The Post and Courier recently reported that tech company Blackbaud will be investing more than $150 million in the Charleston market. Blackbaud is a software company that caters to philanthropic industries. Valued at over $2.7 billion Blackbaud is South Carolina’s third largest publicly traded company. The investment will build a new 360,000 square-foot headquarters on Daniel Island scheduled to break ground later this year and will subsequently add 300 jobs to the Charleston market. This expansion is slated to roll out over the next five years. The headquarters are intended to serve as a centralized campus, in what Blackbaud CEO Michael Gianoni refers to as a “generational investment.” Blackbaud has outgrown their current building on Daniel Island Drive, right next to the Blackbaud Soccer stadium. The lease on their current property runs out in 2024, this coupled with the company’s growth, inspired them to search for a new global headquarters. Charleston happily received the announcement that they have chosen to remain on Daniel Island, just a mile from their existing office.
Blackbaud relocated to the Lowcountry thirty years ago from New York. They have grown to employee 3,100 people and are a forerunner in South Carolina’s technology scene. The new facility is designed with employees in mind, offering game rooms, a fitness center, hiking trails and a cafeteria offering locally sourced food. The facility will also include space to “incubate emerging nonprofits” and to bring in Charleston-area elementary school children to Camp Blackbaud, a program that teaches them to code and design.
The Berkeley County Council is still refining Blackbaud’s incentive package. It is designed to give Blackbaud property tax breaks over 30 years, pending a minimum investment of $150 million by 2029. This is the largest investment to come to Berkeley County since Volvo announced their new $500 million factory to be built near Ridgeville of Interstate 26. SC Commerce Department has also offered Blackbaud financial incentives such as claiming tax credits associated with the new jobs being created. This is contingent upon Blackbaud meeting minimum salary requirements. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt stated “Right now, we are known pretty well as a strong manufacturing state. Building airplanes and cars and other things is a fabulous thing — it’s good for the tax base — but also we would like to diversify our economy into more service-related, non-manufacturing labor. ... Blackbaud helps us in that direction.”
The new facility will be located in an area of proposed growth for Berkeley County on Fairchild Street, off of River Landing Drive. There are plans in the works for offices, apartments and a gas station in the span of land located off of Interstate 526. The good news for potential new Blackbaud employees is that there is ample choice in new construction homes available nearby, offering buyers a diverse selection of styles and prices. Berkeley County offers a wealth of new communities, both master-planned and smaller scale, and West Ashley and Mount Pleasant are both a short commute down Interstate 526.
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