Investors have bought the historic Conestee Mill property south of Greenville with plans to redevelop the riverfront complex.
WCM Global Wealth, a Greenville-based financial services company, said a real estate fund that it manages acquired the site in a deal that closed Friday.
WCM is managed by Erik Weir, who is also among a group of investors that stepped in to finance the Camperdown development that’s under construction across from the Peace Center in downtown Greenville after national developer Trammell Crow dropped out of that deal.
The sale price for the Conestee Mill property was about $1.7 million, according to Christopher Laney, broker-in-charge for WCM’s real estate arm.
The former mill was built in the early 1800s to create South Carolina’s first mill village and closed in 1973, according to a master plan for the Conestee area drawn up by Greenville County.
The property’s new owners plan to put residences in about 60,000 square feet of space in the former mill building and find new commercial uses such as eateries for about 15,000 square feet in five other buildings on the property, Laney said. He said the new owners are negotiating with potential tenants but haven’t signed any leases yet.
The property is located at the southern terminus of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and Laney said the new owners hope to spark a commercial renaissance in the area similar to what’s taken place at the northern end of the trail in Travelers Rest, where restaurants and other retail establishments have flourished in recent years.
The trail connects the old mill complex to the 400-acre Lake Conestee Nature Park and beyond that to the Conestee Park youth baseball complex.
“Our plans call for a mixed-use development of commercial and residential components that will highlight the Swamp Rabbit Trail while also being respectful of the history and heritage of the property,” Weir said in a news release from WCM. “We look forward to announcing more in the coming weeks about the eateries and commercial partners who will be partnering with us to create a truly unique destination in Greenville County.”
The former mill is located along the Reedy River beside a 125-year-old stone masonry dam that has been rated in poor condition by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The dam’s owner, the Conestee Foundation, is seeking state funds for an engineering study that it hopes will lead to a long-term fix for the dam, according to executive director Dave Hargett.
Laney said the mill’s new owners are hopeful that the foundation “will be able to come to resolution with the state on a long-term solution.”
Top: Photo by John Foxe via Creative Commons