There’s a lot that’s already been said about Camperdown, the sky-high development at the corner of South Main and Broad streets in downtown Greenville. From the moment Centennial American Properties began laying the groundwork for the project in 2016, the development has been at the top of the list of major projects that will impact the future of Greenville.
But even after all that discussion, there still remains one key aspect of the project that hasn’t received its fair share of attention.
Until now, that is.
“With Camperdown, I think Greenville is going to have a new favorite place,” said Heather Meadors, the new director of community relations at the AC Hotel at Camperdown. “When they see what we have planned, I really think they’re going to absolutely love it.”
Among the tenants in the Camperdown development, AC Hotel has taken on the role of managing the development’s plaza — the spacious open-air area that can be reached by staircases and ramps from Main Street as well as Falls Park.
“With me coming on, it’s my job to activate that space, to really make it vibrant,” Meadors said.
The plaza has already seen some activity in recent months, with the opening of Insomnia Cookies at the start of 2021 and the announcement of a new Table 301 concept that is set to open later this year.
But Meadors said the plans for the plaza are far greater than what most people would envision. Rather than a simple gathering area or shortcut for pedestrians, the plaza will be more akin to a city marketplace, which will sit at the literal crossroads of downtown’s most trafficked streets, as well as the figurative crossroads of commerce, culture, wellness and community.
“I see it as being central to the Greenville experience,” Meadors said. “When you think about visiting Greenville, you want to go to Falls Park, see the bridge, the falls. After you see them, I think the very next place people will go will be Camperdown.”
The versatility of the plaza makes its potential unlimited, Meadors said, with countless activities and attractions now in the works.
These include movie nights, interactive art shows, concerts, pop-up shops, yoga groups, dance classes, holiday events, food trucks, craft beer nights, wine tastings, games and more.
“You name it,” Meadors said.
The “activation” of the plaza will not be a singular event, however. Instead, it will be a gradual expansion of the attractions over the course of several months, beginning sometime in April. Early events will likely be small affairs — an intimate acoustic concert with a wine bar, for example, or a small craft beer popup.
While a big grand opening event might make for a bigger splash, Meadors said practical concerns led them to opt for a slower, more deliberate approach.
“You have to think about things like trash, insurance, signage,” she said. “People are allowed to have beer and wine out on the plaza, but they can’t take them on Main Street. There are a lot of logistics issues like this to figure out, so we’d rather start small and do things well; that way we understand how to do the bigger events well.”
But once the plaza is past the initial phase of opening, Meadors said it will function as a living, breathing community space, which will change depending on the day, the week, the month. Imagine popular community events like Fall for Greenville or Artisphere, only contained within a smaller space and hosted year-round.
“What’s going on at Camperdown today?” will become a common question people ask when they plan their outings, Meadors said. People will then simply check on Camperdown’s regularly updated Instagram and Facebook pages to see what the plaza has in store at that particular moment.
“Creativity is what we’re shooting for,” Meadors said. “Our model is what we see going on in bigger cities, things Greenville hasn’t seen before but that we’re more than ready for. And this also means we’re always open to new ideas.”
Just this week, for example, she said someone had given her a great idea for “an amazing event that Greenville is going to love,” although she won’t reveal just yet what that event is.
“To be honest, I don’t want to say what it is, because I don’t want someone else to take it,” she said, laughing. “All I can say is, we’ve got big things planned.”