Harbor Freight Adds 1 MSF to SC Hub

Already the region’s largest employer, the retailer intends to double its workforce. With this expansion, Harbor’s total investment in South Carolina will exceed $200 million.

Harbor Freight Tools' facility in Dillon, S.C.
Harbor Freight Tools’ facility in Dillon, S.C.

Discount retailer Harbor Freight Tools will significantly expand its South Carolina presence with an approximately one million-square-foot extension. This will bring the company’s total footprint in Dillon to three million square feet.

Harbor’s South Carolina operation is within the Carolinas I-95 Mega Site, a 3,400-acre industrial park between Dillon, S.C., and Latta, S.C. Here, South Carolina Ports Authority broke ground in March on an inland port operation.

Harbor Freight Tools is already the region’s largest employer, but it plans to nearly double its workforce, adding 500 to 600 new jobs in Dillon and bringing its total investment in South Carolina to more than $200 million. “Since we opened our first facility here in 2001, the company has continued to grow, and so has our need for a larger distribution center,” said Harbor Freight Founder & CEO Eric Smidt, in a prepared statement.

Third expansion in 16 years

Harbor Freight built its initial 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Dillon in 2001. This investment represents the third expansion of the company’s distribution center. The company doubled the size of its Dillon warehouse in 2006, before doubling it again in 2014. With more than 800 stores around the country, the retailer required a larger distribution center to serve as its East Coast hub for receiving and distributing products to more than 450 stores in 30 states. One of the company’s store is in Franklin Marketplace, a 223,434-square-foot retail power center in northeastern Philadelphia. 

CPA®:17 – Global, a non-traded REIT and affiliate of W. P. Carey Inc., acquired the facility in 2011 and provided funding for the 2014 expansion in addition to the current expansion. Upon completion, the expanded facility will be leased to Harbor Freight on a triple-net basis for 20 years. “Given the benefits for both Harbor Freight and CPA®:17 – Global, this is a ‘win-win’ transaction,” said W. P. Carey Managing Director & Head of Investments Gino Sabatini.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. Dillon County will receive a $5 million rural infrastructure grant to offset Harbor Freight’s site preparation costs.

The project is scheduled to break ground by the end of this year, with completion expected by early 2019.

Image via Google Earth