By Mark Farris, GADC President and CEO
Greenville is constantly evolving and redefining itself, especially when it comes to economic development.
Swift flowing water from our local rivers, combined with less expensive and available labor, made Northern textile magnates take notice of Greenville County during the U.S. Industrial Revolution. The Reedy was perfect for water-powered looms that could be operated by Scot-Irish farmers who found it difficult to work the rocky soil for anything much more than life-sustaining crops.
Thanks to the same work ethic and a natural aptitude and skill set for manufacturing, value-added processing for automotive, aviation and advanced materials became signature industry sectors. Some 100 years later Greenville workers are assembling sophisticated aircraft, precision medical devices and complex automotive parts for the entire world.
Yet once again, the business landscape is undergoing significant change. For the first time in our history, the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) announced more office and corporate headquarters locations than for manufacturing in 2018. The numbers for the past several years indicate this industry diversification will be a continuing trend.
With an unparalleled quality of life, convenient location and talented, available workforce, office operations are flocking to Greenville to take advantage of these assets. Without many of the hassles like higher costs and ceaselessly clogged roadways that come with larger metropolitan locations, many companies have started to discover that everything they need to run an efficient office or corporate headquarters can be found right here. And they can be assured that the community will partner with them to help achieve their goals and will reflect their company values.
New Class A space is being built to meet the increasing demand for amenity-rich office environments. Projects such as those at Camperdown, University Ridge and Verdae promise to provide the kind of contemporary office space that high-profile corporations covet as they compete for the best and brightest associates.
Co-working and shared space developments including Endeavor and Serendipity Labs are meeting the needs of smaller startup ventures, continuing the entrepreneurial buzz created by NEXT which continues to expand as well. Projects on the drawing board for 2019 will add to this inventory of offices that support creativity.
Surrounding municipalities in Greenville County are also benefitting from this trend of new office development. For example, Mauldin’s BridgeWay Station will offer a unique “live-work-play” concept that is a relatively new model for our area.
Here at the Greenville Area Development Corporation, we are working with local partners and allies to facilitate this business evolution. As we enter the second decade for the new millennium, business diversity supported by new office and corporate headquarter locations will only encourage a more stable local economy. And it will add to Greenville’s deserved reputation as one of the best places to live and work in all of America!