The retail market in Greenville, South Carolina, has remained strong over the past several years, with occupancy rate ranging from 92.00% to 93.00% year after year. In 2007, the market posted a year-end occupancy rate of 92.26%. Although this is a slight decrease from the 92.89% occupancy rate posted at year-end 2006, market growth over this twelve-month period was substantiated by 396,350 square feet of new space and 327,113 square feet of absorption.
The large majority of growth that occurred in the Greenville retail market can be attributed to the development of grocery-anchored shopping centers. The Delhaize Group opened six grocery-anchored centers in the area, including five Bloom-anchored locations, as well as the first Food Lion-anchored center in Greenville. Publix opened in August 2007 at McBee station, joining Staples as an anchor in this downtown mixed-use project. In June 2007, Bi-Lo unveiled two new Super Bi-Lo models. Bi-Lo markets this concept as offering a greater selection of grocery items, more natural and organic foods, a greater wine selection, and a cozier atmosphere than their previous stores.
McChesney Investment Advisors failed to close on the purchase of 75 acres for a mixed-use development at Woodruff Road and I-85. The initial site plan included 500,000 square feet of retail space. McChesney’s desire was to have the development resemble Greenville’s downtown area, without the large office towers. As of year-end 2007, no retailers have been announced as being committed to the project.
In March 2007, Menin Development Companies Inc. out of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida purchased the former 66-acre Greenville Mall site from Canyon Gulfside Development for $52 million. Menin sold part of the property for a150,000 square foot Costco, which opened in August 2007. The remaining property is slated to become a high-end mixed-use center. As of year-end 2007, Rooms To Go was the only tenant that had committed to this new development.
Laurens Road/Pleasantburg Drive:
Construction has started on a Fresh Market-anchored center that will include an additional 30,000 square feet of retail space. The new center is scheduled to open in June 2008. The project has been a “shot-in-the-arm” for the once-prominent Pleasantburg Drive and Laurens Road corridors. Situated between the 1,200 acre master-planned Verdae Development, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), and Greenville’s dynamic downtown, this is fast-becoming the Mid-Town destination predicted as many as ten years ago.
Walgreen’s purchased a site at the intersection of Parkins Mill Road and Laurens Road, and is expected to open a new store in the latter part of 2008.
Demand for retail space in this corridor is expected to grow significantly as new residential developments come online. In July 2007, the city approved re-zoning of 26 acres near the I-385 and Haywood Road interchange which will allow for a mixed-use development known as Crescent Place., which is planned as over 200,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is also expected to begin on the 1,200-acre Verdae Development in 2008.
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