The industrial market in South Carolina’s Upstate remained fairly stable over the course of 2008, which is a notable accomplishment given recent occurrences in the national and global economies. Over the twelve months prior to year-end 2008 the vacancy rate in the Upstate region increased by 88 basis points, ending the year at 10.68%. Given the Upstate’s dependence on national and foreign investment, this rise in vacancy is more inconsequential than expected.
The Upstate’s employment in the sectors which most directly impact the industrial market declined during the year, although not at the rates experienced in many other areas of the state and region. From year-end 2007 to year-end 2008, employment in the manufacturing sector declined by 2,800 jobs (3.43%), while trade and transportation reportedly lost 1,700 jobs (1.58%). In comparison, job rates across the state declined by 5.10% in the manufacturing sector and 3.60% in trade and transportation. While it is clear that job losses in the Upstate have directly impacted the industrial market, a slightly higher rate of losses across the state gives evidence that the Upstate market may be better positioned to ride out the current economic downturn than other statewide and regional markets.
While the market experienced a slight downturn over the course of 2008, several significant projects were completed during the year or underway at year-end 2008. The 221,000-square-foot Commonwealth Distribution Center in Duncan was recently completed. This front-load distribution center is registered under the LEED Green Building Certification and offers energy savings to the end-user of roughly $0.33-per- square-foot or $72,900 for the entire project. While this building is one of the first LEED registered projects in South Carolina, it will likely become the future standard for industrial projects.
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