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Spartan

Why don't we have _____?

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Why is it that Spartanburg is not able to attract national chains like other cities of similar (and often smaller) size? This is geared more towards restaurants than retailers.

You need only look at Anderson, Florence, even Gastonia, NC to see what I mean. All of these places are smaller than Spartanburg, but all of them have many more chain type restaurants than we do. Think Fazoli's, Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden*, Longhorn**, Carrabas, Sticky Fingers***, Five Guys, Backyard Burgers, Chili's, ____ . What else is there? I know that list can go on for a while longer.

*Its u/c but these places still had one before we did.

**I should qualify that Longhorn closed a very successful location in Hillcrest becuase it was too old, and its kitchen couldn't keep up with their newest menu offerings. It also had a small parking lot... I guess it wasn't suburban enough for them.

***Not located in any of these places, but we should still have one.

Retail is slightly different. I think we have the stores that we should- for the most part- but I wonder if there are others than we are missing? I'm thinking HHgregg, Books-a-Million, Borders, CompUSA, and others. Part of this retail situation is our proximity ot Greenville. I'm not sure why developers think that we will just drive over there, but that seems to be the mentality (at least my perception of it). I can't speak for anyone else, but I dont go to Greenville unless I have to (usually for an event at the Bi-Lo or Peace Center).

All of that brings me to my next question, are we truely missing out by not having these things? Are these chains some sort of status symbol? In reality this situation provides local businesses with more opportunities to fill the gaps. For example, Fatz Cafe was started in Spartanburg and it has since become a successful business and filled a gap in Spartanburg's restaurant scene.

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For long time I've been mystified as to why Spartanburg hasn't landed many of the national chains. Take for instance Chili's. I know a Chili's would be wildly successful here but for some strange reason we don't have one.

Perhaps local developers haven't tried to lure these chains or they've done a poor job making the case for them.

The good news is that we finally have an Olive Garden (opening soon) and Hooters. While I'm not a fan of either I'm positive they will do well in Spartanburg.

I fear that a lot of people visit our town (the recent Shrine Bowl, for instance) and come away with the feeling that something's wrong with Spartanburg because it doesn't have the chains that are virtually everywhere else.

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I fear that a lot of people visit our town (the recent Shrine Bowl, for instance) and come away with the feeling that something's wrong with Spartanburg because it doesn't have the chains that are virtually everywhere else.

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I agree, unfortunately. Its kind of a shame that we as Americans have this menatlity. I also agree with Chili's in particular. That chain is at the caliber of Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday and we have several of those around town.

I wonder if its a lack of 'ideal' real estate? We don't have a "restaurant row" sort of place, and with the exception of Boiling Springs, we don't have a single straight road that is truely condusive to the suburban box scene. Take the west side for example... On 29/Abernathy west of 26, retail hasn't really taken a stong hold there. Blackstock Rd has become more of a retail corridor than anywhere, but there is relatively limited space on that road.

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For a city located in a county with more interstate miles than any in SC, Spartanburg has a curious lack of quality exits. What I mean is that many of our interstate exits lack good visibility, access, and enough land to build restaurants. Take the new I-85. The only "quality" exit is at SC-9 and even there only one quadrant has a decent access road. The major I-26, exits at US-29 and SC-296 leave a lot to be desired in terms of access and visibility. That vestige of 1950's road design, the I-26 / US-29 cloverleaf interchange, makes access difficult.

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Thats a good question. We have 585, but I'm not sure if its more used than 29, 221, or 296. The signs tell you to use 585 if you are on the old 85, but I'm not sure where the new signs point you (or if they exist for that matter).

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I don't know the actual numbers, but I would assume the majority of I-26 traffic uses the U.S. 29 exit (Westgate), and I-85 traffic uses the I-585 interchange (business) or exit (bypass).

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Ok I checked out some traffic counts (AADT), and here's the lowdown: I-585 is the most heavily used entrace into Spartanburg.

  • I-585 (from 85): about 30,000... but 37,000 after Hwy 9/Boiling Springs Rd intersection

  • Ezell/W Main/US-29 (from 26): 27,200 on the westside but 10,500 near downtown

  • S Church/US-221 (from 26): 13,100 near I-26, and 15,000 near downtown

  • Whitney Rd/Chesnee Hwy/US-221 (from 85): 19,400 north of 85, and 13,200 before 585

  • Hwy 9/Boiling Springs Rd (from 85): 22,000 near 85, and 19,300 before 585
    • N Church (from Boiling Springs Rd & 221 merge): 17,800

    [*]Reidville Rd/SC-296 (from 26): 28,600 near 26, and 17,500 near downtown

    [*]Asheville Hwy/SC-56 (from 85): 14,900 (only one traffic count between 85 & downtown)

This list clearly shows that 585 is consistently the number 1 way to get into town, and it makes sense if you think about it. It lets you get from 85 further into town with less stops than other approaches. Other entraces show a trend of traffic dissipation as you get into town (with the exception of 221 South) meaning that traffic is collected and distributed in town.

Also, when I am leaving my parents house or downtown to go to 85 or wherever, I always take I-585. Asheville Highway is the most direct option, but you always get stopped at the many lights on that road. W Main/Ezell is the same way. Basicly, unless you are coming to Spartanburg from the south, 585 is your best bet to get into town.

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Ok I checked out some traffic counts (AADT), and here's the lowdown: I-585 is the most heavily used entrace into Spartanburg.
  • I-585 (from 85): about 30,000... but 37,000 after Hwy 9/Boiling Springs Rd intersection

  • Ezell/W Main/US-29 (from 26): 27,200 on the westside but 10,500 near downtown

  • S Church/US-221 (from 26): 13,100 near I-26, and 15,000 near downtown

  • Whitney Rd/Chesnee Hwy/US-221 (from 85): 19,400 north of 85, and 13,200 before 585

  • Hwy 9/Boiling Springs Rd (from 85): 22,000 near 85, and 19,300 before 585
    • N Church (from Boiling Springs Rd & 221 merge): 17,800

    [*]Reidville Rd/SC-296 (from 26): 28,600 near 26, and 17,500 near downtown

    [*]Asheville Hwy/SC-56 (from 85): 14,900 (only one traffic count between 85 & downtown)

This list clearly shows that 585 is consistently the number 1 way to get into town, and it makes sense if you think about it. It lets you get from 85 further into town with less stops than other approaches. Other entraces show a trend of traffic dissipation as you get into town (with the exception of 221 South) meaning that traffic is collected and distributed in town.

Also, when I am leaving my parents house or downtown to go to 85 or wherever, I always take I-585. Asheville Highway is the most direct option, but you always get stopped at the many lights on that road. W Main/Ezell is the same way. Basicly, unless you are coming to Spartanburg from the south, 585 is your best bet to get into town.

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How far into the City?

My only concern is how the intersections would be dealth with, because there are so many important "T" intersections with N Pine... Garner Rd (not really, Isom St, Cleveland St/N Liberty, E Daniel Morgan Ave, etc. I wouldn't want to see too many of these roads cut off.

Also, there are several businesses along the route that would have to have an access road constructed. I guess the logistics behind extending the "limited access" parts it would be confusing. Any thoughts?

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How far into the City?

My only concern is how the intersections would be dealth with, because there are so many important "T" intersections with N Pine... Garner Rd (not really, Isom St, Cleveland St/N Liberty, E Daniel Morgan Ave, etc. I wouldn't want to see too many of these roads cut off.

Also, there are several businesses along the route that would have to have an access road constructed. I guess the logistics behind extending the "limited access" parts it would be confusing. Any thoughts?

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Then why would the City, SPATS, and Chamber all want to upgrade it into the city?

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Then why would the City, SPATS, and Chamber all want to upgrade it into the city?

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Oh ok, I see what you mean. I thought you meant "upgrade" as in to an interestate. Yeah, an upgrade in the sense that you are talking about is definitely needed. The whole north shopping area needs to be rehabilitated (Pinewood) perhaps into a mixed use development that is more visually appealing on the approach from 585.

I hate that Pinewood is the first thing you see when you come into Spartanburg.

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Oh ok, I see what you mean. I thought you meant "upgrade" as in to an interestate. Yeah, an upgrade in the sense that you are talking about is definitely needed. The whole north shopping area needs to be rehabilitated (Pinewood) perhaps into a mixed use development that is more visually appealing on the approach from 585.

I hate that Pinewood is the first thing you see when you come into Spartanburg.

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Wade's is more of an anchor for that shopping center than BigLots, IMO ;)

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Wade's is more of an anchor for that shopping center than BigLots, IMO ;)

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I forget which exit I usually take when going downtown, but I know I've never used 585. I've used the Asheville Hwy exit before, but I was usually going somewhere else first.

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Asheville Hwy is a better approach into the city (once you get past all the crappiness). Its a better gateway into downtown since you can see all of the large structures fairly well. I've heard that it may recieve a road diet down to 5 lanes from its current 7.

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I forget which exit I usually take when going downtown, but I know I've never used 585. I've used the Asheville Hwy exit before, but I was usually going somewhere else first.

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The last time I was in Spartanburg was when I went on that extensive photo shoot. I had some free time and I chose Spartanburg; it was more of a spur-of-the-moment type thing. The other times I've been in the past year or so have been to visit a friend of mine, and a fraternity-related event.

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Back to the topic at hand I think Spartanburg stacks up reasonably well when it comes to major retailers. Costco is pretty hot right now and it looks as though their Spartanburg store will be rising from the ashes of the old Proffits location in 2007. I think the Spartanburg area could easily support at least two more Targets (Boiling Springs and Hillcrest) and another Wal-Mart or two (Inman and Duncan).

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I agree. Thats why I said at the beginning that this was more about restaurants than retailers.

I still want to see an electronics dealer and a book store in Hillcrest. target would be awesome. I would never need to go to the west side again!

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there are a lot of footings poored for new development beside the eastside wal-mart. i'm not sure what's going there though.

i agree about pinewood, i hate that it's the first thing you see coming into town.

as for resturant row, there's a ton of room in the mall parking lot for some new structures and in the space near spartan 16.

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I think what makes a city successful isn't the chain restraunts off of interstate exits. I mean, if anything it will hurt the city by drawing potential business out of the downtown area and smack up against an exit. I mean it would end up looking like every Interstate exit already in existence in the country. People don't come to your city because they have a chilis, but because of some regional attarction or "happenin" downtown area. I think this was said earlier too. Oh and a few tall buildings in your downtown like greenville has wouldn't hurt either. Taller buildings act like a beacon which lure the masses to the central business district. There are a few exception like my hometown of charleston which seems to have done alright without them..but they would be cool there too.

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