.

Home sales

Columbia area home sales slipped 4.4 percent in July compared with the same month in 2010. Nearby Sumter/Clarendon County, however, had a July home sales increase of 22.5 percent due to the 3rd Army’s move from Atlanta to Shaw Air Force Base. South Carolina had a statewide increase in home sales of 8.1 percent. The Charleston area had a 22.7 percent increase in sales. In Greenville, the increase in home sales for July came to 18.4 percent. Spartanburg gained 11.7 percent for the same period. Charlotte had an increase of 9.7 percent for July in its 10-county service area.

Good news, for now, on foreclosures

Foreclosure filings in Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County for July dropped to less than half the number filed in July 2010. Total filings across the country fell almost 35 percent. The reasons behind the improved foreclosure numbers apparently has something to do with short-term interventions and delays which only extend the housing problems into the near future. There is no indication of a housing market recovery.

State employees get hit with an increase in health plan

Beginning January 1, state employees will find health insurance premiums on the rise by 4.5 percent, as the state Budget and Control Board recently voted to split the cost of anticipated claims costs between the state and the state employees.

$63 million in brick and mortar

The state Budget and Control Board has given the goahead to new projects at state agencies, colleges and universities, bringing the total to $63 million. The biggest ticket item is $30 million for a nursing and science education building at Charleston’s Trident Technical College. In Columbia, USC’s Innovista Discovery I research building is upfitting three floors for an anticipated $15 million. The upfitted floors are for endowed chairs in cancer therapeutics, healthful lifestyles, and rehabilitation, plus accommodations for maybe 60 other faculty and staff members.

South Carolina’s second school of law

The Charleston School of Law has received full accreditation from the American Bar Association.

Mungo expands in West Columbia

On Hook Road near U.S. 378 and Interstate 26, Mungo Homes is building Brookland Mills, 14.5 acres of land with 73 to 88 homes. Homes will be priced in the mid- $100,000s.

BlueCross for individuals

For people who need a short-term health insurance plan that’s less expensive than regular insurance, BlueCross is offering policies for 30, 60, 90 or 120 days with a deductible of $500, $1,000, or $2,500. TCC of Charleston is administering the plans which are marketed by BlueCross.

Lake Murray marina

Developer Ben Arnold plans to build a 12-acre, 216-unit luxury apartment compound on the shores of Lake Murray at the site of the Lake Murray Marina & Yacht Club. Called Marina Bay Apartments, construction begins in early September. The complex will feature one, two, and three-bedroom floor plans. Rents should run from $900 per month to $1,400. Included on the site will be a new marina center with 269 boat slips. Altogether, Arnold says, the project is valued around $35 million.

Architecture

The largest architecture firm in North Carolina is Charleston-based LS3P Associates Ltd., as determined by the number of registered architects in the state. The firm has more than 50 registered architects in its offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Wilmington.

Fasten your seatbelts for a bumpy ride

The University of Georgia’s top economist, Jeff Humphreys at the Selig Center for Economic Growth, was quoted by the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 11: “The risk of recession is dramatically higher today than it was a month ago, really even a couple of weeks ago.” Humphreys said the odds of a double-dip recession were about 40 percent due to the July 29 release of the revised U.S. Gross Domestic Product numbers showing a far weaker economy and a more sluggish job growth than recently anticipated.

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