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'Project Presto' revealed as $470 million WestRock upgrade in Florence County
November 16, 2017. Joshua Lloyd. Morning News.

FLORENCE, S.C. -- The company behind a near half-a-billion dollar economic development initiative in Florence County was revealed Thursday as WestRock LLC, a paper and packaging plant.

WestRock confirmed the project as a $470 million upgrade to its paper mill facility in Florence. The project won’t create new jobs, rather it will preserve about 400 jobs currently held at the mill.

The initial investment will be $410 million over two years that will include installation of a 330-inch kraft linerboard machine and related infrastructure to replace three older, narrow-width paper machines.

The company anticipates the new machine to produce 710,000 tons of kraft linerboard annually. In addition, the company plans to invest approximately $60 million over the next five years to support the new machine and other mill projects.

Florence County's council approved tax exemptions for this project at its November meeting on Thursday, a common tool used by the county to promote business investment within the county.

WestRock released a media statement that included comments and praise from dignitaries in local and state government.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster
“Any time a company invests in our state, it shows a commitment to our citizens that we couldn’t be more grateful for. This investment is something that South Carolina should be proud of, and we know that the future is bright for the partnership between our state and WestRock.”

South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“WestRock is not only a leader in the packaging industry, but also a respected name in South Carolina’s overall business community. Today, I’m thrilled to congratulate this great company on their continued success in the Palmetto State.”

Florence County Council Chairman Kent Caudle
“WestRock supports hundreds of jobs in Florence County and remains one of our top employers. We are very pleased that this industry will continue to be an important part of Florence County’s economy. This investment speaks volumes to the business climate her in Florence County, and serves as a testament to how we treat our existing industries.”

Florence County Economic Development Partnership Chairman Buddy Brand
“Florence County is excited about WestRock and its investment in our area – one of the largest in recent history. This is a significant development for the people of Florence County.”

South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh K. Leatherman
“This new investment is an important step for Florence County in preserving jobs that support so many families in our community, and is evidence that companies that come to Florence stay in Florence. I’m very pleased that this project will help sustain the significant economic progress that Florence has made in recent years.”

Last Published: November 17, 2017 11:44 AM
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