The eastern gateway to downtown Spartanburg’s central business district could soon be transformed.
Greenville-based developer Centennial American Properties plans to construct a two-story, more than 19,000-square-foot multi-use building at the southeast corner of East Main and South Pine streets.
The building will be anchored by Georgia-based United Community Bank’s Spartanburg headquarters branch, which would relocate from its existing space at 101 W. St. John St. at the Spartan Centre in downtown.
Construction is expected to begin later this year, developers said.
“We are very excited to be part of an institution that would be willing to invest in its future here,” said Kim Mode, United Community Bank’s market president for Spartanburg and Cherokee counties. “Over the years, as downtown Spartanburg has continued to change, it has become more challenging for us at this location. Our employees and clients are very excited about the new location. We think it will improve our service to our clients and the community.”
The development will replace seven properties encompassing 1.7 acres, including the Sub Station II at 453 E. Main St. and the iconic Simple Simon eatery at 109 S. Pine St.
Guy Harris, a partner with Spartanburg-based Spencer/Hines Properties, who is credited as being the “visionary” for the project, said developers will work with Spartanburg attorney Jim Spears to incorporate a portion of his property at 117 S. Pine St. to allow access into the center of the development.
Harris said developers are working with existing tenants to help them relocate.
He said the multimillion-dollar deal has been several years in the making.
“I feel complete excitement and some relief,” Harris said. “There were so many moving parts and speed bumps to overcome. To see some redevelopment come to this part of town is tremendous. This development bookends what’s happening on the other side of town with the new AC Hotel. It’s going to change the face of this intersection.”
During the past several months, downtown Spartanburg has continued to attract interest from Greenville developers and business owners.
A few examples include the $10.5 million renovation of the historic Aug. W. Smith building by Greenville-based Blue Wall Real Estate, the $29 million redevelopment of the Montgomery building by Greenville developer James Bakker, and the new Level 10 restaurant by Greenville restaurateur Rick Erwin that will be atop the $20 million, 10-story, 114-room AC Hotel.
While Centennial American Properties has worked on several quality projects in Greenville and other parts of the country, this is its first in Spartanburg.
“I can’t say enough about the guys over at Centennial,” Harris said. “The city has also been very supportive.”
Brody Glenn and Jason Tankersley with Centennial American Properties were unavailable for comment Friday.
United Community Bank will occupy 5,000 square feet on the building’s first floor and about 2,500 square feet of mezzanine space on the second floor.
The remaining space will be available for new retail, restaurant, or office tenants.
The bank will have its own stand-alone drive-through remote teller, United Community Bank said.
“Spartanburg is an important market for us and we are excited to have this opportunity to improve our presence in the community,” said Lynn Harton, president and chief operating officer for United Community Bank, in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to grow with Spartanburg, and believe this is an ideally located property that will serve as a gateway into the expanding downtown area.
Mode said the new space will allow for more of the bank’s partners from Greenville to be onsite in Spartanburg. The facility will also have a community room that will be made available for public meetings and other events.
She said the building will have certain design features that honor Spartanburg’s textile history.
The intersection has been an area of concern for the city for several years. Three aging hotels, a FedEx Kinko’s, and the Corners of Main and Pine shopping center, are located near other corners of the intersection.
“It excites me because I think it will help downtown Spartanburg as a whole,” Mode said. “Hopefully, this project will help drive improvement at the other corners of this intersection.”
J.P. Baehr, co-principal of BVI Development, which owns the Corners of Main and Pine shopping center, said Friday he was excited about the project and its potential to attract more growth to the gateway.
Conceptual drawings of the property showed the building will be positioned a few feet back from the sidewalk along on East Main and Pine streets with a 101-space parking lot behind the facility.
Designers have allowed for a few feet of buffer space between the sidewalk and the buildings.
The city of Spartanburg’s Downtown Urban Code calls for new buildings in that area to be constructed adjacent to the sidewalk with parking behind.
Harris said developers will present the plan to City Council on Aug. 14, and the city’s Design Review Board on Aug. 16. If needed, council’s second and final reading will be held Aug. 28.
He said developers will ask council and board members to approve the plan “as-is,” without asking for a variance for the building’s façade.
A Fairway Outdoor Advertising sign on East Main Street will be removed in cooperation with the city of Spartanburg.
Assistant city manager Chris Story said the city is close to reaching a relocation deal for the sign.
“I am very happy to see this project moving forward,” Story said. “Guy has been tenacious, but patient in seeing this through… Projects like this that involve multiple properties and many moving parts take a long time and patience. We’re grateful to Guy for sticking with it. I am really pleased that Centennial American Properties is doing this. They have been wonderful to work with.”