A North Carolina company plans a major redevelopment of the 36-acre Judson Mill property near downtown Greenville that would include office and warehouse space, up to 400 apartments and retail space along U.S. 123 that could house a grocery.
The proposed mixed-use development at the 100-year-old textile manufacturing complex at 701 Easley Bridge Road (U.S. 123) would also involve construction of a two-deck parking garage with 400 spaces, according to plans on file at County Square.
Spartanburg’s Milliken & Co. was making textiles at the West Greenville site until last year, when it closed the yarn plant, affecting 200 workers, and put the property up for sale.
On Wednesday, the Greenville County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a rezoning of the complex that was requested by Belmont Syre, a real estate development company from Durham, N.C.
Its plans for the property call for 190,000 square feet of office/warehouse/light manufacturing space in three buildings, 402,800 square feet of residential space in three buildings, and 60,000 square feet of retail space in two new buildings to be constructed along U.S. 123.
A grocery or pharmacy might go in the new retail space, according to the plans submitted to Greenville County officials.
The plans also call for demolition of unneeded additions to former mill buildings, new sidewalks on the property, 6.5 acres of open space, bicycle parking, fountains, dog parks and a grilling area.
The proposal is one of two planned redevelopments of former textile mills that have surfaced recently in Greenville.
In the other, an Atlanta developer plans a major remake of the former Woodside Cotton Mill, also in West Greenville near downtown. That project would include 300 apartments, a general store, offices, an event venue, a brewery or restaurant and possibly townhomes, according to an annexation petition filed with the city of Greenville by Woodside Mill Properties LLC.
The plans for Judson Mill also mention “proposed shared vehicle use” and rooftop solar energy panels. The property lies along a route of the Greenlink bus system that connects to downtown.
Belmont Sayre intends to close a deal to buy Judson Mill in the first quarter of 2017, start construction in the third quarter of 2017 and finish construction in the third quarter of 2018, according to a development timetable included in its filing with the county.
The company said it plans to open up windows in the main mill building that are now bricked up. Belmont Sayre also said it plans to provide “connectivity throughout the site for safe pedestrian access.”
The rezoning applicant, Ken Reiter of Belmont Sayre, did not return a telephone call seeking comment and did not attend Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting.
According to the Belmont Sayre website and information submitted to Greenville County, the company has been part of the redevelopment of various historic and former industrial buildings in Durham, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Asheville, taking advantage of federal and state tax credits granted for the restoration of historic properties or for putting new development in impoverished areas.
One previous project, according to the company’s filing, was the second phase of the American Tobacco complex in Durham, which included more than 240,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space and more than $65 million in New Market Tax Credit allocations and $35 million in federal and state historic tax credits.
Belmont Sayre specializes in “the development of mixed-use investments in downtowns and urban neighborhoods and is a leader in the adaptive reuse of historic, environmentally challenged buildings,” according to its filing with Greenville County.
Reiter and Belmont Sayre have applied to have Judson Mill listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first step in obtaining a federal tax credit for restoring historic properties, according to an application on file at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Joe Pazdan, a Greenville architect working for Reiter, declined to comment at the Planning Commission meeting.
Milliken’s real estate broker, Charlie Whitmire of Greenville, said Judson Mill was under contract to be sold but that he wasn’t at liberty to disclose the potential buyer or the sales price. In listing the property for sale, Milliken had asked $8.5 million for it.
Above: Site plan by Seamon Whiteside and Belmont Sayre