The Million Dollar Bet

This is the third in a series of articles about the announced construction of a hotel on Main Street in Lexington.

Lake and Main has researched public records and emailed principal players to create a timeline of events regarding the intended construction of a hotel in downtown Lexington.  The proposed hotel would be in the heart of an already heavily congested area and has generated quite a bit of concern and conversation. Continue reading “The Million Dollar Bet”

Epilogue: Lexington is Better Than This

– Secret Group Calls for Investigation of Lexington County Council Chairman

–  Part 2: Secret Group Calls For Investigation

– Part 3: Group Lies About Jeffcoat Salary


Lexington County is in the first stages of an economic boom.  Commercial and residential real estate properties are moving, the population is growing, more school-age children are filling the schools and the needs to accommodate all this are stacking up.  Unfortunately, like the rest of the state, the condition of roads in Lexington are poor; potholes, crumbling shoulders, some not wide enough, many not even paved.  Yet cars, trucks and school buses must negotiate these sub-standard thruways because we are ignorant or selfish.  

Continue reading “Epilogue: Lexington is Better Than This”

Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce Endorses H-Tax

GLCoC

Town of Lexington SC
111 Maiden Lane
Lexington, SC 29072
August 21, 2015

Dear Mr. Mayor and Council:

Like you, the members of the Greater Lexington Chamber are concerned about the rapidly increasing volume of traffic on roads in and around the Town of Lexington. This increased volume, which has been caused in large part by Lexington’s superior schools, business-friendly environment and overall quality of life, has resulted in a situation that if not addressed will adversely affect the flow of goods, services, customers, emergency services personnel, and overall economic development. Continue reading “Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce Endorses H-Tax”

Lexington Company Wins Oscar

[The State] Lexington-based Interactive Data Visualization was honored last week with a Technical Achievement Award certificate for its virtual vegetation software, SpeedTree Cinema, which allows artists to make trees in such movies as “Avatar” and Maleficent” look and act more real.

IDV’s founders Michael Sechrest, Chris King and Greg Croft accepted the award during a ceremony on Feb. 7.

“My mother would like to thank the Academy for awarding her son something she could brag about,” King joked.

Sechrest also thanked USC (“that’s Gamecocks, not Trojans,” said Sechrest, getting a few whoops from the audience) for the chance to develop the company at the university as an incubator project.

The software’s ability to make trees and other vegetation was first used in video games, chosen by Microsoft for games in its Xbox platform. Later, the software was used in films, including “Avatar,” which won three Oscars, including achievement in special effects.

Rumor Control: Amazon Taxes and Relocation

With the pending expiration of a tax-collecting exemption for the Amazon facility in Cayce, rumors are flying around the county that have folks pretty worked up.

Inside the Cayce, SC Amazon Fulfillment Center
Inside the Cayce, SC Amazon Fulfillment Center

Amazon must start collecting sales taxes on purchases made in South Carolina unless the General Assembly extends an exemption granted to the Internet giant when it located a distribution center in Lexington in 2011.*  The exemption was created – with great controversy – as an incentive for the company to build in Lexington County creating hundreds of full-time and hundreds more part-time and seasonal jobs.

With the exemption set to expire next year, speculation is rampant about what Amazon will do.  One rumor is that the company will just pull up stakes and move to a more accommodating state. South Carolina is one of 21 states currently hosting Amazon “fulfillment centers” and there are three of them in the Palmetto State: Charleston, Spartanburg and Cayce/West Columbia.  There are plenty of states, counties and municipalities that would welcome the opportunity to bring in an economic booster shot that offers 1,200 plus full-time jobs.

The other rumor is that Amazon will seek – and be granted – an extension to the tax collection exemption.

In pursuing the rumors – amid suspicions that they were begun and furthered for political purposes – Lake and Main went to the source.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Cheeseman, responding to questions from Lake and Main, provided the following:

We are proud to operate in South Carolina and have no plans to leave.

We are not seeking an extension of the sales tax exemption law; to the
contrary, we are seeking enactment this year of federal legislation that
would allow tax collection on all sales into South Carolina.

We have more than 2,500 full-time employees in our facilities in South
Carolina and we created hundreds of full-time jobs in the state last year
that pay 30 percent higher than traditional retail jobs and offer a
comprehensive benefits package starting on day one of employment,
including company stock awards, bonuses and health benefits. We look
forward to continue creating great, full-time jobs in the communities
where we have fulfillment centers.