[ Renderings by McMillan Pazdan Smith ]
New mixed-use village with a “wow factor” planned for Greenville’s former Keys Printing building
“Fun and funky with a cool factor” doesn’t always seem to describe downtown Greenville projects, but a new concept planned for the former Keys Printing building and property promises all that and more.
Picture a mixed-use village that’s edgy, with industrial elements and repurposed shipping containers thrown into the design. Parking for a food truck or two. A brewery and restaurant with roll-up doors to the outside. People gathered at rows of picnic tables with lights strung overhead watching live music or perhaps an indie movie on the outdoor stage and projection screen. That’s the vision for Keys Village.
VIEW // Renderings of Keys Village >>
For more than 10 years the property, located at 307 E. McBee Ave. adjacent to American Roadside Burger, sat vacant, waiting for the right time to do something “cool” with it, said Steve Navarro, managing partner for the project, who purchased the property along with another investor. Seeing that Greenville was changing, they thought the property was a good buy and ripe for future development. “We just didn’t think it would take quite so long,” quipped Navarro.
They watched downtown Greenville’s progress and waited patiently. Revenue generated from the billboard on top of the building (which was just replaced with a new, digital billboard) paid the property taxes. Over the years, with rising property values downtown, several developers had wanted to purchase the property and tear down the existing building.
But while the outside isn’t much to look at right now, it has “good bones” and a “wow factor” with a barrel-vaulted open truss, said Navarro. As Erwin Penland’s new building and adjacent parking garage is nearing completion, now is the right time to turn the property into a destination, he said.
“That [digital] billboard really set the stage in what we want to do with Keys Village,” said Navarro.
Exposed, industrial trusses will show up in the overall development of the project, both indoors and out. “We also really want to create an open, market village feel with a really active space inside and out. To do that, we had to have a unique architectural design that would work and also appeal to tenants that could appreciate that,” he said.
Navarro has spent the past six months touring several different cities in the U.S., including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Atlanta and Philadelphia, to see similar market concepts and “to bring back the best of those concepts,” he said.
The outdoor area will be called the Court Yard, named for the backdrop views of the Federal Courthouse building, and will feature a 20-foot covered patio and a 20-foot canopy trellis. Navarro says he is expecting the space to be active “five or six nights a week.” Audio-visual will be state-of-the-art to comply with city noise ordinances, and they’re looking at a mobile app that can provide sound from the movies and bands to a personal headset. “Sort of like a silent rave,” he said.
The cargo containers could possibly hold patio furniture by day and then can be used to service patrons in the evening.
CycleBar coming – brewery next?
The CycleBar, an indoor cycling studio, is the first tenant to sign on at Keys Village. Talks are ongoing – but not solidified – with a “nonlocal brewery and restaurant” to occupy a 4,402-square-foot space with three roll-up side doors in the building fronting McBee Avenue. An additional 2,286-square-foot space is also available for another “food and beverage operator.”
The three-story building on the side of the property has 2,200 square feet per floor and can be subdivided, said Navarro. The space is open with lots of windows, and the top floor has great views, he said. This building is expected to house mostly office tenants, with possibly retail on the ground floor. An elevator tower will be built out of two end-to-end cargo containers, and a “very cool mural” is planned for the side of the building facing Church Street.
“As Greenville continues to grow, it is exciting to see entertainment and retail extend beyond Main Street to support an evolving community,” said Shelby Dodson, senior associate with CBRE, which is handling the marketing and leasing. “Keys Village will be a unique project that will offer convenience, amenities and vitality to the developing office, hotel and multifamily projects surrounding the site. The project team has done a great job of implementing design ideas from larger markets to make this a distinctive place where people will want to gather.”
Navarro is very excited about the project, and preliminary discussions with the city have been favorable. “It will give Greenville a cool factor,” he said. Located in the new North of Broad District, “it will be a place people will want to wander to off of Main Street.”
Portions of the project have already been approved, and Navarro said he is planning to present plans for the elevator tower and exterior to the design review board in June. If approved, construction will begin immediately after permitting. The previously announced Cyclebar is planning a fall opening and everything else Navarro says he hopes to have open by the end of this year.