MARKET INSIGHTS
Commercial real estate offices in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina

South Carolina

Charleston Office
25 Calhoun Street
Suite 220
P.O. Box 610 (29402)
Charleston, SC 29401
USA (Map)
Tel: +1 843 723 1202

Columbia Office
1301 Gervais Street
Suite 600
Columbia, SC 29201
USA (Map)
Tel: +1 803 254 2300

Greenville Office
55 E. Camperdown Way
Suite 200
Greenville, SC 29601
USA (Map)
Tel: +1 864 297 4950

2016 Regional Overview: Greenville/Spartanburg, SC

Getting to Know the Region

  • South Carolina’s Greenville/Spartanburg region consists of six counties, which make up the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin and Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).
  • A strong economy, pro-business environment and efficient logistics collectively support major industries.
  • Population growth is strong, as residents and businesses are attracted to the region’s high quality of life and low cost of living.

  • INTERSTATE:
    I-85 I-26
    I-385

  • AIR:
    Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)

  • RAIL:
    CSX
    Norfolk Southern

  • PORTS:
    Port of Charleston
    SC Inland Port (Greer)

Connectivity to Other Markets

Accessibility to other markets is becoming a primary factor in site selection for both businesses and residents. Businesses look to cut transportation costs and expand market access, while residents enjoy the many weekend and day trips to nearby cities. Major interstates run through the region, allowing short drive-time access to Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Columbia and Charleston, SC, among others.

The Upstate region’s efficient logistics, including the Inland Port’s direct connection to the Port of Charleston and the network of interstates and rail lines, provides companies access to regional and global markets. South Carolina ports play a vital role in the continued success of the companies investing in the Greenville/Spartanburg industrial market by expediting delivery of imports and exports, as well as reducing the cost on the transportation of goods. The Inland Port recorded 9,392 rail lifts in August 2016, a 28.3% increase from a year ago. The location of the inland port extends the reach of the Port of Charleston and its customers beyond South Carolina’s borders. Total volume at the fiscal year to date shows a 3.4% increase over the 2015 fiscal year to date. The Port of Charleston continues to grow with no signs of slowing down, as it undergoes the construction of a new terminal in North Charleston and a recently funded deepening of its harbor to 52 feet by 2019.

The combined success of the Inland Port and increased demand within South Carolina markets has led the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) to announce plans for a second inland port facility. The SCPA is working with CSX, the other Class 1 rail service in the state, in Dillion county and plans to finalize their decision by the end of the year. To further facilitate the ease of transport in South Carolina, the Senate passed a legislative bill committing $4 billion to fix the major interstate bottlenecks throughout the state. The completion of the improvements along these routes will be key to the companies reliant on these routes for distribution of goods.

Economy and Labor Market

The region’s economy is largely driven by manufacturing, professional and business services and a growing retiree and tourism industry.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), gross domestic product (GDP) for the region totaled $52.5 billion in 2015, accounting for 26.4% of South Carolina’s total GDP. Manufacturing and professional and business services made up 36.5% and 29.8% of the region’s total GDP for these sectors, respectively.

Historically, manufacturing has been the region’s leading labor force and economic driver. More recently, finance and business services are playing a greater role in the region’s GDP than they did in the past. In 2015, the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector accounted for 12.9% of the region’s total GDP, compared to 11.5% of in 2001. Additionally, professional and business services, which accounted for just 8.2% of total GDP in 2001, made up 11.7% of total GDP in 2015. While manufacturing continues to have a significant positive impact on the region, other business and finance-related sectors are playing a greater role in the region’s economy.

Major Sectors as a Percent of Greenville/Spartanburg GDP (2015)

Greenville/Spartanburg GDP as a Percent of South Carolina's GDP (2015)

  • All Industry

  • Manufacturing

  • Professional & Business Services

  South Carolina   Greenville/Spartanburg

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Colliers International Research

Supported by a business-friendly environment, state and local tax incentives, efficient logistics, right-to-work status and a talented labor force, the region has successfully recruited investments from various domestic and foreign companies.

2015 was a significant year for the Upstate, with total capital investments of $1.3 billion, contributing to a five-year total of $9.6 billion. Over $1.5 billion worth of investments were made between January and November of 2016 alone, contributing to more than 4,000 new jobs. Foreign companies continued to show great interest in the market, contributing to 44.4% of all projects in the same time frame.

The most recent investment in the Upstate region came from Teijin, a Japanese company that will be producing carbon fibers in Greenwood County. The company announced an investment of $600 million to construct a new facility on a 440-acre site off Highway 246, near the Fujifilm facility. The Teijin plant is expected to generate 220 new jobs. The announcement is the largest investment in the state since the company’s competitor, Toray industries, announced a $1 billion investment and the creation of 500 jobs in 2014.

While several new companies have entered the market, companies like Michelin North America are expanding in the Upstate. The French company announced a $270 million investment, with 350 new jobs, in Spartanburg County in October 2016. The investment will fund five distribution buildings totaling 3.3 million square feet. Construction of the buildings will stagger over the next two years with the first phase delivering at the end of 2017. The facility will be fully built in 2019. Michelin has been expanding in South Carolina since it came to the state in 1975 and now employs more than 8,500 people across the state.

2015-2016 Highlighted Capital Investments | Greenville & Spartanburg, SC
COMPANY COUNTY INVESTMENT JOBS CREATED INDUSTRY
Teijin Ltd. Greenwood $600,000,000 220 Advanced Materials
Michelin North America, Inc. Spartanburg $270,000,000 350 Advanced Materials
Dollar Tree Cherokee/ Spartanburg $104,400,000 400 Consumer Goods
Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Inc. Greenville $100,000,000 0 Advanced Materials
Rite Aid Corporation Spartanburg $90,000,000 600 Consumer Goods
Ritrama Spartanburg $85,000,000 150 Advanced Materials
Techtronic Industries NA Anderson $85,000,000 216 Manufacturing
Tower International Greenville $75,000,000 140 Automotive
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors Laurens $71,000,000 35 Automotive
BASF Seneca Oconee $60,000,000 N/A Advanced Materials
Fitesa Simpsonville Inc. Greenville $52,000,000 38 Advanced Materials
Magna International Greenville $50,800,000 153 Automotive
Jiangnan Mold Plastic Technology Spartanburg $45,000,000 150 Advanced Materials
Kobelco Construction Machinery USA Spartanburg $41,000,000 131 Manufacturing

Source: Upstate SC Alliance, South Carolina Department of Commerce, Colliers International

Wage rates are up over recent years, given the economic recovery, skilled labor force and competition among employers. Annual wages for all occupations in South Carolina averaged $40,580 in 2015, remaining below the national average annual wage of $48,320.

The annual wage for all occupations in the Upstate region averaged $41,360 in 2015. Annual wages vary given skill-level and ranged from approximately $29,660 to $98,800 among major employment sectors. The average hourly wage for all sectors was $19.72 and the median hourly wage was $15.68.

As of September of 2016, approximately 555,700 individuals were employed by a non-agricultural job in the region. Similar to other markets across the United States, the Greenville/Spartanburg area was adversely affected during the recent economic downtown and lost 57,000 jobs as a result. The economy has since recovered, regaining all jobs lost and creating an additional 29,800 jobs, or 5.7% greater employment than the pre-recession peak of 525,900 jobs in December 2007.

Major employment sectors include manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, and education and health services. Manufacturing employment made up 15.4% of total non-agricultural employment in September of 2016, with 85,400 individuals employed in the field. Manufacturing employment is on the rise throughout the region and has surpassed the pre-recession peak of 84,100 jobs. Professional and business services accounted for 15.8% of total non-agricultural employment in September of 2016 with 87,700 jobs. The sector has been growing over recent years. In December of 2007, the sector made up only 13.1% of total employment and employed around 75,000 individuals.

Employment by Sector & Percent of Total Employment
(September 2016)

  • TRADE, TRANSPORTATION & UTILITIES
    110,700; 19.9%

  • PROFESSIONAL & BUSINESS SERVICES
    87,700; 15.8%

  • MANUFACTURING
    85,400; 15.4%

  • GOVERNMENT
    83,200; 15.0%

  • EDUCATION & HEALTH SERVICES
    62,200; 11.2%

  • LEISURE & HOSPITALITY
    53,600; 9.6%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Largest Employers | Greenville, SC
COMPANY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES INDUSTRY COUNTY
State of South Carolina 12,162 Government Region
Greenville Health System 10,925 Health Services Greenville
Greenville County Schools 9,580 Education Greenville
BMW Manufacturing Corp 7,000 Manufacturing Spartanburg
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System 5,000 Health Services Spartanburg
Clemson University 4,575 Education Pickens
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System 3,975 Health Services Greenville
AnMed Health 3,417 Health Services Anderson
Milliken & Company 3,400 Manufacturing Region
US Government 3,358 Government Region
GE Power & Water 3,300 Engineering Greenville
Duke Energy Corporation 3,200 Energy Oconee, Greenville

Source: Colliers International Research

Education

The region is home to multiple public and private universities, as well as technical college systems, collectively offering training and education programs that support the growing Upstate labor force.

Clemson University is a public research university located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

80+ majors and 75+ minors
110+ graduate degree programs
17:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 17,260
Graduate: 4,597

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is an award-winning and nationally recognized campus strategically focused on automotive and motorsports research.

CU-ICAR is home to the nation’s only graduate program in Automotive Engineering, through Clemson University.

Converse College is a private liberal arts university in Spartanburg.

30 undergraduate majors
7 graduate degree programs
12:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 827
Graduate: 567

Furman University is a private university located in Greenville, South Carolina.

33 majors and 12 minors
7 certifications
11:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 2,810
Graduate: 163

Greenville Technical College offers courses at four campuses located across Greenville County.

100 academic programs
Degrees Awarded: skill-specific certificates, focused diplomas and associate degrees

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 12,592

Spartanburg Community College offers more than 100 programs of study taking between 4 months to 2 years to complete.

100+ associate degree, certificate and diploma programs

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 5,495

The University of South Carolina has two Upstate campuses located in Greenville and Spartanburg.

31 majors and 32 minors
5 graduate degree programs
18:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 5,397
Graduate: 188

Wofford College is a private liberal arts college located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

25 majors and 20 minors
11:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Fall 2014 Enrollment:
Undergraduate: 1,658

The Greenville/Spartanburg counties consists of 17 school districts. Many schools offer magnet programs and place a strong emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

2014 School District Rankings | Greenville & Spartanburg, SC
COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT 2014 ABSOLUTE RATING ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS MIDDLE SCHOOLS HIGH SCHOOLS TOTAL ENROLLMENT
Anderson 1 Excellent 7 3 3 9,609
Anderson 2 Excellent 3 2 1 3,768
Anderson 3 Excellent 3 1 1 2,624
Anderson 4 Excellent 4 1 1 2,886
Anderson 5 Good 10 5 3 12,753
Greenville 1 Excellent 51 19 14 75,135
Laurens 55 Excellent 6 4 1 6,057
Laurens 56 Average 3 1 1 3,077
Pickens 1 Excellent 16 5 4 16,517
Spartanburg 1 Excellent 6 3 2 5,057
Spartanburg 2 Excellent 8 3 2 10,062
Spartanburg 3 Excellent 4 2 1 2,944
Spartanburg 4 Excellent 1 1 1 2,783
Spartanburg 5 Excellent 6 2 1 8,099
Spartanburg 6 Excellent 9 3 1 11,037
Spartanburg 7 Excellent 6 3 1 7,106
Union 1 Average 5 3 1 4,148

Source: South Carolina Department of Education

Living Here

The Greenville/Spartanburg region provides a high quality of life for families and young professionals alike. The area features various outdoor recreational opportunities such as white water rafting, kayaking and scenic hiking trails in the area’s many lakes, rivers, parks and Blue Ridge Mountains. Year-round festivals include concerts and food, which are sure to be fun for everyone. Falls Park on the Reedy, located in Greenville’s downtown, home to the single-suspension Liberty Bridge, hosts activities and serves as a gathering place for residents and tourists. Downtown is vibrant, with restaurants and retail boutiques for daytime entertainment, and features a booming nightlife with bars and a growing brewery scene.

Between January and October of 2016, 67,452 homes have sold in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Realtors Association, more than 18,600 homes were sold in the combined Greater Greenville, Spartanburg and Western Upstate regions, a 7.3% increase over the 2015 year-to-date. Median home prices are on the rise in the three areas. The median home prices for the year-to-date in Greater Greenville, Spartanburg and Western Upstate increased 5.9%, 6.7% and 9.1%, respectively, since the same period of 2015. The Greater Greenville area contains the highest home prices among the three areas, with a median home price of $180,000. The median home price in Spartanburg and Western Upstate was $144,000 and $150,000, respectively.

Historical Median Home Prices

YTD 2016 Total Closed Home Sales (January - October)

  Greater Greenville
  Spartanburg
  Western Upstate

Total Closed Home Sales
Change from YTD 2015

Greater Greenville: +6.7%
Spartanburg: +7.0%
Western Upstate: +9.1%

Commercial Real Estate in Greenville

Commercial real estate is strengthening as the economy improves. Construction starts are finally on the rise, rental rates are reaching historically-high levels in many markets and vacancy rates are trending down for most property types. South Carolina’s commercial real estate markets closely mirror these national trends and are welcoming significant interest from both users and investors.

The office market includes 147 office buildings, accounting for 10.0 million square feet throughout the region. The industrial market consists of 204.2 million square feet in 2,894 industrial buildings across Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union counties. The region’s retail market is made up of 16.3 million square feet in 223 anchored shopping centers.

  • OFFICE
    147 buildings
    10.0 million SF

  • INDUSTRIAL
    2,894 buildings
    204.2 million SF

  • RETAIL
    223 centers
    16.3 million SF

  • MULTIFAMILY
    57,598 units

Based on commercial real estate inventory tracked by Colliers International South Carolina.

Conditions are improving for Greenville’s office market, which is experiencing an influx of interest from tenants and investors. Rental rates are inching upwards, indicating a healthy market. Tenants are competing for space in the Central Business District (CBD) as large blocks of contiguous, Class A space run low. Responding to the current shortage of space, several developers are venturing into adaptive reuse developments bringing a highly desirable cool factor to Greenville’s CBD office space. Through adaptive reuse, developers are redeveloping and repurposing older buildings into office and mixed-used developments. The trend is happening in markets nationwide as certain companies move from traditional office space to open floor plans and collaborative work spaces in repurposed buildings.

The Greenville/Spartanburg industrial market has experienced significant improvement and growth over recent quarters with new speculative and build-to-suit construction stronger than it has been in years. Improved logistics, tax incentives and a skilled labor force are attracting companies from a wide array of sectors seeking light manufacturing and assembly plants as well as distribution and warehouse space. The resulting effect has been a tightening industrial market with increasing rental rates, strong capital investments and significant construction activity.

The Greenville/Spartanburg retail market continues to experience significant interest from national retailers and grocers looking to enter the Upstate market, oftentimes with a first South Carolina location. Options for existing quality space is limited, as much of the vacant space is located in older shopping centers or outside of the prime retail intersections. Tenants are competing for space, and new construction has been the gateway for many retailers looking to enter or expand in the market. Some retailers are backfilling vacant big boxes, which are being renovated to accommodate new retailers.

The Greenville/Spartanburg multifamily market is booming with new construction. Market fundamentals are strong, as population growth and job creation continue. Occupancy remains over 90.0% with rental rates increasing. Strong demand for multifamily units coupled with rising construction costs are driving up rental rates. According to MPF research, as of the third quarter of 2015, rates increased 6.1% over the previous year, the greatest year-over-year increase since the first quarter of 2011.

Commercial Real Estate Growth Cycle: Where the market stands and where it is going.

NEW CONSTRUCTION RENTAL RATE EMPLOYMENT OCCUPANCY

Current real estate conditions are favorable and motivate investment sales, capital investment and new construction. Occupancy and rental rates are increasing across all property types and tenant interest remains strong. Construction is beginning to gain momentum in response to demand but remains limited, further contributing to escalating rental rates.

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Regional Demographics

The Greenville/Spartanburg region, which makes up nearly 25% of South Carolina’s population, offers favorable demographics, with strong population growth and a skilled, educated labor force.

* ESRI forecast
** ESRI estimate

POPULATION
2021: 1,276,855*
2016: 1,209,861**
2010: 1,137,380 (Census)

HOUSEHOLDS
2021: 489,087*
2016: 465,526**
2010: 442,333 (Census)

HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Average:
2021: $68,164*
2016: $62,481**
Median:
2021: $50,417*
2016: $45,443**

AGE (2016)**
20-34: 238,381 (19.7%)
35-64: 472,911 (39.1%)
65+: 189,933 (15.7%)

RACE & ETHNICITY (2016)**
Caucasian: 74.4%
African American: 18.0%
Hispanic Origin: 6.7%

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT (2016 Population 25+)**
High School Graduate: 24.6%
Associate Degree: 9.3%
Bachelor's Degree: 16.8%
Graduate/Professional Degree: 9.5%

Source: ESRI Demographics, Colliers International Research

Healthcare Services

The region is served by a variety of healthcare systems and professionals based on geographical location. Major health systems include Greenville Health System, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, AnMed health and Spartanburg Regional Health Care.

ANMED HEALTH
Hospital Beds: 495
Hospital Campuses: AnMed Health Medical Center Campus, AnMed Health North Campus, AnMed Health-Clemson

BON SECOURS ST. FRANCIS HEALTH SYSTEM
Hospital Beds: 319
Hospital Campuses: St. Francis Downtown, St. Francis Eastside, St. Francis Millennium, St. Francis Outpatient Surgery Centers, St. Francis Cancer Center, Urgent Care Facilities

GREENVILLE HEALTH SYSTEM
Hospital Beds: 1,233
Hospital Campuses: Greenville Memorial, Patewood Memorial, Greer Memorial, Hillcrest Memorial, North Greenville, Laurens County Memorial, Oconee Memorial Hospital

SPARTANBURG REGIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Hospital Beds: 581
Locations & Facilities: Spartanburg Medical Center, Union Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Beardsen Josey Center for Breast Health, Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, Immediate Care, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care

Source: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Area Attractions

There is much to see and do throughout the region. Below are some of Greenville’s popular attractions.

FALLS PARK ON THE REEDY
Located in downtown Greenville and featuring beautiful waterfalls and gardens, Falls Park serves as a great gathering place and offers a wide variety of activities.
www.fallspark.com/167/Falls-Park

GHS SWAMP RABBIT TRAIL
A 17.5-mile multi-use trail system that runs along the Reedy Rivers, offering scenic biking and walking trails.
greenvillerec.com/swamprabbit

PEACE CENTER
The Peace Center features a 2,100-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theatre, amphitheater, patrons’ lounge and a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting, rehearsal and event spaces.
www.peacecenter.org

BON SECOURS WELLNESS ARENA
A state-of-the-art 15,000 seat sports and entertainment venue located in Greenville’s downtown. The arena features 30 luxury suites, each capable of hosting between 16 and 24 guests, and 800 club seats.
bonsecoursarena.com

GREENVILLE ZOO
A favorite to many, the Greenville Zoo is home to a wide array of species from various regions across the globe. The zoo offers education and behind the scenes tour for those looking to get up close and personal with the animals.
www.greenvillezoo.com

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