The rebirth of a textile plant in Darlington County is full of pillows and couch cushions.
New startup Fiber Industries, LLC announced a $30 million investment Tuesday to upgrade the old Palmetto Plant and operate a new facility there, bringing 135 new jobs to the region. The company said the new plant will specialize in making polyester staple fiber — which is used to stuff pillows, couch cushions and other plush accessories.
Darlington County Economic Development Partnership Director Frank Willis said he is excited to see an old industry return to the county. He said it’s been decades since a new textile company set up shop near Darlington.
“I think it is something of a new beginning for Darlington, you know,” Willis told South Carolina Radio Network. “We were, in past history, primarily textiles. This is a regeneration of the textile industry.”
In a press release, Fiber Industries said it chose to bring the new facility to Darlington in order to capitalize on the the workforce that has textile experience. Hiring for the new plant will being in the fall and Fiber Industries expects the plant to be fully operational by early 2018.
The New York-based investment firm MHR Fund Management created Fiber Industries for the purpose of restarting the old Palmetto Plant. The building has sat vacant since its previous operator Wellman, Inc., declared bankruptcy in 2008.
“Fiber Industries is excited about the opportunity to restart the Palmetto Plant and bring jobs to the Darlington area,” the company’s leaders Andrew Rosenfeld and Leandro Carboni said in a joint statement. “The management team has been very impressed with the local workforce capabilities observed during its due diligence process. The support of the state and the local community has been an additional plus to help move this project forward.”
The county offered the textile company a Special Source Revenue Credit (SSRC) to lure their investment. The size of the credit depends on the level of investment and the number of jobs created.
Willis says Fiber Industries will get a 40 percent reduction in their property taxes for 20 years. After that period, the company would pay full taxes again.