Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World set to open in 2015 in North Charleston

An artist’s rendering shows what the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store in North Charleston will look like when it opens in 2015. (Images provided by Bass Pro Shops)
An artist’s rendering shows what the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store in North Charleston will look like when it opens in 2015. (Images provided by Bass Pro Shops)
The North Charleston Bass Pro Shops store will feature an Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill.

The North Charleston Bass Pro Shops store will feature an Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill.

What makes a store ‘extraordinary’

Even if you wouldn’t consider a wide array of outdoor gear and shark-themed bowling lanes “extraordinary,” the state of South Carolina’s tax laws very well might. Here are some of the specifications to qualify for this special designation, which sounds a lot like a tourist attraction.

What qualifies a business?
Retail establishments can receive a conditional qualification, which allows the S.C. Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism to set benchmarks based on a three-year projection. Retail establishments that meet the legal definition outlined below receive access to more money:

  • Single store located within two miles of an interstate highway or within a county that receives 3.5 million or more visitors a year.
  • The establishment must attract at least 2 million visitors a year on its own.
  • 35% of those visitors must travel at least 50 miles to get to the location.
  • The establishment is required to make a capital investment of at least $25 million, including land, buildings and site preparation.
  • One or more hotels must be built within three years to serve the location.
  • The establishment must collect and remit at least $2 million a year in sales taxes.

What does the business get?
The law stipulates a benefit period of 15 years upon annual certification by the S.C. Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism.

During that time, one-fourth and up to one-half of the establishment’s sales taxes will be paid into a fund for a municipality or county — in this case North Charleston — to use directly or indirectly for infrastructure improvements, with preference given to the business's wishes.

The law says this money could be used for expenses such as construction, parking, roadways and utilities. The money also could be used for building an aquarium, natural history exhibit or museum located in or nearby the retail establishment. The business can also use the money to directly support or service the operation of the aquarium, exhibit or museum.

If the business doesn’t hit all of the legal guidelines, one-fourth of the money would be transferred into an account for tourism development grants. Municipalities or counties within five miles of the retail establishment can apply for grants from this fund.

Source: S.C. Code of Laws, Section 12-21-6520

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published Dec. 23, 2013

Bass Pro Shops plans to open a 130,000- to 150,000-square foot store in North Charleston, the company said Friday in a news release.

The announcement came a day after North Charleston City Council backed incentives for a large-scale retail project that could draw at least 700,000 out-of-town visitors each year.

Construction of the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store, which specializes in hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear, is expected to begin in 2014. The store is expected to open in 2015 at the intersection of Interstate 26 and Northside Drive, the company said. It will be the primary anchor for the 2 million-square-foot, mixed-use Ingleside Plantation development.

The Bass Pro Shops store will feature an Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill, a nautical-themed bowling alley and restaurant.

“By adding a Bass Pro Shops to this premier development in North Charleston, we hope to enhance this area’s rich tradition and long history of being a highly sought-after outdoor and tourist destination,” Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, said in the news release.

This isn’t the first time North Charleston has tried to lure a major outdoor retailer. In 2006, then-Gov. Mark Sanford fought tax incentives for one of Bass Pro Shops’ competitors. Cabela’s decided to pull out of the deal and never opened a store, even after the state passed incentives by overruling Sanford’s veto.

Last week, North Charleston City Council’s finance committee took up tax incentives for a retailer called “Project Blue” under South Carolina’s Tourism Admissions Infrastructure Tax Act, which provides incentives for an “extraordinary retail establishment” and includes money for infrastructure improvements within specific requirements.

The Post and Courier first reported that “Project Blue” could be related to Bass Pro Shops after the incentives won approval from council.

Bass Pro Shops has one S.C. location already, as an anchor store at Myrtle Beach Mall at the northern end of Myrtle Beach. Nationally, Bass Pro Shops will have 83 stores and marine centers in the coming year.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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