New SunCom headquarters on the fast track

Charleston Post and Courier
February 1, 2002

Getting anything built on time these days is unusual. But finishing two weeks early is almost miraculous, especially when the project is a 100,000-square-foot corporate headquarters with an aggressive 12-month construction schedule. Yet the team that planned, designed and built the new $14 million SunCom office on Daniel Island has managed to do just that.

“Everything but the ash trays are down there right now,” said Bill Harrison, senior vice president for developer Trammell Crow’s South Carolina operations.

SunCom, a wireless phone company, hit a milestone last week when it received its certificate of occupancy, he said. The contract called for the building to be finished by Feb. 15.

“It was quite an undertaking,” Harrison said.

Several factors helped move the project along at breakneck speed. First, the deal included extra financial incentives for SunCom and the developer if the building was ready on time. Secondly, all involved agreed, “we would be designing this project as we built it,” Harrison said. That pact was tested when SunCom decided it needed to add a computer data center as construction was at roughly the halfway point, he noted. Lastly, the project qualified for the city of Charleston’s fledgling “digital corridor” program, which was set up to encourage local investment by high-tech employers.

“One thing that does is it allows you to cut through the … red tape you have to go through with the city,” Harrison said.

Fast-track permitting shaved about three months off what normally would have been a 15-month construction schedule at best, he added. SunCom plans to move about 300 workers into the building Feb. 11 and ramp up to about 575 employees over time.

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