BREAKING NEWS: 1,500 jobs, $560 million investment could be coming to Chester

He called it “huge news” and “a game changer.” Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey had one other description of an announcement made Monday.

“If this ain’t good, then grits ain’t groceries.”

The final announcement about when and where won’t come for several weeks and negotiations are still on-going at this point, but Chester County Council passed a resolution and an ordinance Monday night dealing with what is codenamed “Project: Summer.” If it comes to fruition it promises to be the largest industrial announcement in the county’s history, bringing more than half-a-billion dollars in investment and 1,500 jobs to Chester.

The council unanimously passed a resolution “identifying a project to satisfy the requirements of South Carolina Code…to allow investment expenditures incurred by a company known to the county as ‘Project Summer’ (including its affiliated and related entities) to qualify as expenditures eligible for a fee-in0lieu of taxes arrangement with Chester County, South Carolina; and to commit to enter into necessary agreements with the company to effect the intent of this resolution.”

The ordinance, which also unanimously passed, authorized “the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of ad valorem taxes agreement between Chester County…and ‘Project Summer;” the transfer of real property located in Chester County…to ‘Project Summer’ and the provisions of other incentives for ‘Project Summer;’ the inclusion of real property located in Chester County in a multi-county industrial/business park; the execution and delivery of documents necessary to effect this ordinance’s intent and other related matters.”

Roddey said there aren’t many details of the project that can be revealed yet, but said the announcement would “come quickly.” He said specifically that negotiations are ongoing for the industry in question to invest $560 million “to design, acquire and equip” a facility in Chester County and bring 1,500 new jobs. He said the deal would get done, “unless the world ends between then and now.”

Roddey said he hoped the big announcement would come by July.

Chester County has seen some slow improvement in its overall unemployment rate in recent months. In the month of March, Chester’s unemployment rate stood at 7.4 percent, which was down from 7.8 percent the month before. That rate was the state’s 11th highest, giving the county a rare trip outside the state’s top 10. For the month, the number of employed person’s stood at 13,536, which was up by 168 from February. The number of people who were unemployed, seeking work and collecting unemployment compensation dropped from 1,124 in February to 1,087 in March. In early 2010, the unemployment rate shot as high as 22.5.