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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: A Win-Win

Dec 19, 2022 10:16AM ● By David Dykes

Affiliate of Phoenix Investors Acquires Fujifilm Campus in Greenwood, SC

An affiliate of Phoenix Investors announced the acquisition of the Fujifilm North American Campus in Greenwood, S.C.

Terms weren’t disclosed.

Home to FUJIFILM Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc. since 1988, the property spans more than 2.7 million square feet over 500 acres. Fujifilm has leased back approximately 50 percent of the campus.

Constructed in a tier-one manner over the span of 17 years from 1988 through 2005, the campus is comprised of 11 buildings and has heavy power and infrastructure.

Officials said the buildings are ideal for manufacturing and logistics, featuring clear heights ranging up to 72 feet, 142 dock doors, approximately 17 drive-in doors, and over 2,000 parking spaces. 

Approximately 1.4 million square feet of space will be marketed for lease to new tenants.

Fujifilm will keep over 300 employees at the Greenwood site for manufacturing and administrative purposes.

"We look forward to working with Phoenix Investors to create a productive and enjoyable working environment for our valued employees," said Jun Higuchi, president of the FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation, president and CEO of the FUJIFILM North America Corporation, and chairman of the FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas Corporation.

"For over the last twelve years, we have successfully redeveloped single-tenant manufacturing campuses like this one into successful multi-tenant facilities," said David Marks, president and CEO of Phoenix Investors.

"The result will be a win-win outcome for Fujifilm, our new industrial tenants, the local Greenwood community, and Phoenix Investors. It was a pleasure working with the Fuji team on finding a creative solution to allow Fuji to continue to operate with a smaller footprint within the campus while making high-quality industrial space available to new potential employers within the region."

The transaction was brokered by James Medbery, Doug Faris, and Shaun Kirchin of Binswanger.

Phoenix Investors is a leading expert in the acquisition, renovation, and releasing of former manufacturing facilities in the United States.

Phoenix's affiliate companies hold equity interests in a portfolio of industrial properties totaling approximately 61 million square feet spanning 29 states.

USDA Invests in Rural SC to Create Economic Opportunities, Rehabilitate Homes for The Underserved

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced that USDA is investing $102 million to expand access to housing and water infrastructure for underserved rural people who live and work in 47 states and American Samoa.

“South Carolina will be receiving $501,053 in this round of funding,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development South Carolina State Director Dr. Saundra Glover. 

“These projects will help advance equity in distressed rural communities by providing critical rehabilitation, repairs and accessibility modifications to many homes and will also assist socially disadvantaged groups to expand economic opportunities for those who live and work in their rural communities.”

The funding will benefit the citizens living and working in rural South Carolina.

For example, in South Carolina. 

* Rural Urban Progressive Cooperative in Sumter County is receiving a $129,255 Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant to provide technical assistance to Cooperative members. Specifically, they will help members to cooperatively produce high quality specialty crops, follow food safety guidelines, and direct market their produce. It is expected that about fifty farmers will participate in this training.

* The SC Beef Marketing Cooperative is receiving a $85,000 Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant to provide technical assistance to cooperative members in Oconee County. It is expected that 26 members will participate in the training and more farmers will join the SC Beef Marketing Cooperative as a result of this assistance. 

* Voorhees University in Bamberg County is receiving two grants totaling $93,798 to purchase seven heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems campus-wide. The improvements will allow Voorhees University to upgrade its HVAC systems in the living and learning communities, academic buildings, and student services buildings.

* Williamsburg Enterprise Community Commission is receiving a $65,000 Housing Preservation Grant. This Rural Development investment will be used to assist very-low-income homeowners with a variety of home repairs and improvement projects. It is expected that this project will benefit 16, owner-occupied, single-family homes located in Williamsburg County.

* Horry Co. W&S is receiving a $150,000 Housing Preservation Grant. This Rural Development investment will be used to repair 15 rural residents’ homes. The project will enable these homes to receive critical rehabilitation, repairs and accessibility modifications.

Highland Baking Company Expanding Spartanburg County Operations

 Highland Baking Company, a wholesale bread baking company, announced plans to expand its existing facility in Spartanburg County.

The company’s $35 million investment will create approximately 80 jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Established in 1984 and based in Northbrook, Ill., Highland Baking Company specializes in producing and distributing custom bread products for national and international restaurant chains.

The Spartanburg facility, in operation for 10 years, produces 17 different bakery products including pan bread varieties, buns and sub rolls.

In addition to serving some of the company’s largest customers on the East Coast of the United States, products from the Spartanburg plant are exported to Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.

Located at 7001 Asheville Highway in Spartanburg, the company will upgrade its existing building and infrastructure to support a new full production line, Commerce officials said.

The expansion will also allow for a potential additional production line in the future to ensure the company efficiently meets increasing supply demands, the officials said.

The expansion is expected to be complete by October 2023. Those interested in joining Highland Baking Company should go to the company’s website

The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development awarded a $100,000 Set-Aside grant to Spartanburg County to assist with costs of site preparation and building improvements.

Furman To Build Inclusivity, Belonging In STEM Fields As Part Of $8.6 Million Grant

Furman University is part of a 15-school cohort awarded $8.625 million by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for the purpose of creating a more inclusive environment for students pursuing STEM fields.

The initiative, HHMI Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3), challenges U.S. colleges and universities to substantially and sustainably build their capacity for student belonging, especially for those who have been historically excluded from the sciences.

In all, HHMI will invest $60 million over six years for IE3 spread over roughly 100 participating institutions.

Furman will host the program coordinator for its Learning Community Cluster (LCC). Furman’s portion of the $8.625 million awarded to the LCC is $931,600.

To achieve its goal, HHMI has awarded 104 institutions, divided into seven LCCs, that will tackle one of three challenges: 1) How to make the content of the introductory science experience more inclusive 2) How to evaluate effective inclusive teaching, and then reward faculty accordingly in terms of promotion and tenure and 3) How to create genuine partnerships between two- and four-year colleges and universities so that transfer students have a more inclusive experience.

Furman’s 15-member LCC, (LCC1) will focus on content of the introductory science experience.

Specifically, the LCC will implement three coordinated projects: facilitate faculty training in the core values of equity, social justice, and inclusive pedagogy; elevate the student voice, improve the student experience and situate students as agents of change through engagement and leadership; and engage faculty, staff and students in the process of making sustainable changes to curricular offerings within introductory courses.

 “This project will transform the student experience in STEM at Furman,” said Alison Roark, associate professor of biology and program director. “Our primary goals are to increase retention of students with historically disadvantaged identities, to cultivate a sense of belonging, and to facilitate student success in STEM.”

Lauren Jarocha, assistant professor of chemistry at Furman and curricular change project leader, said, “This grant gives us the opportunity to take a holistic look at our curriculum – the courses in our majors, the content of our classes, and the programming we offer to our students – across all our science and math departments.”

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