Two years ago, a mixed-used, multi-building development was announced for the downtown Greenville property along Academy Street where Agfa Healthcare offices are located. Then, it seemed, nothing happened.
In reality, over the last year, developer CitiSculpt has been reworking the financial side of the project at 10 S. Academy St. after learning its proposed development is in one of the areas designated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as an “Opportunity Zone.” The designation allows investors to benefit from a deferred tax structure for developments and businesses that meet the requirements.
CitiSculpt CFO Mike Miller, who participated in the recent Opportunity Zone Summit held in Greenville, says their funding plans changed after the bill co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) passed, opening different avenues for investors.
Miller says the investors in the opportunity fund set up for the project include a few key players who are primarily interested in the development because it’s in Greenville.
“The growth of Greenville is phenomenal, and people know about Greenville,” Miller says.
Referred to as “CitiSculpt” after the developer, the property at 10 S. Academy St. will go before the city of Greenville Design Review Board Urban Panel in December if all goes as planned. Miller says the design being submitted is the same as the one previously released in 2017.
Phase 1 of the project includes a 263-unit multifamily complex with a 500-space parking garage behind the existing Agfa building. Part of the residential units will be designated as workforce housing designed to support the naturally occurring business growth downtown, which leads to an increase in the number of hourly or lower-end salaried employees in the Central Business District.
“We voluntarily decided that the workforce housing is a big agenda item,” Miller says.
Miller says 10% of units will be priced at 60% of the area median income (AMI) and 12 percent of the units will be at 80 percent AMI.
The location of the project on the edge of the CBD and not in a current residential area will not displace anyone from a gentrification perspective, Miller says.
“We think it will be appealing to people who want to live here, work here, and play here,” Miller says.
Phase 2 will be the construction of a 60,000-square-foot building at the corner of McBee and Washington streets that will be designated for qualified Opportunity Zone businesses.
The hotel on Washington and Academy streets is Phase 3, and no hotel company has been chosen yet.
The phases will be under construction consecutively without construction overlap. With approval from the DRB in December, the current plan is to break ground on Phase 1 in early 2020. Construction is projected to take from 18-22 months.
Miller says CitiSculpt is in discussions with the city and county about potential bike and pedestrian lanes that would connect the development to Unity Park, but nothing is definite.