Century 3 Inc., (C3) has given Greer a jump-start on 2013 with its purchase of the former State Auto Insurance building. It will result in 100 employees being transferred from its Century Place location on Hwy. 101 to its new downtown headquarters.
The global company, founded in Greer, has a second North American office in Portland, Ore. C3 operates five offices in China – Shanghai, Shenyang, Dalian, Xian, Chengdu – and one in Southeast Asia, Singapore.
The 8.41-acre site at 113 S. Main Street has 65,803 square feet of office space. Greer Development Corporation’s web site had the property listed for $3.7 million. Principals with knowledge of the transaction confirmed to GreerToday.com the purchase but would not comment for this report.
While C3 will occupy a greater part of the building, the remaining space will be leased to other businesses. The building is virtually occupant ready, except for a moderate upfit, according to the source. The move will take place in the first quarter of 2013.
“I never had any doubts that somebody would appreciate that (State Auto) building for what it is – an integral part of downtown,” Greer Mayor Rick Danner said. He deferred commenting specifically on C3’s purchase.
Danner, who traveled to China and Japan as part of an Upstate Alliance delegation in September, was able to visit a C3 facility in China. “C3 has an international presence and my ability to see that operation from a global perspective was truly insightful,” Danner said. “To see the recruitment on an international basis with a headquarters locally, on the ground was very informational. It opened doors to me that may not have been opened.”
Reno Deaton, Executive Director of Greer Development Corporation, would only comment generally because of the sensitivity of the sale closing today.
“The building (State Auto) is a landmark property and is the first thing people coming into Greer see. A company has an opportunity to relocate near a lot of downtown businesses and merchants. It means a lot to downtown,” Deaton said. “It will generate activity and presence to downtown.”
Lisa Suber, owner of The Stomping Grounds on Trade Street, said, “Having that many new employees in the area is a stimulus for our economy. Downtown will be very welcoming to them. They may be more apt to bring their families and friends back to dinner in downtown, visit the park and shop.”
Tessa Callahan, general manager at ACME General Store, said, “One hundred new jobs and new people will help a lot. This will give us a new series of people in downtown.”
Wanda Garcia, who manages The Shoppes at the Grapevine, said its realistic to believe a percentage of the new employees will represent steady customers to her shops and downtown merchants. “Potentially we see a lot of new customers. I believe maybe 10 percent of them will become regulars.”
State Auto, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, closed its Greer office in 2000 when it moved its operations to its new Nashville (Tenn.) Regional Office. In 1958 State Auto became affiliated with the Dixie Fire and Casualty Company and the Southern Home Insurance Company, both of Greer. The Greer location had a major renovation and addition completed in 1983.
C3, founded in 1977, designs, builds and relocates industrial facilities. It has 450 employees and has more than 400 clients worldwide and produced more than 4,000 projects. Fortune 500 clients – BMW, 3M, Milliken & Co., and Coca-Cola are among its North American clients. C3 has served Chinese companies like Cherry, Hamilton Sundstrand and Wonderful Nonwoven.
Century 3, Inc. has purchased the former State Auto building at 113 S. Main Street. The company will relocate 100 employees to its downtown Greer headquarters.
The 8.41-acre site at 113 S. Main Street has 65,803 square feet of office space. Greer Development Corporation’s web site had the property listed for $3.7 million.
While C3 will occupy a greater part of the building, the remaining space will be leased to other businesses.