A Charlotte-based developer is proposing a mixed-use project on the West End Community Center site in downtown Greenville, but the city’s planning staff aren’t fully sold yet.
Closer pedestrian access, taller interior buildings and separate exterior buildings were among planning director Jay Graham’s recommendations during an informal review Thursday at the city’s Design Review Board.
The proposed development would include 250 apartments, a parking garage and approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space on the 3.1-acre site near Fluor Field.
The buildings, arranged in five-story structures, would comply with C-4 zoning, which allows different types of buildings such as offices, retail and residences and imposes no height limit.
SunCap is offering to share the 560-space parking lot with the city for public use, Lee said.
Designers took inspiration from historic precedence in downtown Greenville buildings while adding a contemporary feel structurally and contemporary signage, said designer Victoria Pike. The project would also potentially have space for public murals, she said.
Aside from the community center, most of the property is parking. Land ownership is shared between the historic Allen Temple AME Church, which owns the community center and 2.66 acres of the site, and Centennial American Properties, which owns approximately half an acre of the parking lot.
Allen Temple pastor Reverend James Speed did not return phone calls Wednesday or Thursday.
SunCap is launching its project just as the city has begun to assess growth in the West End. On March 23, planners launched a planning process – the West End Small Area Plan – which will “develop a vision for future development and growth in the area and identify supporting architecture and site design elements” . according to the city’s website.
The planning department is holding several public meetings this spring to seek input from business owners and West End residents, with further meetings scheduled for the summer as the city council and planning commission consider the draft plan.
As the city considers what the West End might look like in the future, developments like 1015 South Main Street could impact the plan for the small area and vice versa, council member Dorothy Dowe said.
All of this could affect the look and feel of the West End “when it grows up”, in the words of urban designer Rob Robinson.
SunCap developers think way beyond their property at 1015 South Main Street. They hope to help bring more pedestrians to Main Street and bolster existing retail businesses, Senior Vice President David Lee said.
They are also offering street improvements on Markley Street, hiring local civil engineers SeamonWhiteside, the company that worked on street improvements for a nearby entertainment district in the works.
Some, like council member Russell Stall, have compared the proposed project to The Greene – a luxury apartment complex that replaced one of the oldest churches in the West EndPendleton Street Baptist Church, in 2016.
While Stall commends the city’s planning commission and design review board, he would like the city council to take a more active role in reviewing these projects, he said.
“It’s a good example of a project that I would like to see the city council get involved in. But it’s not just this project. It’s the next one and the one after that,” Stall said.
Macon Atkinson is the city watch reporter for The Greenville News. It is fueled by strong coffee, long runs and good sunsets. Follow her on Twitter @maconatkinson. Subscribe to news by visiting greenvillenews.com/subscribe.