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How this rail-served ‘megasite’ could spur development in Kershaw County

Christina Lee Knauss //January 11, 2023//

How this rail-served ‘megasite’ could spur development in Kershaw County

Christina Lee Knauss //January 11, 2023//

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More than 1,400 acres in Kershaw County have been designated a CSX Select Site by the Jacksonville-based transportation company.

Known as the Central South Carolina Megasite, the 1,426-acre location is in the town of Lugoff.

Select Sites are premium, certified rail-served sites ready for industrial development and expansion, according to material from CSX.

 The sites are located along the CSX network, and standard land use considerations and comprehensive due diligence items have been previously addressed, according to a news release. The properties are able to meet the needs of a wide variety of manufacturers, significantly reducing the time required to construct facilities and ultimately bring products to market.

There are two other Select Sites in the state, located at the White Hawk Commerce Park in Florence and the West Branch Commerce Park in Moncks Corner.

“South Carolina has a strong track record of attracting industrial projects with significant investment,” Tom Tisa, head of business development at CSX, said in the release. “The Central South Carolina Megasite is an outstanding location for another high-impact investment that capitalizes on the environmental advantages of rail and CSX’s commitment to helping customers lower their carbon footprint.”

CSX introduced the Select Site program in 2012 to better serve new and existing customers on its network and those of its short line partners. CSX works with Austin Consulting, a nationally known site-selection consulting firm, to screen candidate sites and assist communities with the application and certification process.

“It’s rare to find a property this large that is adjacent to both a railroad mainline and an interstate highway at an existing interchange, with all utilities on site,” said Jonathan Gemmen, senior director for Austin Consulting.

Kershaw County officials first identified the megasite property over 15 years ago as an opportunity to attract a large industrial user that could generate new jobs and investment.  The county has since performed all the necessary due diligence studies, such as environmental, archaeological, endangered species, wetland delineation and multiple geotechnical studies, according to the release.  Large portions of the megasite have been cleared and a 500,000-gallon water tank is under construction on the north end of the site.

Access to the 1,426-acre site is located a half mile north of Interstate 20, less than a 30-minute drive northeast of downtown Columbia.

Nelson Lindsey, president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance, said the announcement will have a big impact on the future of Kershaw County and the Midlands as a whole.

“When a community is being considered for a large mega-project, usually the time frame for those projects is extremely fact, so having all the due diligence completed will allow any company that wants to come in here to move quickly,” Lindsey told SC Biz News. “This site can accommodate very large industrial projects and there are very few sites of its magnitude in the state. This offers a big advantage not only for Kershaw County but for the entire region.”