The $150 million first phase of the BridgeWay Station project has just broken ground in Mauldin, marking the starting point of what aims to be an immersive, master-planned urban village.
For years, developer Phil Hughes, founder of Hughes Investments, has been working behind the scenes to finalize what he calls “the vision” of the project.
Now that vision is clear: more than 450,000 square feet of new development, including retail, restaurants, office space, multifamily residential, and event space, along with a pedestrian bridge over the highway.
Hughes Investments is spearheading the project alongside McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture and Harper General Contractors.
Designed to emulate “old-world architecture,” the development is expected to bring more than 1,000 new jobs to Mauldin within the first phase alone, with an anticipated completion date of Q4 2022.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Hughes said he believes the creation of the urban village will be a historical moment for Greenville County, while also taking the chance to toss a quick barb at Charleston by comparison.
“Charleston has long been living on its history,” Hughes said. “Greenville is making its own right now.”
The focal point of the project’s design — and its namesake — is a new pedestrian bridge that will span I-385 and connect the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail from Traveler’s Rest and Greenville to BridgeWay Station, Simpsonville, Fountain Inn and beyond.
Hughes said he originally purchased the land 30 years ago, around the time of the extension of I-385 from I-85, and his intention was to turn the land into an industrial park, given its easy access and visibility to the highway.
“Now, 30 years later, I am thankful to have been patient,” he said. “You don’t pick an apple until it’s ripe, and this area is ripe for development.”
The first phase of the project, which comes with a price tag of more than $150 million, is just the start.
“Hundreds of millions are anticipated in future phases,” Hughes said.
The second phase will begin sometime in the next few years and will ultimately take anywhere from 10-15 years before the buildout has reached completion.
So far no specific tenants have been announced for the first phase, although Hughes confirmed they have been “locked in” and that individuals will be making announcements on their own time schedule, likely in the near future.
“You don’t pick an apple until it’s ripe, and this area is ripe for development.” – Phil Hughes, founder, Hughes Investments
The sheer scope of the project made the groundbreaking ceremony a communal event of sorts for state leaders, with attendance from Gov. Henry McMaster, Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman William Timmons, along with Greenville County Council Chairman Willis Meadows and Mauldin Mayor Terry Merritt.
Graham, for his part, said he thought Mauldin would one day eclipse the City of Greenville when it comes to national renown.
“People will be asking you one day where’s Greenville,” Graham said, “and they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s near Mauldin.'”
Calling Mauldin “one of the most dynamic communities in the state,” Hughes said the support and cooperation of the city’s leadership was pivotal in finally breaking ground on the project.
“It is our hope and dream that we will be able to deliver for our community a beautiful and unique place just to come and enjoy with many choices to eat, shop, work, live, play or just relax,” he said.