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roads-scholar

Wish List for Spartanburg - 2011

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Not surprising, 2010 was a pretty slow year for development in Spartanburg. The VCOM announcement was probably the highlight. I'm hoping that we'll see some big announcements in 2011 as the local economy s-l-o-w-l-y improves.

Besides VCOM we got some good news regarding the Evans Building downtown, new tenants and renovations to Westgate Village, the Grain District, downtown bookstore, the Highway 9 widening project began, Rome nightclub, opening of "The George", etc. Renovations to our historic downtown airport also commenced late in the year. Not a terrible year for development but slow nonetheless.

For 2011, my wish list is much different that it has been in the past. For one, it is NOT a list. My "wish list" for Spartanburg is that our community see more business expansions and new job opportunities. The focus in 2011 must be on JOBS. Our community has lost so many jobs the last 2-3 years that beefing up our employment numbers must be priority #1.

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Here's what I could think of for my 2011 wish list for Spartanburg:

1. City adopts Urban Code & Master Plan.

2. a) Restaurant in former Taproom space opens

b) a quality Mexican restaurant & ice cream shop downtown (or at least one new restaurant)

c) no restaurant or retail closings downtown

3. Mast General Store (in former Piedmont Blood Center?)

4. Renovation of Bishop building into residental & retail space

5. Completion of VCOM, good construction progress on YMCA, & start on Evans Building renovations

6. Wayfinding signage installed downtown (including Music Trail)

7. Announcement about development in Renaissance Park (mixed-use building)

8. Memorial Auditorium books some great shows while Peace Center is closed for renovations this summer

9. City grants Beaumont Mills local historic district status

10. Large white-collar employer to locate downtown

I think I kept it pretty realistic, for the most part.

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  1. East Main St Road Diet
  2. Urban Code & Downtown Master Plan adopted by City Council
  3. Spartanburg County Comprehensive Plan starts up again
  4. Spartanburg County adopts zoning ordinance
  5. More shops and restaurants downtown (especially Main St, east of the Square)
  6. Progress with building the "Grain District" concept
  7. Revival of the "Eastern Gateway" project
  8. Noteworthy progress on the Renaissance Park Urban Village
  9. Annexation of Hillbrook properties (and any other significant annexations)
  10. New employers to fill up the empty office buildings in downtown

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  1. East Main St Road Diet
  2. Urban Code & Downtown Master Plan adopted by City Council
  3. Spartanburg County Comprehensive Plan starts up again
  4. Spartanburg County adopts zoning ordinance
  5. More shops and restaurants downtown (especially Main St, east of the Square)
  6. Progress with building the "Grain District" concept
  7. Revival of the "Eastern Gateway" project
  8. Noteworthy progress on the Renaissance Park Urban Village
  9. Annexation of Hillbrook properties (and any other significant annexations)
  10. New employers to fill up the empty office buildings in downtown

Spartan, I'm curious which empty office buildings you're referring to? I'm not suggesting you're wrong about empty office space but just curious which one's you are referring to.

FYI, the Wall Street Journal just reported that retail vacancies in major markets are improving. This bodes well for smaller markets too.

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  • ESA
  • 300 E Main (I forget which building is empty)
  • Broadwalk
  • The Palmetto Bank building
  • That weird building next between Commerce St and the old HBJ building
  • The old Library Building on Pine St
  • The glass building on N Pine with the Wachovia branch fronting Oakland St.

I'm sure there are more. I don't have an issue with vacancies, but I do take issue with our vacancy rate being as apparently high as it is. We don't have a large enough population to have a Colliers Report, and we aren't mentioned as a sub-market in Greenville anymore, so there's really know way for me to know for sure (though I bet the Chamber of Commerce tracks this data somewhere). So, that said I suspect that many of our older buildings are Class C or B office space at best. To recruit new companies we will need more Class-A office space, and I would like to see some of the current stock of office space renovated and filled before new buildings are built. Obviously it can't all be Class A but it can't hurt to have more.

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