How coronavirus is impacting timelines for 6 major Golden Strip developments
Even one of Greenville County's fastest growing areas is not immune to the economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Golden Strip is home to a number of major development projects, but the widespread effects of the virus have changed the timeline for some of them. Here's a look at look how six of the big projects in Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn are faring.
Swamp Rabbit Trail expansion in Mauldin
The arrival of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail in Mauldin will be delayed.
The key next step in the planned construction of a section of trail along East Butler Road relies on fundraising by Leadership Golden Strip, the organization spearheading that aspect of the project. That fundraising has mostly been put on hold due to the coronavirus, said Chris Ingle, a leader of the organization.
“The timeline has definitely been affected," he said.
For construction of the trail to move forward, the organization needs to raise $100,000, and they are still short of that number, Mauldin Mayor Terry Merritt said.
Ingle said he's hoping that by the end of August the outlook surrounding the coronavirus will have cleared up enough that his organization will have secured the necessary funding to move forward. Construction would be able to begin shortly thereafter, with a target of completing the project sometime in 2021, he said.
Another aspect of the trail in Mauldin is a flyover bridge that would span Interstate 385. Merritt said plans for the bridge are still moving forward despite the effects of the pandemic.
Mauldin City Council approved a $5 million plan last year for the design and construction of the bridge, which would pave the way to link the trail, once constructed in Mauldin, to Simpsonville, Fountain Inn and beyond. It also would connect with the planned BridgeWay Station mixed-use development off Bridges Road.
Mauldin City Center
News on the future of Mauldin's planned City Center project has been mostly quiet since the city announced a draft development agreement with Contour Development last fall.
Merritt said, though, that there are ongoing discussions about the project that have not been put on hold during the pandemic.
“The excitement is still there. I still feel good about it," he said.
The city is in talks with other developers that would work on the project in addition to Contour, Merritt said. He declined to provide any further detail.
Mauldin's long-discussed City Center plan consists of the redevelopment of 24 acres along busy U.S. 276: from the corner of Butler Road and Main Street to Mauldin City Hall and the fire department and then north to Jenkins Street along the railroad line on Murray Drive.
Conceptual designs for the project released at the time of the announcement of an agreement with Contour depicted a city park, retail and restaurant space, multifamily housing, miscellaneous amenities, two parking areas and a bridge that would cross over Murray Drive from the city center area to the Mauldin Cultural Center.
Progress on BridgeWay Station in Mauldin hasn't stopped due to coronavirus, said Van Broad, community development director for the city.
Though, the status of the project remains unclear – a spokesman for Hughes Investments, the developer on the project, did not return email and phone messages this week seeking more information.
The multimillion-dollar mixed use development is planned on 78 acres along Interstate 385, Bridges and Holland roads.
The Warehouse at Vaughn's
The coronavirus has slowed down construction on the Warehouse at Vaughn's, one of two major mixed-use development projects underway in downtown Simpsonville.
Some aspects of the development had been planned to open this spring, but the goal is now to open the market, bar, restaurants and outdoor space combo by the summer, said Thomas Wirthlin, developer and general contractor on the project. Wirthlin said he will listen to experts on whether it is safe to do so before making a final decision on when to open.
The project is a redevelopment of the historic Country Store at Vaughn's, an old-school feed-and-seed store that has had a presence in downtown Simpsonville for over 100 years. Wirthlin's concept brings together a market with candy, fresh doughnuts and coffee, with a restaurant and bar space and outdoor music venue.
The other of the two major mixed use projects underway in downtown Simpsonville, Burdette Central, is still in progress redeveloping an historic building at the corner of Curtis and Southeast Main streets. Progress hasn't slowed there because of the pandemic, said Doug Cross, managing principal at Four Oaks Property Group, the developer on the project.
Tenants Kaffeine Coffee Shop and Roastery and Sidewall Pizza have already opened in the development and another restaurant concept, Smoqued BBQ,is planned to open as well.
Cross said he expects to see Smoqued BBQ open when the state allows restaurants to reopen.
The restaurant is located in the main two-story Burdette building, which was built in 1921 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cross said the redevelopment of the building is moving at "full steam ahead" and he hopes to have it completed by July 1.
Fountain Inn High School
Construction on Fountain Inn High School has continued without interruption due to the coronavirus to this point. The contractor on the project has notified Greenville County Schools that there's the potential in the future for delays on the project if they experience setbacks on the delivery of materials, but as of now that hasn't happened, according to Scott Carlin, executive director of facilities for the district.
The school broke ground in November and construction has been underway since then, with an opening date still planned for August 2021.