2005-12-21 / Front Page

2005 was a ‘fair year’ for capital investment

By LARRY HILLIARD Ledger Staff Writer larry@gaffneyledger.com

This year won’t be one for the record books when it comes to capital investment, the local chief industrial recruiter said.

“It’s been a fair year,” said Jim Inman, executive director of the Cherokee County Development Board. “We haven’t had a lot of new companies, but we will have some expansions and that will make it a little better. Even though the economy is improving, the overall perception of business is to be cautious.”

Inman said the county attracted between $50 and $70 million in capital investment in 2005. The exact figure won’t be released until February when the Development Board presents its annual report to Cherokee County Council.

Inman said technological advances have caused companies to re-think their expansion plans.

“Aided by new technology, the companies can now make things in their present location with fewer people,” he said.

SpectAL and Universal Molding were the only two new companies to locate in the county this year, Inman said.

Canadian-based SpectAL, which supplies more than 75 percent of all school bus windows in North American, employs between 30 and 50 workers.

The company looked at 30 structures in three states before settling on the former Pan American Screw building on Hwy. 105.

Universal Molding, which makes CD cases, located in the former Phoenix Finishing plant at Meadowcreek Industrial Park.

Inman said the companies which announced expansions this year want to remain anonymous.

Capital investment hit a record high of $396 million in 2001. Most of that investment can be attributed to Duke Power’s decision to build a $300 million energy generating plant near Blacksburg.

But 2006 could eclipse that figure if Duke decides to build its $4 to $6 billion nuclear plant here.

“That would make a big difference,” Inman said.

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