That’s why project developer RocaPoint Partners is spending a considerable amount of time and thought in both overall design and attracting the right mix of tenants, according to Phil Mays, one of the firm’s principals.
For decades the commercial buildings along University Ridge — the central-most housing Greenville County’s administrative offices — were considered utilitarian and uninspiring. This on a promontory commanding some of the best views of downtown Greenville.
When plans for redeveloping the county-owned 40 acres overlooking the Reedy River took shape in 2017, Atlanta-based RocaPoint Partners was chosen, in part, for the scale and boldness of its $1 billion proposal.
That plan envisioned a cohesive development involving more than a dozen new buildings and anchored by two new county administrative buildings designed by world-renowned Foster + Partners.
As Mays explained, from the start the idea was to create a destination where the office, retail, food and beverage, entertainment, and hospitality tenants were carefully selected to provide unique options while also being complementary to the city’s other attractions.
“We’re looking at how all the uses work together,” he said. “If the uses work well together, then you have a situation where you can curate a place … where people want to be, not just for work, but a place where they’re trying to be anyway.”
That vision capitalizes on a trend economic developers from across the region have noted in the past several years — companies increasingly assess potential office locations based on nearby amenities and attractions. While remote work remains an option at many companies, an increasing number of workers are returning to the office and want things to do after leaving work.
Mays said such considerations inform both the project’s design and range of tenants and draws on the success RocaPoint has enjoyed with two similar projects in the Atlanta region.
Halcyon is a sprawling mixed-use development covering 135 acres in Alpharetta in Forsyth County, Georgia.
It contains a range of retail, office, food and beverage, community gathering, and residential options. Like the Greenville project, Halcyon was designed from the outset to be a place where people wanted to live, work and play.
There are more than 300 events a year scheduled there, but Mays said one of the most prized amenities is Big Creek Greenway. It is similar to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is adjacent to the north edge of University Ridge. The success of the trail connection at Halcyon inspired RocaPoint to incorporate Swamp Rabbit Trail access in its plans for Greenville.
Campus 244 is an adaptive reuse development on Atlanta’s perimeter in Dunwoody covering nearly 13 acres and very similar to University Ridge in the way it reimagines an existing urban environment, Mays said.
The project is still in development but has already earned the distinction of attracting two out of the three largest office leases in Atlanta in 2022, Mays said.
He added the companies leasing a significant portion of the project’s total of 380,000 square feet of office space had plenty of other options in the area but chose Campus 244 in part because of the intentional placemaking RocaPoint built into the project.
That same effort is already paying dividends with the County Square project as a number of first-in-market tenants have secured leaves in recent months.
Mays said he expects that trend to continue, particularly now that demolition of the old county administrative building has begun with extensive infrastructure work to follow shortly thereafter.
Campus 244 fast facts:
- 12.8-acre adaptive-reuse project in Atlanta’s Perimeter
- Mixed uses include office, restaurant, boutique hotel and retail
- 380,000-square foot, five-story office building redeveloped to include features like open terraces, breezeways and roof deck
Halcyon fast facts:
- 135-acre mixed-use development in Alpharetta
- Offerings include residential, office, retail, entertainment and more than 20 food and beverage choices
- More than 300 community events scheduled annually
- Trail connection to the Big Creek Greenway