Renamed Avant development moves forward at South Main and River streets

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    The lighting on Avant's 84-foot water feature will change for holidays and other special events | rendering by Craig Gaulden Davis

    A mixed-use development at 702 S. Main St. that was approved in 2015 by the City of Greenville is finally moving forward with the same exterior design, which includes an 84-foot waterfall facing River Street, but a complete overhaul of the interior plan. The most notable change: the initially planned 40 apartments have been nixed in favor of 12 condominiums.

    Formerly named South Main at River, Avant was unveiled Nov. 16 at an event held on the vacant corner across River Street from the Army Navy Store where the 50,000-square-foot, six-story structure will stand. The building footprint is approximately 7,500 square feet, and it will stand just slightly taller at the highest point than the adjacent Link Apartments at River and Rhett streets.


    Avant’s developer Steve Mack, owner of STM Acquisition & Development, says he’s aiming for a late spring 2018 groundbreaking, with the first-floor retail portion completed within 12 months and five floors of residential completed in 18 months.

    The building designed by Ed Zeigler, principal and president of Craig Gaulden Davis, will feature terracotta colored panels on the exterior to continue the brick aesthetic of many of the surrounding buildings while using an updated material.

    First-level retail will not include restaurants, the developer says | rendering by Craig Gaulden Davis

    After receiving approval for the apartment building project from the Design Review Board Urban Panel in November 2014 and City Council in January 2015, Mack saw that the downtown market was being flooded with apartments.

    “We went through several different models,” Mack says. “It took time to put our arms around it.”

    Over time, he decided to move from a rental to an ownership model, reducing the number of units to 12 luxury condos on floors two through six. The first floor will include 10,000 square feet of retail.

    “The market has changed over the years,” Mack says. “There was an incredible amount of apartments being built.”

    The units range in size from 1,600 to 3,400 square feet and are priced from $700,000 to $1.9 million.

    Karen Turpin of The Marchant Company, who will be handling condo sales, says buyers moving from larger homes don’t want to give up space in order to live downtown, but the current supply doesn’t meet the demand.

    Avant will be four stories along Main Street and then step up to six stories off Main. A rooftop area at the corner of Main and River streets will serve as an outdoor community area. The 84-foot water feature fabricated by Florida-based BluWorld of Water will face River Street and is the tallest water feature the company has ever built, according to Stephanie Miller, senior account manager at BluWorld of Water. BluWorld has also created and installed water features at the Aloft hotel in downtown Greenville and at Furman University.

    The unique waterfall, which includes a 1,200-pound chainmail-like sheet of stainless steel, will feature colored lights that change the appearance of the water as it flows over the mesh panel, creating a tiger-stripe pattern. Mack says they’ll likely change the colors according to holidays or special events.

    The horizontal tiger-stripe pattern pictured in this water feature is similar to the style of Avant’s | photo provided by BluWorld

    The property will also feature an on-site automated parking garage engineered by New Jersey-based Park Plus. Avant’s system will accommodate 29 cars, with the cars essentially shelved in three layers in what amounts to 10 spaces. A typical parking garage requires 375 square feet per vehicle, but the automated system uses less than 200 square feet per vehicle, according to Michael Beck of Park Plus. Ryan Astrup, principal of Park Plus, says this will be one of the largest systems of its type the company has installed.

    An additional 35 parking spaces will be available along a back alleyway.

    Upstate Business Journal previously reported on Jan. 14, 2015, that City Council amended a 2008 agreement with Mack, which specified that the facades of two historic buildings originally on the site be used or replicated in any new construction.

    The agreement was drafted after Mack’s 2006 request to demolish the two 1800s-era buildings was rejected by the city’s Design and Preservation Committee. Mack took the issue to a circuit court, which negotiated the settlement facade agreement through mediation. The two buildings were demolished, and the corner has sat vacant since then.

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