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It’s a big week for Spartanburg County.
This week marks the 25th anniversary of BMW’s announcement that it was coming to the county Council members also announced this week the creation of 420 new jobs from 4 companies looking to locate here, and one more looking to expand.
BMW filled a huge void in Spartanburg County. It came during a time that the area’s textile industry had dried up and took 25,000 jobs with it. “It’s like dropping a meteor in a swimming pool when they made that announcement. I mean, it just blew all the water out and made us build not another swimming pool, but a lake to service them,” says Councilman David Britt.
Initially BMW committed to a $300 million investment with 2,000 jobs, and 9 suppliers, but it has only grown from there.
“Today you know they’ve invested $9 billion, 9,000 jobs, out at the Spartanburg campus, and there are over 40 suppliers,” Britt says.
Even now, the expansion continues.
This week Council announced two of the five companies looking to expand in Spartanburg are BMW suppliers, with code names like Project Royale, Project FLEX/NIA, and Project Bulldog (which straddles Cherokee County).
Combined, they’ll bring 420 new manufacturing jobs, 60 percent in the plant, and 40 percent in the office like engineering and project management.
“Companies that have nothing to do with automotive, they come here in droves because of our reputation. BMW’s flag is flying so high that the world see it,” Britt says.
There’s one more silver bullet that Britt says no other county has, and it’s the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development at the Spartanburg Community College.
“We can help hire the people, we can train the people and we can provide office space, warehouse space, manufacturing space for the companies, so it’s a great game changer,” says Mike Forrester, the Director of Economic Development at SCC.
An economic impact study of the 363,000 square foot facility found that in the last decade it’s created 20,000 jobs more than a billion dollars in earnings and $70 million in tax revenue
As for BMW’s impact, Britt credits the automaker with attracting 45,000 jobs and $16 billion in investments.
“They are the gift that keeps on giving, they truly are the golden goose,” says Britt.
The county cannot disclose the wages of the latest jobs to come to Spartanburg, since that’s up to the companies. Britt says they all pay competitively and will help improve the per capita income level in Spartanburg.