February 5, 2013

SPARC Launches Expansion Of Daniel Island Campus

John McDermott

Locally based software developer SPARC kicked off a major expansion of its Charleston campus Wednesday, a project that's expected to create several hundred technology jobs.The company held the official ground-breaking of construction to expand its Daniel Island footprint to include more space and employees.

Late last year the software developer for government and private entities announced plans to more than double its workforce to 500 workers from 190 by the end of 2016.The company also plans to add another office building and an auditorium on its 14-acre technology campus on Clements Ferry Road in lower Berkeley County, near Wando.

Construction of the building, which will feature skylights and appointments similar to SPARC's current structure, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

SPARC established itself with military and government contracts but has since branched out into workplace software. Company founder and CEO Eric Bowman said Monday that the business has been growing steadily, noting that "every four months we have a new product that is launched out of SPARC."

The uptick in business has resulted in growing pains for the company, which moved its headquarters to the 34,000-square-foot building on Clements Ferry Road in 2010. SPARC has outgrown its current offices and been forced to shift workers to rented space nearby and to trailers on its property, officials have said.

Bowman said expansion was made possible by a state incentives package. The company's investment, essentially the cost to buy and build on the land, is valued at $11 million, state officials have said.

During Monday's event, Gov. Nikki Haley lauded SPARC's growth, dubbing it a "great innovative company."

"Anytime you look at an expansion there is no greater compliment to the Lowcountry and no greater compliment to the state than to have a company say not only are we doing well and we are doing well in this environment and we want to keep doing better," she said.

Monday's fanfare also included Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who said SPARC has helped bolster the city's Digital Corridor technology initiative.