Greenville City Council on Monday night gave initial approval to a contract for the city to purchase property on the banks of the Reedy River at the edge of Falls Park where a developer had proposed to build an office building.
The city will buy 0.93 acres along the river for $4 million and help pay for infrastructure improvements made by Centennial American Properties in connection with the Camperdown redevelopment of the block of South Main Street where the Greenville News has made its home since 1969.
Centennial had proposed building a four-story brick and glass office building mere steps from the historic Main Street bridge. The plan received a certificate of appropriateness from the city’s Design Review Board and drew immediate opposition.
The city will take the money out of its economic development fund. Private groups have pledged $1.15 million. The Carolina Foothills Garden Club said it would contribute $900,000, while the Friends of the Red Cross pledged $250,000.
The $200 million Camperdown project includes office space, a hotel, multifamily units, retail, and restaurants.
A letter of intent approved by Council in January also calls for Centennial to construct public improvements on the 55 Camperdown site to improve connectivity between South Main Street and the river, streetscape improvements, and a public plaza. Through a synthetic tax increment financing district, the city would reimburse Centennial for the cost of those public improvements over 25 years with payments based on the increased property taxes generated by the project.