DOJ announces agreement on Close-Hipp Building lease
In one of the most significant developments for the University of South Carolina in decades, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday (July 20) that it has agreed to a 20-year lease for the Close-Hipp Building that houses the Darla Moore School of Business.
The proposed move, announced at a news conference in Columbia, will bring more than 250 high-paying jobs to Columbia and allow the university to construct a new building for the Darla Moore School of Business in the heart of Innovista, the university’s innovative research district. University and DOJ officials said the DOJ has agreed to lease the building to house staff from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys in Washington, D.C.
“What we will build here will serve the cause of justice for generations to come,” said Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden. “This project was years in the making and took the work of many dedicated staff. The result will greatly enhance our existing presence at the NAC, while the infusion of jobs and resources will help the university in its efforts to expand its business school and advance its economic development mission.”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham played a critical role in facilitating approval for the endeavor, which was initiated by the DOJ.
The proposed lease for the building, bounded by College, Barnwell and Pendleton streets and located on the university campus adjacent to the DOJ’s National Advocacy Center (NAC), is expected to take effect in four years, once it receives the necessary state approvals.
Called the Palmetto Project, the initiative will involve moving government and contractor jobs from the D.C. metropolitan area to the Columbia campus in the next few years. The space also will expand the capabilities of the NAC to train prosecutors from across the nation and consolidate operations in Columbia.
University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said the announcement represents a tremendous gain for the university and the community because the university will be able to move forward to construct a new building for the Darla Moore School of Business, and the Midlands will get an infusion of high-paying jobs.
“Having the internationally recognized Darla Moore School in Innovista will be transformative,” Pastides said. “We are thrilled to announce our intent to construct a new building. But, ultimately, Innovista is about the people and what goes on inside the buildings. The teaching, learning and research, along with the Darla Moore School’s vast array of seminars and conferences, will help attract knowledge-based enterprises to Innovista and potentially to our state and build the intellectual foundation of Innovista.”
Pastides also praised Graham for helping turn the idea into reality.
“Senator Graham’s help in shepherding this proposal through the federal approvals process, including the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Justice and Congress, was invaluable,” Pastides said. “Thanks to his dedication to our state and all our citizens, the University of South Carolina and the Midlands will experience the sweeping economic and intellectual benefits of this announcement today.”
Graham called the agreement a visionary collaboration that will save taxpayer dollars.
“This agreement is the winning combination for both the Department of Justice and the University of South Carolina,” he said. “It is a wise collaboration that will save the taxpayers money and benefit the university in the years to come. I wish we saw more visionary collaborations like this one between the federal government and outside institutions.”
Once construction of the Darla Moore School of Business building is complete, the Close-Hipp Building will be renovated for its new occupants. In the interim, DOJ may move a small number of personnel on an as-needed basis to staff operations in Columbia, said Marshall Jarrett, director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.
Jarrett said the agreement represents a significant savings for the DOJ because of lower costs in the Midlands.
In addition to leasing the Close-Hipp Building, the DOJ is expected to lease approximately 365 parking spaces from the university. DOJ staff housed at 1600 Hampton St., several blocks away from the NAC, also will move to the Close-Hipp Building.
Monday’s announcement expands the relationship between the University of South Carolina and the U.S. Department of Justice begun 13 years ago. In 1996, DOJ and university officials broke ground on the National Advocacy Center on the university campus. That $26 million facility, which opened in 1998, is a training site for more than 10,000 federal, state and local prosecutors from around the country each year and is named for former U.S. Sen. Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings.
In May 1999, the National College of District Attorneys moved its headquarters to the center.
- U.S. Department of Justice to lease Close-Hipp Building
- More than 250 high-paying jobs coming to Columbia
- Darla Moore School of Business to move to Innovista