Walmart on Tuesday announced plans to build a distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries in Spartanburg County.
A press release said Walmart will invest $450 million in the 720,000-plus, square-foot facility in Lyman and create more than 400 jobs with a combination of associates, automation technology, robotics and machine learning to process grocery perishables. The new center is set to open in 2024.
It will be built on a 201-acre site at the 750-acre Fort Prince Industrial Park on Fort Prince Boulevard (Highway 129) and will be Walmart's largest grocery distribution center.
"There aren't many announcements that come close to this one in regard to overall impact in Spartanburg County," stated David Britt, chairman of the county's economic development committee. "Walmart's decision to locate here will provide growth opportunities not only for residents, but our community as a whole for years to come."
Lyman is a small but growing community along the U.S. 29 corridor between Duncan, Spartanburg and Greer. It has grown from 3,243 people in 2010 to 6,173 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Lyman mayoral candidates Glenn Greer and Marc Garcia, who along with Rick Hellams are hoping to succeed retiring Mayor Larry Chappell, said Tuesday the project will be a game-changer for Lyman.
"We're very excited," said Greer, who is Lyman's mayor pro tem on Town Council. "This is a lot of hard work between Spartanburg County, OneSpartanburg and the Town of Lyman to land this. We welcome Walmart."
Greer said Walmart chose the Lyman site in large part because of its available infrastructure and location Greer between Atlanta and Charlotte, near Interstates 85 and 26 and the Inland Port at Greer.
He said Lyman will benefit from the jobs and expanded tax base, which will bring in more revenues to the town's budget.
"We love having industry come in and move our tax base forward," he said.
Garcia said town leaders need to start planning now to enlarge Fort Prince Boulevard for the coming increase in truck traffic.
"We are located truly in a great location to be able to serve their corporate needs," Garcia said of Walmart. "We have citizens who live on that road who would now have to deal with the significant increase in traffic."
Hellams could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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Britt said the project brings the total investment in Spartanburg County to a record $1.71 billion with 3,500 new jobs.
He said Spartanburg County was competing with other states for the distribution center.
"Anytime a Fortune 500 company is looking to invest $450 million in a state, you better believe there is a multi-state competition and this was the case," he said. "Spartanburg, South Carolina, rose to the top based on our reputation of supporting business and industry that is connected to the nationwide and global economy."
The project was initially code-named Project Replay, first brought before Spartanburg County Council in January. Walmart received a reduced property tax rate of 4% over 40 years. The standard rate for companies is 10.5%.
The agreement also provides a total of $6.3 million in special source revenue credits, which would be reduced if the company does not meet its minimum investment.
Very few projects in South Carolina are large enough to warrant a "super fee" rate of 4%, which is generally reserved for those investing at least $400 million.
BMW Manufacturing in Spartanburg County is one of the few to receive a 4% rate 28 years ago. Since it opened, BMW has invested more than $11 billion and created 11,000 jobs.
Walmart's 201-acre site at the Fort Prince Industrial Park was sold by Colliers International's Spartanburg industrial team of John Montgomery, Garrett Scott and Brockton Hall, Colliers announced Tuesday.
The sale means the entire 750-acre park has now been sold, Colliers said. The other developments facilitated by Colliers and under construction at Fort Prince include The Cubes at Fort Prince and Hunt Midwest's Fort Prince Logistics Center.
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Shafter, Calif., is the home of Walmart’s first high-tech distribution grocery center, announced in 2018.
The Lyman distribution center will rely on a combination of employees, automation, robotics and machine learning to process perishable goods -- such as produce, eggs, dairy, flowers and frozen goods -- and deliver them to nearby stores, according to Walmart.
The center is part of a larger investment the retailer announced earlier this year to double down on the use of automation technology in supply chain. Walmart operates four distribution centers, 122 retail stores and employs over 30,000 associates in the state.
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"Walmart’s high-tech grocery distribution center will include game-changing innovations that are radically disrupting the supply chain, getting products onto shelves for our customers even faster, while saving time for our associates,” said David Guggina, senior vice president, automation and innovation at Walmart U.S.
“We’re proud to be opening Walmart’s largest automated grocery distribution center in Spartanburg County and look forward to bringing new STEM job opportunities to the region.”
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Staff writer Bob Montgomery contributed to this story. He can be reached at [email protected].
Tamia Boyd is a Michigan native who covers breaking news. Email her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter @tamiamb.