Spartan

Renaissance Park Projects & Developments

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Spartanburg's Renaissance Project has been quite successful so far. The list of accomplishments include: a new bus depot, 3 new corporate HQs, several smaller businesses including restaurants, clothing designers, etc., over 100 apartment downtown with more on the way and a 98% occupancy rate. It also includes the refurbishment of several roads and sidewalks, the addition of pedestrian friendly features such as benches, working lights, fountains, and pedestrian crosswalk signals with a timer. And last but not least the 250 bed Marriot Park hotel. If you havent been to Spartanburg in 10 years, you really would not recognize the place.

Originally, the hotel was part of the Renaissance Park, which is a part of the Renaissance Project. This area used to be a somewhat unpleasant eyesore of a neighborhood. It was real rundown and had alot of drug problems. So what they decided to do was buy up some of the houses and raze them to make way for this grand project. 10 years later the rest of downtown is looking great, but the Renaissance Park is sitll uncompleted. This Park was to include a hotel, and a par 3 9 hole golf course, a new Arts Center, some office towers (well, low rise- 6 storeys or so), and other features that were really outstanding. Today, the decision was made to cancel plans for the golf course and open up the floor to developers. That was the major bulk of the land area involved with this project. So now the question is what will replace it? The area is prime real estate. It is included in teh CBD of Spartanburg. It is untouched right now. The odds are that there won't be any sort of park there.

I think that it could be open to some apartment of condo developers. they could and should put commercial businesses along the roads (which are major thoroughfares in DT Spartanburg). Then they coudl have residential areas in the center or a small park. There will most definately be a pedestrian promenade from the Marriot Hotel to the Arts Center, which is still on track to be built (so I'm told).

It will be a miracle if they ever get this stuff completed, but when they do it will look fantastic.

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Its been well over a year since I started this thread, and I think I'm well over due for an upadate!

There are alot of exciting things going on, and more good things look to be on the horizon:

The new Cultural Center show help to shift the center of activity to the east some, and bring more life to the area:

"Based on an economic study commissioned by The Arts Partnership, the cultural center is expected to have a direct local economic impact of $4.14 million annually, and an indirect and induced economic impact of $8.6 million annually."

There are five development sites around the cultural center, which could include anything from office buildings to retailers.

The city is still planning a garage on St John, behind the Montgomory building, I think.

The city thinks that St. John Street will be the business address in Spartanburg. I guess this is similar to Main St in Greenville, or Peachtree in Atlanta. Every city needs its business address. I, for one, think this is a great idea. St John has alot more opportunities for redevelopment than Main St, and its a through road. I think it would be exciting to drive down that road though a man-made 'canyon.' :shades:

Here are some interesting articles, which are the source of info of this post:

Cultural Center has Downtown in mind

City leaders see future full of opportunities for downtown

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The architect for the Chapman Center said he helped the city with a bare bones plan for the surrounding areas. I wish they would share that with the public. It now looks like the planned promenade road will have to be relocated, and I'm wondering what they will do with Liberty Street. I don't think they can run it straight down to Daniel Morgan because of the chipping area for the Marriott. They might could curve it over to the marriott itself or just let it end in the parking area for the center. Inquiring minds want to know.

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Since the Renaissance Park area is pretty much a clean slate apart from the hotel and new Chapman Cultural Center, I'd be curious as to what some of our creative minds out there would conceive for that area.

maybe someone with funds would be inspired by your suggestions. That person sure isn't me, but I live to dream. For starters, does anybody think something along the lines of Villagio-Verde could fit in there in a smaller scale?

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That would be great. I have thought an international village with authentic architecture and fare would be a great asset to the Upstate's abundant international community.

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I picture something like the Bull St. Project in Columbia. A strong new urbanist community could be placed there and connected with the neighborhood nearby. That project is more on scale with the renaissance park. It would be a perfect place for it. Liberty and Converse Streets would be the anchor streets. Think of all the shops and lefts that could be there. None of this gated condo crap that they keep trying to build. (Prove me wrong with the next condo project that they are talking about!)

Why not think big and act big? Why can Spartanburg not have a forward thinking group of leaders and get something to this scale planned?

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I understand your concern, Spartan. Perhaps they are waiting to see if the city is ready for such an investment? I would hesitate to create something very large at this point as well, but I think a day will eventually come when developers won't think twice about investing in extras on top of the main projects themselves.

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Agreed. It is true that downtown condos have not proven very popular yet. One guy went out on a limb and built some on S Pine... which is not even 'downtown' and its been at least six months to a year and he has only sold one (of 4). Also, the two condo projects that we have had so far have not made it very far.

That said, I think that the high occupancy rate for existing apartment units says a lot. It has to be around 85-90%. I haven't seen any real figures on this in some time, so who knows what it actually is.

Perhaps when Spartanburg has a more lively downtown scene it will become a more realistic option to live downtown.

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If I may give an answer to that question, I'd say that nothing is holding Spartanburg's downtown back. This is proven in the fact that the City has asked for proposals on a long-term masterplan for downtown. This should become a blueprint for current and future leaders to focus their efforts on, rather than aimlessly developing random unrelated projects all over the place. There is so much potential that the future bustling downtown atmosphere is only waiting for the proper time to show itself. :)

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Skyliner has the right idea. Nothing is really hold us back anymore except time. It goes by fast enough as it is, so thats something we'll just have to live with.

I have more to say ont his, but it will have to come later.

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Spartanburg reminds me of Greenville in the early 80's when I was student at Furman. While there, it never crossed our minds to go to downtown, because it a run-down eyesore. Downtown didn't feel safe and there was nothing to do. It didn't have the condos and such that we see now. I can also remember the naysayers when the hyatt was built. The old-timers thought it was crazy and it had a nice restaurant inside that failed due to lack of business. Now look at Greenville's downtown.

Spartanburg is around 10-15 years behind, but I think that it can gain ground faster because of renewed urban interest. There is a article in today's paper (link below I hope) about the interest in downtown living. The article states that Spartanburg's downtown apartments have grown 27% in the last two years up to a total of 150 and have a 95% occupancy rate. It also states that our leaders are looking forward to a master plan that ties everything together. The city is having a renaissance and I think that 10 years from now we won't recognize downtown, just as those wouldn't who lived here in the 90's wouldn't recognoze it today.

http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art.../602100370/1044

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Spartanburg reminds me of Greenville in the early 80's when I was student at Furman. ... Spartanburg is around 10-15 years behind, but I think that it can gain ground faster because of renewed urban interest. ... The city is having a renaissance and I think that 10 years from now we won't recognize downtown, just as those wouldn't who lived here in the 90's wouldn't recognoze it today.

http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art.../602100370/1044

Very true statements and legitimate outlook. :thumbsup: The thing I would add to your comment about taking less time to develop is that the whole Upstate is far more progressive than it was back then. Our cities are experiencing a phenomenal urban renaissance, and Spartanburg is already on the fast track to reaping similar economic benefits down the road. I like the way the Upstate is becoming a stronger force to be reckoned with nationally.

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Spartanburg reminds me of Greenville in the early 80's when I was student at Furman. While there, it never crossed our minds to go to downtown, because it a run-down eyesore. Downtown didn't feel safe and there was nothing to do. It didn't have the condos and such that we see now. I can also remember the naysayers when the hyatt was built. The old-timers thought it was crazy and it had a nice restaurant inside that failed due to lack of business. Now look at Greenville's downtown.

Spartanburg is around 10-15 years behind, but I think that it can gain ground faster because of renewed urban interest. There is a article in today's paper (link below I hope) about the interest in downtown living. The article states that Spartanburg's downtown apartments have grown 27% in the last two years up to a total of 150 and have a 95% occupancy rate. It also states that our leaders are looking forward to a master plan that ties everything together. The city is having a renaissance and I think that 10 years from now we won't recognize downtown, just as those wouldn't who lived here in the 90's wouldn't recognoze it today.

http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art.../602100370/1044

I disagree with the first paragraph on many aspects- Downtown today is not rundown. Maybe in a few places it is less than attractive, but I would hardly call it rundown.

I have never felt unsafe downtown. I go there fairly often when I'm in town, and at night too. Many times I will intentionally park far away from where I'm going just so I can walk around and enjoy our city, and what it is becoming. I also park far away because the parking spaces are very often full, and thats a good problem to have.

msqfeb06nite.jpg

morgansquarecomplete.jpg

^How can you not like that?^

It occurs to me that you might be saying that we are ahead of where Greenville was 10-15 years ago, and in that case, I agree. That article about residential activity is right on que. I think we were talking about that just a day or two ago. I am dissapointed that they haven't made more efforts to attract downtown housing to date, but then I am also excited that we have increased it anyway- and 27% in two years! Granted that its a small number, but progress is progress.

Very true statements and legitimate outlook. :thumbsup: The thing I would add to your comment about taking less time to develop is that the whole Upstate is far more progressive than it was back then. Our cities are experiencing a phenomenal urban renaissance, and Spartanburg is already on the fast track to reaping similar economic benefits down the road. I like the way the Upstate is becoming a stronger force to be reckoned with nationally.

I agree. I think that works to our advantage. A lot of what is causing the improvements is that cities have to tout a high quality of life to bring in new jobs- and that has a lot of subcategories.

As for what is holding us back?

Nothing. Time is all that we need.

Greenville's advantage is that it had some good leadership when it counted. Spartanburg was lacking in that department. There are some people that you could blame, but rather than forus on that, I prefer to look toward the future.

We have seen some great leadership in Mayor Barnet and from Mark Scott, the City Manager, even despite some of those naysayers and unprogressive people in our City Council (Linda Dogan). Not to mention some of the more forward thinking developers like George Dean Johnson, and even Arthur Cleveland, despite his inability to pay for his projects. Spartanburg has no where to go but up. It will be interesting to see what happens this year.

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Perhaps poor wording on my part. I was not trying to imply that the downtown isn't safe today. Rather I was speaking to the general thought that while at Furman, downtown Greenville was not a destination, but they took some risk and turned it into one. Until recently, I would venture to guess that a lot of our local college students felt the same way about our downtown. There was nothing to draw them here. Spartanburg is at that crossroads now to where we need to take some risks to attract more residentail, retail and enternainment to further enhance downtown. Spartanburg has accomplished a great deal in the past 2 years and has a very bright future. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

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You're absolutely correct, hub-city. Spartanburg's downtown has changed more in the past couple of years than any in this region that I've witnessed. I thought it was very trashy and looked unsafe in the mid-nineties, but today it is very attractive and set for pedestrian activity. If the "gap" is ever going to start to close between Greenville and Spartanburg, more people need to start getting involved in the efforts to improve the whole city. I have been around far too many residents in and around the Spartanburg area who harbor terribly dillusioned ideas about the city and state.

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Perhaps poor wording on my part. I was not trying to imply that the downtown isn't safe today. Rather I was speaking to the general thought that while at Furman, downtown Greenville was not a destination, but they took some risk and turned it into one. Until recently, I would venture to guess that a lot of our local college students felt the same way about our downtown. There was nothing to draw them here. Spartanburg is at that crossroads now to where we need to take some risks to attract more residentail, retail and enternainment to further enhance downtown. Spartanburg has accomplished a great deal in the past 2 years and has a very bright future. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

I'd say thats about right then. There still seems to be some frustration with a lack of choices though. Not just bars, but in all categories. I think that the time is in sight that we fill up our historic buildings with shops and restaurants, etc. The question then becomes, what do we do next? Where (and how) do we expand?

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I drove through DT Spartanburg for the first time in long time about 3 weeks ago or so. The first thing that came to my mind was, "This place is just WAITING to explode." Downtown has all of the right ingredients, and I like the connectivity of the streets. I also didn't realize that the Marriott was as big as it is; it's presence is a big plus for downtown. SMA looks great. Also, I think I saw that a bank was building a new building down from the Denny's tower and that something looks like it's coming to the corner of Broad and Liberty (I think that's the right corner)? Can someone answer that for me?

Edited by krazeeboi

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They are bulding a new office building on E Main that will be the home of a new bank branch as the primary tenant. Now take that building and imagine another one just to the left of it, and you will have the semi-final vision for that site. Its going to be awsome.

The one on Broad and Liberty I am not too sure about. Its being done by the same guy who built the ESA HQ as well as the development I mentioned above, so it should be a quality building. I am not certain if a bank will locate there or not.

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I wish! that lot is too small for a skyscraper. I do know that the building will be about 4-5 stories, much like the new one on Liberty & Main. This one will be very similar to that. I don't have any picutres of it though.

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I've read through this information and I'm wondering if anyone can give me a current update on the Renaissance Park Project? Is it stalled? Is there still new developement coming in .... have not been able to find out much on my internet search - everything goes right to the Marriott Hotel. Can anyone help me?

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Welcome to the forum. We're all wondering to an extent as to what is going on with the project. The developer Authur Cleveland is in a world of financial hurt with people suing him for not paying for their work and him also not paying on is note. Turner construction was going to build a nice headquarters at the project, but after all this pulled out. Authur has filled for bankruptcy to prevent the mortage company from taking the Marriott.

The city is also looking at other ideas for the area and included them in their master plan.

The Chapman cultural center is being built at Renaissance Park and is nearing completion. it is a 3 building complex with a theatre and 2 multi-purpose buildings.

As far as the original intent of Renaissance park, it looks like the marriott will be the only building to come to life, but it is a great hotel and convention center!!

Other people on this forum might have more insight, but this is a quick simplistic overview.

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Some might say the Renaissance project has been a failure. And, while it may never develop as originally envisioned, there is no question that both the Marriott and the nearly completed Chapman Cultural Center constitute a glittering foundation for whatever may wind up on the site.

My guess is that you'll eventually see an "urban village" setting at Renaissance Park that will complement the hotel and the cultural center.

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