Blackbaud Stays Put, Launches S.C. Headquarters Project

May 20, 2016       Mark Hrywna      

Almost 30 years after moving to the Charleston, S.C. region, Blackbaud will relocate its global headquarters – about a mile down the road from its current home.

The largest technology and software provider to nonprofits announced plans this week for a new corporate facility to break ground later this year and be completed in early 2018. The investment is valued at more than $150 million.

Atlanta-based developer Holder Properties will construct a 360,000-square foot office complex on 13 acres on Daniel Island and lease it to Blackbaud over 20 years, with five-year options after that.

The state-of-the-art workplace will expand the company’s community outreach and is expected to create 300 high-tech jobs during the next five years. A 360,000-square-foot, eco-friendly campus will accommodate thousands of the company’s global workforce and serve as a philanthropic hub in the region.

Of Blackbaud’s approximately 3,100 employees globally, about 1,300 are based in Charleston. With a valuation of $2.7 billion, Blackbaud is South Carolina’s third largest publicly traded company.

Blackbaud has outgrown the current Daniel Island facility where it’s been since 2000. The firm relocated to the Charleston area from New York City in 1989. It was founded in 1981 and went public in 2004.

“For nearly 30 years we’ve called South Carolina home, and we’re proud to deepen our roots in this great state with this generational investment,” according to President and CEO Mike Gianoni.

The new headquarters will offer a community space to “incubate emerging nonprofits” and include facilities to host the company’s ongoing community development and corporate citizenship activities. For example, Camp Blackbaud is an employee-led STEM program that teaches elementary school children how to design and code.

Blackbaud “plans to use the expansion to delight existing staff and attract top talent by adding innovative ideation and collaboration spaces, game rooms, ergonomic work stations, a coffee and tea bar, a modern cafeteria sourcing local food, a fitness center, hiking trails, and creative outdoor sporting, meeting and even space,” according to statement from the firm.

Blackbaud will remain at its current headquarters, 2000 Daniel Island Drive, until each new building is completed and ready for occupancy. The lease on its current facility runs through 2024.

Phase one will include a building with approximately 172,000 square feet, to be completed during the first quarter of 2018. Total rent payments are estimated to be approximately $102 million over the life of the 20-year lease, plus additional amounts for phase two, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

Blackbaud will receive job development tax credits from the state Commerce Department. The company can claim credits for the 300 jobs it promises to create during the next five years, which also will have minimum salary requirements.

The Berkeley County Council also will consider property tax breaks over the next 30 years as long as Blackbaud invests a minimum of $150 million by 2029, according to published reports. A final public meeting to finalize those is scheduled June 13.

Blackbaud has forecast overall revenue of $725 million to $740 million this year, which would be about a 15 percent gain compared to the $638 million reported for 2015.