Moving on up!
The changes that the Charleston area and Blackbaud have seen since the tech company met the outskirts of the Holy City almost 30 years ago can seem staggering. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Berkeley County’s population has grown from almost 129,000 residents in 1990 to an estimated 217,000 in 2017. The city of Charleston and the tri-county area has expanded from a sleepy coastal town to a popular tourist attraction and burgeoning residential community that is drawing in some 28 newcomers a day, according the latest numbers from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. The heads of the local and state government even coined the term “Silicon Harbor” to describe the rising tech market in the Lowcountry. Thoughts like this were present throughout the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of Blackbaud’s new Daniel Island headquarters on June 13. As Mayor John Tecklenburg hinted at in his speech, Blackbaud was the biggest reason to go to Daniel Island for a long time, making it a driving force for the growth the island experienced in the past two decades. Since the company moved to Daniel Island in 2000, after relocating from New York to Mt. Pleasant in 1989, Blackbaud has become the 24th largest software company in the world. President and CEO Mike Gianoni believes that the growth the company has undergone will only continue in their new headquarters. “From dedicated labs to encourage disruptive innovation, to modern engineering spaces, to leading-edge technology that connects our global workforce like never before, we’re positioned to do what we do— bigger, better and faster,” said Gianoni. Blackbaud’s new 172,000 square-foot headquarters is cozied up on Fairchild Street, not too far from their former location on Daniel Island Drive. “Being a part of the Daniel Island community is very important to us,” Gianoni said about the decision to stay on the island. “With our new headquarters, we’re making a generational investment in the very community that supported us since well before we went public 14 years ago.” The CEO claims that the 300 high-tech jobs that Blackbaud will add over the next five years will impact Daniel Island. “Blackbaud is actively recruiting new staff, and expects new positions to be added as the project continues to progress,” said Gianoni. “The new world headquarters gives us room to grow and puts our employees closer to the town center and local retail.” The new building, under construction for the last two years, includes a healthy-dining cafe that features local vendors, a game room, and work spaces large and small to promote creativity among the staff. Director of Global Corporate Real Estate Otto Orr said that the building’s internal design leans towards a residential and relaxed feel in the hopes of promoting energy and community.