Business. Brief.

BlueCross BlueShield Opening Columbia Retail Store

Company Hopes to Sign Up Customers As Health Care Law Goes Into Effect

By Elwood Hamilton
Thursday, December 12, 2013

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is opening its first retail store in Columbia on Saturday to meet consumer demand for health care coverage and information as the Affordable Care Act, which requires individuals to carry health insurance, comes into effect next year. The South Carolina BLUESM retail center is located in the Columbiana Station shopping center at 1260 Bower Parkway and will be open year-round to sell health insurance and provide customer support. Store hours are 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays. “We’re making a concerted effort to reach out to the individual consumer by providing a comfortable, face-to-face experience in a retail setting,” said Terry Peace, senior vice president of small group and individual insurance. South Carolinians looking for up-to-date information on the ACA and federal health exchanges can also visit and the nonprofit website

New Business Program Looking for Promising Columbia-area Startups

A new technology-focused startup accelerator program in Columbia announced this week that it’s accepting applications for its inaugural spring 2014 class. T MINUS 6 is a rigorous six-month program designed to get promising startups into the market. Companies that qualify will receive up to $24,000 in seed capital, along with coaching, free office space, software, cloud services, discounts and other perks worth more than $300,000. “T MINUS 6 was created on a simple idea: we can build and scale great companies, and we can do it right here in South Carolina,” said Greg Hilton, director of CETi, the University of South Carolina’s Startup Center.

Part of Village of Sandhills Sold at Auction after Developer Goes Bankrupt

Close to 95 acres of undeveloped land surrounding the Village at Sandhills shopping complex was auctioned off this week after developer Alan B. Kahn failed to pay $850,000 in delinquent property taxes, The State reported. The auctioned land accounts for almost one-third of the entire Sandhills site, which is around 300 acres. While bids were accepted this week, the sale won’t be final until December 2014. That’s because state law stipulates that the current property owner has one full year after bidding to make the required tax payment. Kahn, who spearheaded the creation of the Sandhills shopping center in 2004, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.

New Shopping Center Slated for Harbison Area

A former Harbison Boulevard-area restaurant was sold this week, paving the way for a new shopping center to be put in its place. The three-building, 116,000 square-foot center will replace the site of the former Roadhouse Grill along Park Terrace Drive Park and will be anchored by Academy Sports & Outdoors and Guitar Center. According to the Columbia Regional Business Report, the center will include around a dozen storefronts for restaurants, offices, and stores. There are also plans to construct an additional building, estimated to be around 38,000 square feet, for a still-to-be announced tenant..

South Carolina Gets Good News After Bond Sale

South Carolina received high marks from credit rating agencies for its recent sale of $140 million in general obligation bonds, South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis announced. Moody’s and Fitch issued AAA ratings, while Standard and Poor’s assigned an AA+ rating. All three agencies gave a stable outlook for the new bonds, as well as for the current $1.7 billion in outstanding general obligation bonds. The bond sale included $85 million to assist with the expansion of Boeing in South Carolina, $23 million for highway refunding bonds, $15 million for the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, $14 million for Lander University, and $3 million for Winthrop University. “The excellent rates we received from the bond sale are reflective of our high credit quality on debt,” Treasurer Loftis said in a statement.

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