To say there’s a lot going on in Greenville is an understatement.
From new parks to huge mixed-use developments in the middle of downtown to improvements to one of Greenville’s most traveled and congested intersections, these transformative projects are all underway.
Here’s an update on some of Greenville’s most earth-moving undertakings.
Renewable Water Resources will hold an informational meeting about Dig Greenville, the utility’s largest-ever underground sewer tunnel project, on Aug. 29.
The $46 million project calls for a 1.3 mile-long tunnel through granite rock 100 feet underground for a new sewer line that will run from Cleveland Park near the Greenville Zoo to near Hudson Street. ReWa said the project should meet the sewer needs of the Reedy River basin for the next century. The underground tunnel will be 10 feet in diameter and house a 7-foot diameter pipe. Construction is expected to begin in January, said Greg Wright, ReWa’s engineering director.
Access shafts will have to be constructed at each end of the tunnel. Blasting will occur at each end, but a tunnel-boring machine that cuts through rock will be used for the corridor itself. The city’s noise ordinance allows construction from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., but nighttime limits are 55 decibels, about the volume of a conversation. Some neighborhood residents had concerns that nighttime work would be too noisy.
ReWa has been recording background noise levels over the summer so it can calibrate a desktop noise model it completed earlier with actual data. “The neighborhood gets quiet at night,” Wright said. “However, noises go beyond the ordinance requirement.”
The noises come from a number of sources, including vehicular traffic, Greenville Zoo animals, cicadas, and other insects, he said. ReWa will use the data to determine whether asking for a variance to the noise ordinance makes sense.
Working around the clock would cut up to six months off the project and save up to $1.5 million.
The Aug. 29 meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at United Community Bank, 306 E. North St.
Cancer Survivors Park
Construction of Cancer Survivors Park is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The $7.5 million park connects Cleveland Park to Falls Park via the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The trail is open on weekends only (6–9 p.m. on Fridays and 5 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays) until construction of the Cancer Survivors Park’s education center is complete. Work is expected to end by mid-fall, according to Kay Roper, Cancer Survivors Park’s executive director.
In addition to the education center, the park will include a children’s garden, a grotto with benches, a sculpture, a small amphitheater, and a man-made waterfall.
Programming is expected to start in January.
“The survivorship education center is the hub of what the park is all about,” Roper said. She also noted the park should start connecting survivors to programs at the Greenville Health System, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, the Gibbs Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Society of Greenville, and other organizations beginning Jan. 1.
“We want to be Switzerland, a neutral source of information,” she said.
More than $7.3 million has been raised for the park so far, Roper said.
An official grand opening is planned for spring.
Work on Camperdown, a mixed-use project that has already transformed the look of South Main Street, continues.
Most of the old Greenville News building has been demolished, and the newspaper has moved into a smaller office building on the site, a city block across from the Peace Center.
Work has started on the podium for the development’s multifamily building, and Centennial American Properties took the plaza’s design and finishes to the City of Greenville’s Design Review Board this week. In the fall, another DRB meeting will be held regarding architecture of Camperdown’s second office building and the buildings in the plaza.
The public should see new buildings being constructed on the site by this time next year. The project should be finished early in the second quarter of 2019.
Camperdown will have a 140-room AC Hotel from JHM Hotels, a 217-unit apartment development, about 80,000 square feet of retail, 150,000 square feet of office space, and 18 condominiums. The hotel has long been an anchor component of the site, but recently it was announced that portions of the hotel would draw some inspiration from the newspapers in acknowledgment of the site’s predecessor.
Construction on a new flyover bridge from Interstate 385 North to Interstate 85 South started last week and is expected to take several weeks, said S.C. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Bishop.
The bridge is part of the I-85-385 Gateway project, slated to cost $231 million and be completed by 2020.
The Gateway project, approved by the DOT in 2012, includes construction of 12 new interchange bridges, including two flyovers that will replace the existing loop ramps that tie I-85 and I-385 together.
In addition to the bridges, the project includes the extension of the fourth auxiliary lane on I-85 northbound and the addition of another lane southbound between I-385 and Pelham Road; widening I-385 from four to six lanes between Butler Road and Roper Mountain Road; reconstruction of the traffic signal system on Woodruff Road between Ketron Court and Highway 14; flood warning signs on I-85 near Rocky Creek; and construction of additional turn lanes and reconstruction of three intersections on Woodruff Road between I-85 and I-385.
Bishop said the project is on schedule.
Perhaps the biggest question in downtown Greenville is what’s going to happen to County Square, the former shopping mall that has served as Greenville County’s base of operations for the past three decades.
The public will have to wait a while longer for the answer, as Greenville County Council is still trying to choose from the three remaining private developers that submitted proposals. The county has not officially disclosed the names of the finalists, chosen from an initial six developers, although there has been media speculation about who they are. Bob Taylor, chairman of the Council’s County Square Development Ad Hoc committee, said the Council has not set a timetable for a decision.
County Square is nearly 38 acres and is within walking distance of Falls Park, Fluor Field, and the Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Trail. The redevelopment will include a 250,000-square-foot office building to house the county offices currently located on the site. County officials also asked for a 1,000-space parking garage to be included in the proposals.
Because the redevelopment will eliminate County Square parking spots that are used by the public when they go to baseball games at Fluor Field or elsewhere in that area of downtown, County Council has agreed to spend up to $15 million for a new parking garage somewhere in the West End. The City of Greenville would pick a site for the parking garage, operate it, and keep any parking revenue it would generate, according to an intergovernmental agreement.
GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail expansion
Despite the fact that the county has yet to identify where an extension to the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail will cross Laurens Road with a flyover bridge, work has started on the 2.9 miles of trail from Pleasantburg Drive to Verdae Boulevard.
A contractor has begun pulling up railroad ties on that section, and paving is expected to begin by January 2018. The county expects to identify the location of a trail bridge over Laurens Road soon as negotiations with private property owners are in their final stages. Greenville County is overseeing construction of the project, and the city is pitching in $2.5 million to build bridges across Laurens Road, Haywood Road, and Verdae Boulevard. The trail will go under Pleasantburg Drive.
“When it comes to interchanges, we’re going to make sure trail users have safe passage,” said Greenville City Councilwoman Amy Ryberg Doyle. “We’re not going to make the mistakes we did in the past.” Other sections of the trail cross busy four-lane roads.
The bridge over Verdae Boulevard will be 280 feet long to accommodate the lanes of traffic and to make sure the grade is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, she said.
Several projects are underway at Verdae. Lots are being sold for Bella Grove, an 82-lot neighborhood of single-level homes located with Verdae Development’s Hollingsworth Park. The cottage-style homes, which have a maximum height of 1.5 stories, start in the high $400,000s.
Work continues on a mixed-use commercial project by Verdae Properties on nearly 70 acres at Henderson and Laurens roads. The project, which includes the former Sam’s Club and Best Buy sites, is a part of a $100 million redevelopment effort Verdae announced in 2014 that includes retail, residential, and a new park and trails connecting to the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail. Camperdown Academy plans to build a new school on the site, while construction of Verdae Commons Drive, the main entrance to the new development, continues.
The first visible sign of work on the new City Park will come in mid-September, when the city is scheduled to move the public works department from its current facility on Hudson Street to its new home on Fairforest Way.
The move will pave the way for work to begin on the park, the city’s signature park on the west side and one that Mayor Knox White said could be as transformative to that area as Falls Park was to the West End.
The city has committed up to $2 million per year for 10 years.
City Park is expected to include a great lawn, a “sprayground” water feature, a picnic area, basketball courts, and the transformation of Welborn Street into a pedestrian promenade. The park could also include an eight-story tower, a veterans memorial, and other features.
Groundbreaking for City Park could be held as early as spring 2018.
Before work on the buildings of Northpointe, a mixed-use development that will transform one of downtown Greenville’s key gateways, can begin, the intersection of Wade Hampton Boulevard and Stone Avenue must be transformed first.
Work to make the Wade Hampton Boulevard and Stone Avenue intersection T-shaped is underway. Once the intersection is complete, Column Street, a small road that cuts through the property on which NorthPointe will be built, will be closed.
Vertical construction should begin next summer.