Friday, April 25, 2014
Project Slumber may end up awakening North Augusta’s downtown.
At a special conference on the afternoon of April 24, Mayor Lark Jones revealed a $12 million investment that will bring 615 jobs to North Augusta in the form of Medac, a provider of services and products to anesthesia-related health care providers.
Of those jobs, 212 will be new and about 400 employees will be brought into the community.
The partnership was brought about when the president and founder of Medac, Bijon Memar, received a call from Chris Schoen, managing principal of Greenstone Properties.
Greenstone has been working with the City of North Augusta to make Project Jackson a reality.
“We looked over the plans, and I said that this is gorgeous – with the ballpark, the restaurants and the shops all within walking distance for the employees to go places,” Memar said. “I told him that I had no idea that this project even existed. ... I’m just flabbergasted with how quickly this deal has come together.”
Will Williams, Economic Development Partnership director, said the engagement between the City and Medac started in January. Now, toward the end of April, the deal has been struck.
“The technology and resources we have; we have some of the best people in the industry working for us,” Memar said. “We’re very excited to be here, and I can’t tell you how excited we are to expand our property here. We will do everything possible to bring the jobs here, and I think our employees are all looking forward to it and moving to this area. This is a beautiful area; we love it, and we’re excited.”
Schoen said his company contacted Memar knowing they had a large employee base in this area. Medac’s current location is 804 Scott Nixon Memorial in Augusta.
“We proposed a building within Project Jackson,” Schoen said. “I think that the combination of the amenities – that his employees could have the ability to live here, work here and play here – was what was really attractive. Being able to show them the project we were doing got them excited, and we were able to produce a very efficient building for them to fit into.”
Medac’s new location will be located directly across the street from the North Augusta Municipal Building, and employees will have the ability to walk down the hill to eat at restaurants, shop retail or live in apartments once Project Jackson is completed as planned.
North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover said a lot of things were put together very quickly to close the deal.
“We teamed up with the Economic Development Partnership, we got the Department of Commerce with the state involved, and the state kicked in some incentives,” he said.
Glover said the City is obviously putting in some incentives, “but the good thing about it was that it was the perfect storm. We were going to build a (parking) deck anyway, and we were able to leverage that deck to the perfect partnership. They will use it from 8 to 5, and then, when we have large events in the stadium, they will use it at night. It’s a perfect relationship, a great company and they have had a number of years of growth.”
Glover said the City believes Medac could very easily grow beyond what it is bringing in at the start.
“What a great impact to our downtown for all of these people eating lunch, running errands and buying things; I think it is going to have a huge impact to our downtown,” Glover said. “It could transform our downtown as to what types of amenities are available as far as restaurants and things of that nature.”
North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones concluded the conference by saying all involved appreciate Memar for choosing North Augusta as the location for Medac’s corporate headquarters.
“I think most of you have figured out that Medac will be the largest single, private-sector employer in the City of North Augusta when this project comes to fruition,” he said. “As we went through the TIF project for Project Jackson, we felt very confidently that there will be what I call a “trickle-over effect” from this project. This is exactly what has happened. We are thrilled that it has happened and hope it is the first of more of these type of announcements. This project is exactly what the City and North Augusta 2000 envisioned a number of years ago when this property was assembled over here to go as a partner to the municipal center.”
Jones said this partnership shows that North Augusta “can compete” and “is a good place to do business.”
“We’re excited about having Medac here, and we’re looking forward to a very long and fruitful relationship for many years to come,” he said.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.