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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Transforming More Than 100 Acres

Mar 21, 2024 03:35PM ● By Donna Walker

New Park Coming to Mount Pleasant

Liollio Architecture and SeamonWhiteside (SW+), along with their team of local engineers, have been selected to provide planning, architectural, and engineering services for the newest park in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.


Once complete, the 100-acre Rifle Range Road Park will be an expansive community park.


Officials said the completed park will provide a balance of passive and active spaces, preserving this natural resource for future generations while also offering recreational amenities for the community.


The design team is led by Liollio in partnership with SW+.


The team will collaborate closely with town leadership on master planning and site programming through construction to completion.


Liollio will oversee overall project management and architectural design for a new recreation and community center. SW+ will assist in master planning, landscape architecture, and civil engineering services.


"The Liollio Team is committed to working with the Town of Mount Pleasant to provide a world-class community park experience on Rifle Range Road for decades to come, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration with SW+. Many of our team members call Mount Pleasant home, and we feel a strong sense of stewardship and responsibility for giving back to our community," said Andy Clark, principal at Liollio Architecture.


"Making a lasting impact on the community in which we live is a huge source of pride for us here at SeamonWhiteside," said Gary Collins, vice president at SeamonWhiteside.


Collins added, "Not only are we excited for our employees to join neighbors and friends in experiencing the park once complete, but we're also excited to continue working alongside Liollio on another successful project here in the Charleston area."


Connected to Mount Pleasant Way, just north of Six Mile Road, the Rifle Range Road Park will add much-needed recreational amenities to the Town of Mount Pleasant and the surrounding neighborhoods, officials said.


The new park will feature soccer fields, tennis courts, pickleball courts, beach volleyball courts, and outdoor basketball courts.


In addition to those sporting components, a performance stage, grand lawn, picnic pavilions, playground, dog park, and walking trails are in the plans, with a central community building tying it all together.


The community building will provide a two-court basketball gymnasium, a walking track, and studios for community music, art, dance, and camp activities.


Officials said Rifle Range Road Park will be adjacent to wetlands and natural areas, allowing residents to enjoy the Lowcountry environment and amenities in a quiet, rural setting.


Liollio and SeamonWhiteside have worked together on previous projects, including Ashley River Park for Dorchester County and the Tri-County region.


For nearly 70 years, Liollio has provided sustainable architecture, interior design, and historic preservation for public projects, grounded in the particulars of place, people, and landscape.


SeamonWhiteside (SW+) is a full-service site design firm providing master planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, urban design services, surveying, and permit coordination to public and private clients throughout the Carolinas.


Headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, SeamonWhiteside also has offices in Summerville, Greenville, Spartanburg, Charlotte, and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Furman's Donnelly Named Athletics Director of The Year

Furman Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Donnelly has been named Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), it was announced March 20, 2024.


 Donnelly, now in his fifth year as the head of Furman’s NCAA Division I athletics program, was among 28 honorees tabbed to receive NACDA’s AD of the Year Award (ADOY), which spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA, and Junior College/Community Colleges). 


Winners will be recognized in conjunction with the 59th Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., at the beginning of the Association-Wide Featured Session on Tuesday, June 11.


The ADOY Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.


“Our student-athletes have had several remarkable seasons in men’s and women’s sports, on the field and in the classroom,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis.


She added, “We’ve also received tremendous support from our students, alumni, fans and donors. That’s in large part to Jason’s leadership. Jason understands collegiate athletics, but more importantly he understands that at Furman we help students develop holistically, and we give them the opportunity to succeed in life after graduation.”


“NACDA is honored to continue the tradition of the Athletics Director of the Year Award and recognize a new class of individuals for 2023-24,” said Pat Manak, NACDA chief executive officer.


Manak added, “It is part of our mission to develop tomorrow’s leaders led by today’s decision makers, which is why it is so fitting that 21 of the 28 recipients of the ADOY award this year are first-time winners. We are proud to play a small role in growing the pipeline of athletics directors making an impact throughout the industry.”


The ADOY Award program is in its 26th year and has recognized a total of 584 deserving athletics directors to date.


Donnelly was hired as director of Athletics in August 2019 and promoted to vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics in 2022.


In the last reporting period Furman Athletics ranked among the nation’s best in Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and Academic Progress Rate (APR), while also claiming six Southern Conference championships and making seven NCAA Tournament appearances in 2023. 


Furman Athletics topped the SoCon in the 2022-23 Learfield Director’s Cup competition, finishing 113th out of 294 Division I institutions.


University officials said Furman’s competitive success has been supported by Donnelly’s leadership and work in the area of fundraising and engagement, evidenced in the fact that Paladin Athletics recorded its third consecutive record breaking fundraising year with over $19 million in commitments from nearly 3,000 donors, representing a 426 percent increase in annual fundraising since his arrival in 2019.


Thirty-three gifts of six or seven-figures were made last year in support of athletics, including the largest gift in Furman Athletics history — a $10 million commitment from Ravenel Curry ‘63 to headline a $40 million renovation of Timmons Arena, announced in February, that will transform the current arena into a state of the art facility while enhancing the game day experience and placing it among the best arenas in college basketball at its size and scale.


Over the last two years Furman has established new engagement and attendance records, logging a 930 percent increase in X (formerly Twitter), 800 percent increase in Facebook, and 275 percent increase in Instagram, along with three million impressions based on men’s basketball’s SoCon Tournament championship run and NCAA Tournament first round victory in 2023.


That success led to $41 million in earned media value for the university based on Nielsen Media research.


A graduate of Furman’s Riley Institute DLI, Donnelly is chair of the SoCon’s Athletic Directors Committee and on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Regional Advisory Committee.

5 South Carolina Cities Tipped by Investors as ‘Growth Frontiers’

Imagine if you could approach investing in cities with the same strategies used in stock market trading.


American cities operate with striking parallels to corporations — they offer a suite of 'services' to their 'shareholders' (the residents), they have 'revenue streams' from various taxes and funding, and their 'market value' fluctuates based on economic health and governance.


Unlike companies, however, cities aren't up for public investment.


But what if they were?


If there was a 'City Exchange,' where you could buy and sell shares in American cities as if they were stocks, which city would you purchase shares in?


Would you invest in the innovation hub of San Francisco, with its tech-driven economy? Or perhaps you'd see value in the steady growth and favorable tax climate of Austin, Texas.


Maybe the resilience and historical significance of Boston would be more appealing, especially given its education and healthcare sectors.


The Stock Dork ran a survey of 3,000 investors to create a 'City Confidence Index'.


It asked respondents:

If cities were publicly traded on stock exchanges, which would you most want to invest in?


South Carolina has five of the most investible cities in America:


North Charleston
As one of the state's major industrial centers, the city is home to key facilities like the Boeing assembly site for the Dreamliner aircraft, and a significant port operation, which contribute to its strong economy.


North Charleston's proximity to Charleston enhances its appeal, providing access to a larger metropolitan area's amenities and economic opportunities.


Charleston benefits from its rich history, its access to transportation routes such as Interstate 26 and the Port of Charleston, and its reputation as a cultural and culinary destination.


The city's economy is diverse, with strengths in industries such as tourism, healthcare, education, technology, and manufacturing. Charleston is known for its hospitality industry, with numerous hotels, restaurants, and attractions drawing visitors from around the world.


Mount Pleasant
Situated just across the Cooper River from Charleston, Mount Pleasant benefits from its proximity to the historic city, its access to transportation routes such as the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and Highway 17, and its role as a desirable residential suburb with a growing commercial sector.


The town's economy is diverse, with strengths in industries such as tourism, healthcare, education, technology, and retail. Mount Pleasant is known for its charming historic district, picturesque waterfront, and vibrant dining and shopping scene.


Additionally, the town is home to medical facilities, educational institutions, tech companies, and retail centers, providing job opportunities and economic stability for residents.


Rock Hill
Situated in the northern part of the state, Rock Hill benefits from its proximity to major transportation routes such as Interstate 77, its access to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and its role as a center for manufacturing, healthcare, education, and recreation in the region.


The city's economy is diverse, with strengths in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, retail, and hospitality.


Columbia benefits from its central position within the state, its access to major transportation routes such as Interstates 20 and 26, and its role as the state capital and a center for education, healthcare, government, military, and manufacturing.


The city's economy is diverse, with strengths in industries such as government, education, healthcare, military, manufacturing, and tourism.


The top 10 were:


Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville emerged as the most investible city in the U.S. It offers a unique investment appeal due to its extensive port facilities, which make it a key player in maritime trade. The city's strategic location in Florida also serves as a gateway for business and tourism in the Southeastern United States.


With a growing population, affordable housing, and diverse economic base including finance, healthcare, and logistics, Jacksonville could be a promising investment for those looking at long-term growth and stability.


Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Known for its beautiful beaches, boating canals, and vibrant tourism industry, Fort Lauderdale could be an attractive investment destination. The city's economy is bolstered by a thriving tourism sector, an expanding aerospace and aviation industry, and a growing technology sector.


Fort Lauderdale's appeal is also enhanced by its proximity to Miami, making it part of a larger, economically dynamic region.


Boston, Massachusetts
Boston's strength lies in its prestigious educational institutions and robust healthcare sector. The city came in third place overall. As a historical city, it also benefits from tourism and a rich cultural heritage.


Investment in Boston could be seen as investing in intellectual capital and innovation, with the potential for spillover benefits from research and development in technology, biotechnology, and healthcare sectors.


Albany, New York
Albany, the capital city of New York State, has a diversified economy centered around government, healthcare, and education. With its stable job market, growing tech scene, and rich history, Albany presents an opportunity for steady, risk-averse investment.


The city's ongoing efforts in urban revitalization and its strategic location as a gateway to other major Northeast cities add to its appeal.


Coral Springs, Florida
Coral Springs, in 5th place, is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, excellent schools, and well-planned neighborhoods. This suburban city, with its focus on community development and quality of life, could attract investors looking for stability and consistent growth.


The city’s economic development initiatives aimed at attracting small and medium-sized businesses also make it an attractive investment choice.


Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara, with its picturesque coastline and Mediterranean climate, is a prime location for tourism and high-end real estate. The city’s economy benefits from a mix of education, technology, and healthcare sectors.


Investment in Santa Barbara might appeal to those looking for a combination of luxury real estate, a strong tourism sector, and a stable local economy.


Boynton Beach, Florida
In 7th position, Boynton Beach in South Florida offers a mix of coastal living and urban convenience. The city's redevelopment initiatives, growing retail and business sectors, and attractive real estate market could make it a lucrative option for investors.


Additionally, its proximity to larger cities like West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale adds to its investment appeal.


Providence, Rhode Island
Providence's investment appeal lies in its rich cultural heritage, educational institutions like Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, and its growing healthcare sector.


The city's ongoing efforts in revitalizing its downtown and waterfront areas, along with its vibrant arts scene, make it an attractive option for those interested in urban redevelopment and cultural investments.


Tucson, Arizona
Tucson's investment potential is anchored in its unique blend of education (home to the University of Arizona), aerospace and defense industries, and a growing technology sector.


The city's affordable cost of living, coupled with its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, makes it an attractive option for a diverse range of investors.


Columbus, Ohio
Rounding up the top 10 was Columbus. As the capital city of Ohio, it boasts a diverse and robust economy with strengths in education, healthcare, finance, and technology. The city's large student population, driven by Ohio State University, fuels innovation and a dynamic workforce.


Columbus's ongoing urban development and revitalization projects, combined with a relatively low cost of living, make it an attractive investment destination for those looking at burgeoning midwestern cities.

But…South Carolina Is Ninth In List Of States Most Interested In Starting a Business, According to New Study

New research has revealed the states most interested in starting a business, with Wyoming taking the top spot. 


Business valuation experts at Eton Venture Services analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau on the number of business applications per state, excluding applications from corporations; the figures were weighed against the population to determine the final ranking. 


Wyoming tops the list as the state most interested in starting a business, with a staggering 879.08 business applications per 100,000 residents. One of the many benefits of starting a business in Wyoming is that residents are not required to pay corporate income tax or franchise tax. 


In second place is Delaware, with 423.25 business applications per 100,000 citizens. While Delaware entrepreneurs must pay a franchise tax to register a business, there are no sales or investment income taxes in this state. 


Third place goes to Florida, with 229.44 business applications per 100,000 residents. The Sunshine State is particularly suitable for LLCs and S corporations as they are exempt from state income tax. 


Montana takes the fourth spot, with 191.10 business applications per 100,000 people. The LLC filing fee is extremely low in Montana at just $35, with a small extra cost of $20 annually. 


Georgia ranks fifth, with 185.75 business applications per 100,000 citizens. Earnings through return on investment (ROI) in The Peach State are not subject to self-employment tax as long as employees or stockholders receive compensation for labor. 


In sixth place is Colorado, with 169.68 business applications per 100,000 residents. Like Montana, Colorado also has a low LLC filing fee of $50 as well as $10 every following year. 


Utah is in seventh place, with 168.79 business applications per 100,000 people. The Beehive State has a low corporate income tax rate of 4.65%, one of the lowest in the country compared to other states that require this. 


Next is Nevada in eighth place, with 158.12 business applications per 100,000 citizens. Nevada offers business owners no state income tax, inventory tax, or inheritance tax. 


Following closely behind in ninth place is South Carolina, with 139.61 business applications per 100,000 residents. Citizens who register a new business as a corporation in The Palmetto State are not required to pay wholesale or unitary tax. 


Last on the list is Arizona in tenth place, with 137.97 business applications per 100,000 people. Arizona offers several incentive programs to businesses, including the Quality Jobs Tax Credit, which offers up to $9,000 of credit for each new job created. 

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