Permit application for SC site envisions plant that would employ 4,000 within a decade

Markets Associated Press

Amid reports Volvo may be looking at South Carolina to build a new plant, Berkeley County has applied for a permit to fill wetlands and clear land for a manufacturing operation expected to employ 4,000 workers within a decade.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a public notice Thursday that a permit is being sought for work on a site off Interstate 26 about 35 miles northwest of downtown Charleston.

Several Lowcountry lawmakers have told media outlets in recent weeks that Volvo is considering the state and money was put in a bond bill this year for a Charleston-area workforce training center.

The application says the project would include a manufacturing plant, administrative offices and a visitor center.

The AP left messages with Berkeley County officials and a Volvo spokesman. Generally government officials and companies do not discuss pending industrial developments.

The application said the county was acting as the applicant "to develop a site for an interested entity to locate, build, and operate an advanced manufacturing and assembly facility."

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The application said that about 194 acres would be filled for the project. As mitigation, the applicant would restore and enhance more than 1,500 acres in a nearby watershed that the National Audubon Society has defined as a critical area in need of protection.

The permit application said that the applicant requires a site with direct access to an interstate highway and within 50 miles of a port and an airport.

Last month, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced it will build a new assembly plant for its Sprinter vans in North Charleston, investing a half-billion dollars and creating 1,300 jobs.

The company said the vans, to be manufactured under the Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner nameplates, will allow vans to be more economically produced for the growing domestic market.