The South Carolina State Ports Authority new cruise ship terminal building construction project will have an estimated economic impact of $43 million on the region’s economy, while creating 336 jobs for the region during the twelve month construction period, according to a statement from the Charleston Metro Chamber’s Center for Business Research.

The new cruise ship terminal will be constructed on the northern end of the SCSPA’s Union Pier property. Building a new terminal at the northern end of Union Pier will result in relocating 200 cargo ships a year, along with considerable rail and truck traffic, off that property and opening up an estimated 35 acres for redevelopment and public access to the waterfront.

Design work is expected to begin later this month, after a team is selected and approved by the South Carolina State Ports Authority Board. Construction could begin this year, with a targeted opening date by late 2012.

“This is a significant construction project for our region that will provide needed jobs in the construction industry and will positively impact many businesses in our region because of the spinoff effect of the direct spending from the construction and the construction workers,” said Bobby Pearce, chairman of the Chamber Board.

“The construction sector has been the hardest hit of all by the recession so this is especially great news for the many skilled workers in this sector who are seeking work,” said Pearce

The selected firm will develop all the architectural and engineering plans, contract documents, costs and schedules necessary renovate an existing industrial building. The project will include the terminal building, parking, security, berth, baggage handling and other amenities necessary to efficiently handle one cruise vessel at a time.

“In addition to the direct economic impact that will result from the redevelopment and construction of the terminal, the potential future impact of the redevelopment of the area where the existing terminal stands is extremely exciting, said Pearce “Once the existing terminal is removed, plans can begin on how to open this area up for the public to enjoy the amazing views of Charleston’s Harbor that are blocked today by the terminal."

The construction redevelopment project is estimated at $25 million. This direct spending will create a total economic output or impact in the Charleston region of approximately $43 million during the twelve month period of construction.

This project will support an estimated 336 jobs in the Charleston region during the estimated twelve months it will take to complete. Approximately 178 of these jobs will be in the construction sector directly tied to the building of the structure, while many jobs will also be created or sustained in the wholesale and retail trade sectors, transportation, information and financial activities sectors, and the professional and technical services sector.

The cruise business in the Charleston area supported more than 400 jobs and $37 million in total economic output in 2010, including $16 million in wages and $3.5 million in tax revenues.