The remarks of Mayor Stephen Murray rang over an audience gathered at the Beaufort Commerce Park to witness a landmark day for the City of Beaufort. “I feel like it’s Christmas morning in the City of Beaufort. This has been a long time coming,” Murray said at the April gathering. “Today is almost 10 years in the making. My predecessor, Billy Keyserling, purchased the Beaufort Commerce Park out of foreclosure and took a number of political arrows for doing so. Fast forward five to six years and we’ve kept our head down and we’ve kept our focus on improving this park to create opportunity.”
The City of Beaufort’s Commerce Park has begun to look a lot different in recent months. For years the park sat vacant, with a lot of trees and a less than stellar entrance road. What seemingly occurred overnight was three development projects – initiating a transition in perception.
But the framework for success was in place long before these projects broke ground and was spearheaded by trailblazing leadership throughout the city. Individuals such as past Mayor Keyserling, current Mayor Murray, and City Manager Bill Prokop set the tone for these projects to occur.
This tone in leadership and the collaboration by willing partner organizations is building something unique and special at the Beaufort Commerce Park. An investment and vote of confidence from Magnus Development Partners was spurred by the efforts of many. Among them are the City Council of Beaufort, the city’s leadership, and its proactive planning department; Dominion Energy’s contribution in utility tax credits; South Carolina Department of Commerce’s contribution through state grants; Avison Young’s dogged marketing efforts; Alliance Engineering and GEL Engineering’s efforts and work at the park; the county for its part in the road repaving; and the Southern Carolina Alliance for their partnership and marketing efforts.
These are just a few of the organizations that played a role in the success at Beaufort Commerce Park. It’s hard not to think of the old Greek proverb, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Or, as Sen. Tom Davis put it, “What we have here is the physical manifestation of the potential that Beaufort County has had for years.”
The Magnus Speculative building has an expected completion date of February 2022 and has already garnered interest from several manufacturing companies considering a move to Beaufort County.
Charlie Stone is the senior project manager for BCEDC. thrivebeaufort.org