Raj Patel knows how to run a small business. But 12 months ago, what he didn’t know was how to be a developer.
Today, Patel is applying his entrepreneurial knowledge to create a new shopping center, Tyger River Plaza, near Duncan that he hopes will generate opportunities for other business owners and bring commerce to a growing area of the county.
“This is a whole new business for me,” said Patel, 34, who has been part of the ownership of several prosperous Upstate ventures, including Main Street Pub, Cribb’s Kitchen on Main, and The Kennedy, an intimate eatery with a consistently updated seasonal menu opening soon in downtown Spartanburg.
“I’m teaching myself; reading lots of books,” Patel added. “There are a lot of mistakes I’ve made, but I’m learning from them. [Spartanburg developer] Andrew Babb is helping me a lot. It has been a great experience. I feel like I’ve earned my MBA in development in just a few short months.”
Construction of the strip center has begun at 5844 Reidville Road.
The 3-acre site is beside the Publix grocery store at Poplar Springs Plaza near the busy intersection of Highway 290 and Reidville Road.
Patel said he anticipates the first phase of the project, a 15,000-square-foot building with a stylish stone, brick, and stucco façade, to be completed by the spring of 2018.
The owner said two businesses have already signed leases for space in the building.
Joseph Pellegrino will open his first franchise location for Eggs Up Grill, a family-friendly, breakfast-centric restaurant chain with about two-dozen stores across the Carolinas and Georgia.
Eggs Up will occupy a 3,000-square-foot space on the building’s east end.
The second tenant is a liquor store/craft beer concept yet to be identified that will occupy 3,000 square feet of an interior space adjacent to Eggs Up.
Site plans show the building will have four 1,500-square-foot spaces capped off on its western end by a 3,000-square-foot space. The end space will have a grease trap and drive-through.
Eggs Up’s space will have a grease trap and Patel said he plans to add a third at one of the 1,500-square-foot spaces. He said those four spaces are flexible and can be combined if a tenant needs more room to maneuver.
The center will have ample parking and access to Reidville Road and a driveway for Poplar Springs Plaza.
A 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot second phase of the development is planned for property behind the first building. Patel said he hopes to attract a single retailer to the space, but is keeping his options open.
He said about 10,000 cubic yards of dirt will be brought in during the site’s grading to make it level with Reidville Road.
Tyger River Plaza will have attractive landscaping, Patel said, and a buffer will be placed at the eastern edge of the property to minimize the development’s impact on its neighbors.
He said he hopes to attract a good mix of tenants to the development.
“Everything we’ve done has been from a tenant’s perspective and not a developer’s,” he said. “It feels good. I’ll feel a lot better when it’s complete… We had a lot of challenges. To be at this point, it’s a good feeling.”
Pellegrino said Eggs Up will begin moving into its space after construction is completed.
“Eggs Up is an excellent brand with great food and recognition that is continuing to grow,” he said. “This is a great area with a lot of industry and a lot of great neighborhoods, but few good dining choices.”
Pellegrino said Eggs Up will likely operate from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days per week.
He said he was attracted to Tyger River Plaza, not just because of its location and the fact that it’s a new development, but also because of Patel’s willingness to work with him.
“When you’re doing something like this, you can build to suit your needs,” Pellegrino said. “There are a lot of costs that go into upfitting an existing space for a restaurant. [Patel] was willing to do some things that made it easier to reach this decision. I think it’s a good fit.”
Babb, who also works as a broker with NAI Earle Furman, represented Patel in the signing of the lease agreement with Pellegrino. Cole Morris with NAI Earle Furman represented Pellegrino.
Patel is working with Babb to lease the remaining space at the center.
Babb can be reached at 864-398-4444.