In 2013, Gov. Nikki Haley issued an executive order directing South Carolina agencies to examine all real estate and property the state owns.
On Wednesday, the governor and the state Department of Administration (DOA), released the findings of that audit and the DOA’s Real Property Plan for managing those assets in a way that it hopes could save South Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars.
The study by the commercial real estate firm CBRE makes recommendations on how the state can sell the property and real estate it no longer needs. In all, eight buildings statewide were determined to be functionally obsolete, underutilized or in need of significant capital investment. The CBRE audit recommended the buildings be sold as surplus and staff moved elsewhere.
“We want to look at the property we have,” Haley said. “If you have five people standing in a very large spot, that’s not very efficient for the taxpayers. We want to reduce the space by 18 to 25 percent.”
The audit finds that South Carolina’s government owns over a half-million acres of land and 7,800 buildings.
Among the identified eight properties to potentially sell, three of those buildings are expected to generate $5.6 million in sales proceeds. The estimated sale of all eight will produce $30.4 million in capital expense cost avoidance, the audit speculated. Five of the eight buildings are located in Columbia and are mostly used by Cabinet agencies. The other three properties are job services offices located across the Upstate.
The audit recommends selling seven properties:
— Rutledge Building, Columbia — (Houses SC Dept. of Education headquarters)
– 2221 Devine St., Columbia — (SC Dept. of Probation, Parole, & Pardon Services, State Election Commission)
– 1800 Gervais St., Columbia — (U. of SC Institute for Mind & Brain)
– 3150 Harden St., Columbia — (DSS Child Support, Child & Adult Food Care Program)
– 706 Pendleton St., Greenville — (Dept. of Employment & Workforce county office)
– 364 S. Church St., Spartanburg — (Dept. of Employment & Workforce county office)
– 519 Monument St., Greenwood — (Dept. of Employment & Workforce county office)
The study recommends consolidating offices on a final property into a smaller space and possibly selling or leasing the remainder to private owners.
– 8500 Farrow Road, Columbia — (DHEC Div. of Food Protection & Rabies Prevention)
The study also recommended using the Department of Administration to manage most of the state’s buildings, believing it will cut down on operating expenses. CBRE’s auditors noted those properties managed centrally through the DOA is $7.66 per square foot, while the average operating expense of those managed by individual agencies is $13.16 per square foot.