Army moving into $2.5 million building in Summerville

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Andy Owens
July 8, 2008

The Army has leased warehouse and office space in a 61,000-square-foot building on U.S. Highway 78 near Jedburg Road. The move will triple the number of soldiers coming through the Summerville area, to about 275.

The building, which Carithers Real Estate of Anderson purchased for $2.5 million from International Center LLC, was leased using federal money administered through the S.C. Budget and Control Board.

The facility will house the 1223rd Vertical Engineer Company and a forward support company of the 1st Battalion of the 118th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, said Col. Brad Owens, construction and facilities management officer for the S.C. Army National Guard.

“This is all part of the Army transformation, which has to do with not only transforming from a divisional base to a brigade base outfit but also the growth of the Army, which also impacts the South Carolina Army National Guard,” said Owens, who called the economic impact of the new facility “tremendous.”

“You’re basically tripling the in-day soldiers in Summerville,” he said. “We needed a new facility in Summerville that would house up to 300 people.”

Army transformation is a shift in organizational strategy that came about after the 9/11 terror attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The goal of transformation is to provide an efficient, maneuverable and modern military force that can be deployed more effectively in a variety of circumstances. The effort has been touted by military leaders and politicians for several years and includes transitioning from divisions to modular brigade units.

The new facility won’t replace the National Guard Armory at 95 Owens Drive in Summerville. That facility will be used as a contingency building, Owens said, and will eventually be turned over to the town when the National Guard moves into a new armory near the city’s recreation center around 2014.

“This is not in lieu of the new construction we have planned in Summerville,” Owens said.

The property on U.S. Highway 78 should be ready to move into in 90 days, Owens said. Carithers Real Estate is modifying and outfitting the property according to the Army’s request for proposal.

The move to Summerville is one of several ongoing initiatives in South Carolina, said John Shuler, deputy adjutant general for state operations.

The brigade headquarters of the S.C. Army National Guard is moving from Newberry to Johnson Hagood Stadium at The Citadel. The move will allow the National Guard to have an emergency operations center on the coast if a hurricane threatens and is part of the renovations and expansion at the stadium.

“We’ve never had a forward EOC on the coast,” Shuler said, adding that the facility would allow for guard troops to ride out even intense storms, enabling them to assist in a recovery operation more quickly.

Also, Clemson University is working on an economic impact study for the S.C. Army National Guard to show how much money the Guard brings into the state. That report is expected in early October.

Carithers Real Estate is a commercial real estate company operating in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Owner and founder Marshall Carithers said the company has been in business for about 40 years and specializes in federal, state and municipal facilities, warehouse-type retailers such as Lowe’s, major chain retailers and regionally owned businesses.

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