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Economic developments in the Charleston metro area

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Charleston ranked 15th among midsized metro areas nationwide (61st overall) in Inc.com's 2007 Boomtown rankings, which analyzed job growth data. The metro area slipped a little on this year's list, as it ranked 12th in that category last year (and 54th overall). Still, it was the only metro area in SC to break the top 20.

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Charleston ranked 15th among midsized metro areas nationwide (61st overall) in Inc.com's 2007 Boomtown rankings, which analyzed job growth data. The metro area slipped a little on this year's list, as it ranked 12th in that category last year (and 54th overall). Still, it was the only metro area in SC to break the top 20.

That's not a bad showing for the old town, I notice however that Savannah has a higher ranking than Charleston. Also, you'd think that Savannah's focus would be on leisure like Charleston's but Savannah appears to be less diversified, focusing strictly on business services and wholesale. No surprise there with the millions of square feet of warehouse space near Savannah but Charleston will be catching up soon. Charleston appears to be somewhat of a financial center to my surprise with Financial Services,

Business Services, and Leisure being the metro's focus. I wonder how they overlooked the medical industry?

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I'm not concerned with Savannah. It is starting with less, so naturally its growth numbers are going to appear higher. Notice that its weight index is much higher that Charleston to even the playing field. Charleston is just at a different level in most things, with the exception of port traffic. I say this, of course, with all due respect to Savannah- which has really turned itself around in the past 10 years.

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That's not a bad showing for the old town, I notice however that Savannah has a higher ranking than Charleston. Also, you'd think that Savannah's focus would be on leisure like Charleston's but Savannah appears to be less diversified, focusing strictly on business services and wholesale. No surprise there with the millions of square feet of warehouse space near Savannah but Charleston will be catching up soon. Charleston appears to be somewhat of a financial center to my surprise with Financial Services, Business Services, and Leisure being the metro's focus. I wonder how they overlooked the medical industry?

I don't know how they overlooked the medical industry at all. With MUSC being one of the region's largest employers, it should be included, not to mention the startling numbers of biotech startup companies being created in conjunction with MUSC. Somebody needs to write the editor on that one.

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I posted this in the developments thread but feel it belongs here. (its economic news)

Two companies receive competitive Marine contract

Hopefully one of these local companies lands the big project. I have toured both of these facilities and they are very neat.

Force Protection Inc of Ladson and Protected Vehicles Inc of North Charleston are both in the running. Force Protection currently employees over 750 people while Protected Vehicles is a smaller operation with 110 employees.

Force Protection

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Protected Vehicles

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Ladson company snares $490M Marine contract

Force Protection and General Dynamics won the contract, they beat out eight other bidders.

Last year, Force Protection rolled out 286 heavy-duty military vehicles. It plans to have the means to make 400 a month by the end of this year.

They also employ over 900 people up from 750 and plan on adding another 100.

Shares of Force Protection rose $1.82 a share, or 8.2 percent, to close at $23.97 in heavier-than-normal trading Tuesday.

The company's share price has risen 17 percent since trading moved to the Nasdaq Stock Market in January.

This is a HUGE contract for these companies.

Protected Vehicles Inc isn't doing too shabby either they just lost out on this contract, but they have been very busy at the old Navy base.

Edited by MikesLogic

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This is wonderful news for both Charleston and SC. This homegrown South Carolina company is definitely making some waves in the defense contractor industry. :tough:

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TWL Precision Ltd, a small British firm that makes truck engine parts, said Thursday that it will bring 70 jobs into a new North Charleston factory in the next few months.

The company, a unit of VTL Group, plans to open a $5 million plant in North Charleston's Landmark Business Park by the end of November to fuel a growing demand for U.S. trucks. Company executives, assisted by local attorneys, are hammering out incentive packages with the state and Charleston County.

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I figured that this thread would be a good place to post the article link below. According to the article, the Chas condo market is full of units that are up for sale, nearly 2,000 in all, compared with less than 500 in a given month just two years ago. The good news is that some condo sellers are cutting prices or offering incentives to lure buyers. However, this shows that the demand for high-priced condos was not really high, and the conversion craze that many of the apartment complexes went through has saturated the market. If condo conditions don't improve by winter, Fudgy Brabham, broker-in-charge of Harbourtowne Real Estate, predicts that buyers could find dramatically lower prices in some areas as investors cut their losses and sell at deep discounts. The danger with that type of selling, sometimes called dumping, is that it takes only a handful of deals to affect the values of nearby properties, he said.

While the economy in Chas is becoming very robust, I think these condos are being looked at skeptically in the market. Chas has been a singles' city -- singles usually want either apartments or condos -- but more and more families are wanting to move there as well. Families are usually more interested in houses. I hope that this saturation will end the conversion craze and keep the apartment complexes as rentals.

Charleston area awash with condos for sale

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Charleston County Council has approved a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with a mystery company that will soon be investing $38 million, including $9.7 million for a new manufacturing plant to be located in the Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston. The project, code named Project SG Ventures, is described in council documents as a leading U.S.-based manufacturer. The company plans to employ as many as 80 people here at an average salary of $24 an hour.

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I figured that this thread would be a good place to post the article link below. According to the article, the Chas condo market is full of units that are up for sale, nearly 2,000 in all, compared with less than 500 in a given month just two years ago.

Charleston area awash with condos for sale

Have to say, I saw that one coming for years. People were just stupid during the housing boom. And some still think there's a real consumer demand to justify all this overblown frenzy to build. Oh well. Those that can get rich on fools did pretty well here in Charleston (and most everywhere else too.)

Edited by lsgchas

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^ What upsets me is that all of these firms that owned decently priced apartment rental complexes sold their assets to other firms that converted these to condos, thereby dramatically cutting a substantial slice out of the apartment rental market. As a result the average price for renting an apartment in Chas rose significantly, hurting undergrad students, grad students, and single newcomers. The metro area now needs more apartment complexes, unless these condo-converting firms sell their properties to firms that want to rent them out.

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^ What upsets me is that all of these firms that owned decently priced apartment rental complexes sold their assets to other firms that converted these to condos, thereby dramatically cutting a substantial slice out of the apartment rental market. As a result the average price for renting an apartment in Chas rose significantly, hurting undergrad students, grad students, and single newcomers. The metro area now needs more apartment complexes, unless these condo-converting firms sell their properties to firms that want to rent them out.

Well, I know of one condo flip in my neighborhood that may typify the current trend... A developer bought an old 1970's-style 2 -story apartment complex, did some quick renovations, and started asking $219K for 900 sq foot condos. Those sat on the market for about six months with no buyers. Then they started renting them out and most of them filled up very quickly with college students. The developers still seem to be trying to sell the remaining units as condos, but the writing is on the wall. If no one wanted them before, they're definitely not going to now that the complex is filled with college students. It was a ridiculous investment/purchase for the money, and now people are wary of such deals whereas before they might have jumped in because of all the silly hype going on around here.

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Call it the price of growth and consolidation if you will, but American LaFrance was reported to have laid off a few workers, and the move to its present HQ is being blamed. According to the article below, a lack of office space at the shared north city site (shared with DaimlerChrysler AG) forced the company into an "outward migration" to four locations and the hiring of several temporary workers. The move to the more spacious Jedburg location has allowed the company to consolidate those offices.

The job cuts are small, but unfortunately, some people are going to have to look for work. According to a furloughed employee, about 40 people (10% of the 400 total workforce) have been cut. Let's hope this is the end of that trend.

American LaFrance announces job cuts

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Call it the price of growth and consolidation if you will, but American LaFrance was reported to have laid off a few workers, and the move to its present HQ is being blamed. According to the article below, a lack of office space at the shared north city site (shared with DaimlerChrysler AG) forced the company into an "outward migration" to four locations and the hiring of several temporary workers. The move to the more spacious Jedburg location has allowed the company to consolidate those offices.

The job cuts are small, but unfortunately, some people are going to have to look for work. According to a furloughed employee, about 40 people (10% of the 400 total workforce) have been cut. Let's hope this is the end of that trend.

American LaFrance announces job cuts

I remember reading that they were going to downsize a bit when making this move.

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An undisclosed industry is looking to make a more than $10 million investment in Berkeley County. County Council on Monday adopted an inducement agreement with the company, which has been labeled "Project Win." The resolution states the county will enter a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with the company under certain conditions.

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Here's an article in today's edition of the P&C about the expansion of the Mount Pleasant-based biotech company GenPharm and how it could lead to a growing biotech cluster in the area.

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Here's an article in today's edition of the P&C about how medical supply companies are blossoming in the Charleston area.

With a cluster of established equipment makers in the area and with MUSC and Clemson making a push from the academic side, Andy Reding, general director of Trumpf Medical Systems, believes Charleston soon could become one of the nation's foremost centers for operating design.

"As this cluster grows, it may get to the point where nobody in the U.S. builds an operating room without coming to Charleston because of all the great experience and expertise here," he said. "That's my goal."

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According to a survey of "knowledge-based" workers released Thursday by the city's economic development office, employees at the 80 companies that make up Charleston's "Digital Corridor" tech initiative are making $83,256 this year on average. That's more than double the average wage of $37,056 for the metro area based on figures from the state Employment Security Commission. Area tech workers are also making one-fourth more, on average, than they were last year.

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DuPont announced plans Tuesday to build a new $500 million facility in Berkeley County where it will produce Kevlar, a durable fiber used in airplane parts, gloves, and military and police protection vests. The company plans to break ground on the new plant adjacent to its existing site near Cypress Gardens on the Cooper River in January and start production in 2012. Calling the expansion

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There's a short snippet in the lastest edition of Southeast Real Estate Business magazine about the city's office market 2007 performance and predictions about 2008. Here's the jist of Charleston's entry:

The CBD

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