Proposed Chester Co. plant promises to create 145 jobs, $200M investment

Oregon-based Roseburg Forest Products plans to create a $200 million wood products plant off Highway 9 in Chester County.

Plant officials say the proposed 206-acre facility, which would make wood products for home and commercial buildings, will bring more than 145 jobs to the area.

Chester County economic development officials say they worked with Roseburg for months to induce the company to South Carolina. Steve Killgore, senior vice president with Roseburg, said a groundbreaking will likely be in spring 2018, with a tentative completion date in summer 2019.

“We’re very happy that we settled on Chester,” Killgore said Tuesday during an announcement at The Gateway Conference Center in Richburg. “We’re excited to be a good partner in this community.”

Roseburg considered 34 locations in 10 states before landing in South Carolina, said Karlisa Parker, Chester County’s Economic Development Director.

Hiring for the new positions is expected to begin in spring 2018. Interested applicants are asked to visit’s website.

“I’m just so thankful,” said Parker. “This really speaks to the hard work of the council and my team.”

Roseburg employs more than 3,000 people throughout 11 facilities in the United States. The new 450,000 square-foot Chester County facility is expected to be the company’s main southeastern hub.

Killgore said it was important for Roseburg to establish a footprint on the East Coast. He said about 40 percent of its customer base is east of the Mississippi River.

“We were looking for a business-friendly environment, access to a good workforce, the ability to train that workforce, and … livability,” said Killgore. “Obviously, you put that all together along with the access to raw material in this area, and it just lights up. Chester County was our clear choice.”

Roseburg Forest Products boasts a range of products including lumber, softwood plywood, engineered wood, and more. The company owns and managers more than 630,000 acres of timberland in Oregon and California.

Newly-elected Congressman Ralph Norman said he rescheduled his day to fly from Washington, D.C. to Chester to attend the announcement.

“What an honor,” he said. “We’re so blessed to have you here.”

The Chester County plant will focus mainly on producing laminated veneer lumber, which Killgore says is primarily used in houses.

Parker said Roseburg’s announcement means investors have pledged more than $1 billion in Chester County since 2011. Half of that figure comes from incoming mega-plant Giti Tire, which expects to create 1,700 jobs at its Richburg facility over the next decade.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to the project.

“Today is a big win for Chester County, for Roseburg Forest Products and its customers,” said Mike Enoch, Chester Development Association chair. “When you look at Roseburg Forest Products’ history, you know that Chester County is getting a first-class industrial customer in the community.”

By David Thackham, Staff Reporter with The Herald