September, 10 2007
In June of 2006, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed in to law two bills aimed at comprehensive property tax reform. The first bill made changes to statute governing real property taxes and allowed for property tax swap. The second bill allowed for a Constitutional amendment, subject to voter approval, to change the way real property is assessed. This Constitutional amendment was approved by 69% of South Carolina voters in the 2006 General Election.
Property tax reform was a highly public issue that received a great deal of attention from legislators, as no-tax advocates convened daily at the State House and turned supporters out at rallies, hearings, and committee meetings. Many differing versions of property tax reform were drafted and considered, including a proposal that would fund property tax reform through an $18 per $1000 of property value increase in the real estate transfer fee and another that would double the current fee. The new law represents a compromise between House and Senate proposals and does not include any increase in taxes and fees on real property transfers.

Specifically, the new property tax law:

eliminates the school operating portion of property taxes on primary residences and replaces them with a one-cent statewide sales tax;
decreases sales tax on groceries to three percent;
includes a provision addressing school funding inequities;
money left over after that goes towards reducing county operating expenses;
changes the method of reassessment on all classes of property and caps increases in taxable value to 15% over a 5-year period;
reverts to point of sale reassessment on all real property transfers;
established tax free holidays for the two days following Thanksgiving of 2006;
closes the alternative financing loophole that local governments use to circumvent the constitutionally mandated eight percent debt limit;
is tied to spending and millage caps on all levels of government; and
allows voters of any county to further reduce property taxes on all classes of property through passage of an additional sales tax referendum.
Courtesy of Cashion Didier of the South Carolina Association of Realtors.

 


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September 10, 2007
Taxpayers will find out this month how the county has assessed their property and what portion of that will be used for taxation.  Reassessment notices are going out the week of September 17 with tax notices for 2007 following in about 3 weeks.  Residents have 90 days to appeal although the values are at least one and a half years old due to postponement by Greenville County last year. The maximum taxable value increase will be capped at 15% this year, with an additional decrease by the absence of school district operations from the bill.  For a summary of the legislation courtesy of Cashion Didier of the South Carolina Association of Realtors,

An Army Aviation Support Facility is slated to come to Donaldson Center and will bring $4 million of investment to the industrial park.  It will house three South Carolina National Guard aviation units, 10 Army National Guard rotary wing aircraft, 70 full time personnel, and 145 part-time National Guard soldiers.  The central location in the southeast and the inland protection from hurricanes and extreme weather were key considerations in locating in the Upstate.

Greer and Simpsonville are in the top ten fastest growing cities in South Carolina.  Greer grew by 4.6% between July 1 2005 to July 1 2006 and 27% since 2000.  Simpsonville grew by 3% for the same time period.  U.S. Census statistics from 2006 list the populations for Greer and Simpsonville as 22,451 and 16.017 respectively.  There is however, considerable population outside the city limits and within the county that make up the bulk of metropolitan area.

You can expect warm temperatures this week around 90 but cooling to a comfortable mid 60s range at night.  A chance of thunderstorms later in the week will bring the highs down into the mid 80s.

 

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September 7, 2007
Allegiant Air has announced that they will provide flights to Ft. Lauderdale for as low as $49 one way on initial flights.   The low cost leisure carrier also offers flights to Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Las Vegas. 
Taxpayers will find out this month how the county has assessed their property and what portion of that will be used for taxation.  Reassessment notices are going out the week of September 17 with tax notices for 2007 following in about 3 weeks.  Residents have 90 days to appeal although the values are at least one and a half years old due to postponement by Greenville County last year. The maximum taxable value increase will be capped at 15% this year, with an additional decrease by the absence of school district operations from the bill.  

Apalache Mill, the oldest cotton mill in the area, is being converted into condominiums.  The mill was built in the 1830s north of Greer on Lake Apalache and has 7 acres with about 1,000 feet of waterfront.  123 condos are planned on the site with green space along the lake.

 

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Sept 4, 2007
You can expect to see more roadside crews picking up trash locally courtesy of the Greenville County Sheriffs Department.  For persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes, the county magistrates and County Council have teamed up to cut down on fines and jail time in favor of cleaning up the community.  With new documentation that avoids liability for personal injury while picking up litter, the county has already begun stockpiling pickup tongs, orange vests, work gloves and bags to get started with the program.
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August 30, 2007
The downtown Greenville sewer project that has been disrupting traffic near Spring and Broad Streets will hopefully wrap up by the end of October.  It is part of a $44 million upgrade to the aging sewer system in the wake of several spills into public and private areas. Most of the work revolves around replacing the catch basins where multiple lines come together. The city is doing $2 million in preventative maintenance as well, and has made enough progress over the last few years that it has been removed from the EPAs list of violators.

Whew, we really sweated through this last month- August in 2007 was the hottest in Greenville history.  The average high temperature for the month was up about a degree from the record of 97 set in 1993.  We had the hottest day ever at 105 and 10 days of triple-digit figures.

Two new manufacturing factories will be added to the Upstate soon.  Innovative Fibers will produce polyester fiber for the automotive and furniture industries and will be located in Spartanburg with about 50 new jobs.  Bericap Group will hire 45 people  to produce plastic closures and will the be first tenant at the Upstate Corporate Park in Cherokee County.

Greenvilles central business district and surrounding neighborhoods have a new grocery store centrally located at the new McBee Station. The 28,800 square foot Publix fills the need for a larger style store downtown.  Staples joins Staples in the development.

Greenville Countys average SAT scores climbed 13 points while scores for the state and nation dipped.  Top schools were Riverside, J.L. Mann, and Eastside.  Anderson district 1 came in fifth in the state and Wren High, one of the two schools in the district came in 10th in the state.  Wren High is in Powdersville, just over the Greenville line into Anderson County.  Wren High in Powdersville ranked tenth in the state while Anderson 1 came in sixth.

An Army Aviation Support Facility will is slated to come to Donaldson Center and will bring $4 million of investment to the industrial park.  It will house three South Carolina National Guard aviation units, 10 Army National Guard rotary wing aircraft, 70 full time personnel, and 145 part-time National Guard soldiers.  The central location in the southeast and the inland protection from hurricanes and extreme weather were key considerations in locating in the Upstate.

The area that once held the Millstone Golf Course near the Saluda River just west of Greenville has been rezoned for a new residential development.  The 241-acre site off Highway 123 near Old Easley Bridge Road will be a gated community with up to 2,136 residential units.  It will also have some commercial space as well as parks and walking trails.

An $80 million sports and entertainment complex has been announced that will be located at Mauldin Road and Fairforest Way in Greenville.  The 120 acre site will house fitness, basketball, and aquatic centers plus 26 retail shops and a 3,500 seat concert hall.  The Nolie Johnson Jr. Sports and Entertainment Complex is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2008 and will provide a unique product for the Southeast.

Greer and Simpsonville are in the top ten fastest growing cities in South Carolina.  Greer grew by 4.6% between July 1 2005 to July 1 2006 and 27% since 2000.  Simpsonville grew by 3% for the same time period.  U.S. Census statistics from 2006 list the populations for Greer and Simpsonville as 22,451 and 16.017 respectively.  There is however, considerable population outside the city limits and within the county that make up the bulk of metropolitan area.

 

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August 30
In the wake of budget cuts that slashed $3 million that would make improvements to Donaldson Center and extend Lockheed Martins lease, Bobby Harrell of Charleston has announced plans to secure the funding.  He proposes to take the funds from Coordinating Council funds, generally designed for luring new companies, and using them to keep an existing company with 1200 jobs here in the Upstate of South Carolina.  The funds could be replaced in next years budget, but Governor Sanford has criticized the move, questioning its legality.
The Cultural Exchange Center of Greenville was created by Ruth Ann Butler after seeing Roots way back in 1987.  The museum is located at 700 Arlington Avenue near St. Francis hospital and houses artifacts from the black experience in the Upstate.  For more click here.

State highway 290 is one of the main arterials heading north from Greer toward the mountains of the Upstate, and is getting a turning lane at the St. Marks intersection.The lanes will also be widened to accommodate tractor-trailers.

Pickens County to the west of Greenville County has unveiled a $315 million plan for four new schools, which will include a new Daniel High.

Schlotzskys Deli chain plans to add 10 new restaurants to the Upstate of South Carolina and Asheville.  It is only a few years after filing for bankruptcy but the new owners have an ambitious plan for the area.

Local brewer Thomas Creek has take over an adjacent building next to their current site in Piedmont, SC in order to double their beer production.  The will now be able to produce 12,000 barrels per year.  In Spartanburg, SC, R.J. Rockers Brewing Company has recently doubled its capacity to 1,200 barrels per year.

Costco Wholesale Company has opened two new locations in the Upstate after demolishing two existing structures.  The old Proffitts at Westgate Mall in Spartanburg and most of the Greenville Mall were torn down and are now open for business. Merchants at the Westgate Mall have noted that traffic is up after the arrival of the wholesale giant.

A plan for a nine-story tower on a sliver of land just off Court Street in downtown Greenville is back on the table.  Previous plans met opposition with height issues and steps that encroached too far onto McBee Plaza, but developer Doug Harper says he wants to satisfy all parties and get the full approval of City Council and the Design and Preservation Commission.

 

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August 22 2007
After all the political wrangling and disputed development of a Wal-Mart at Pelham Road and I-85, it looks like a Supercenter will indeed be part of the landscape in a little over a year.  The Pelham Corridor Property Owners Alliance finally relented from their attack when attorneys for the OBS Land Company threatened the personal savings of the surrounding landowners.  Wal-Mart has since purchased the land from OBS and plans an upscale version of its smallest Supercenter design and will include merchandise targeting the nearby upscale communities.  The development will probably fill the remaining land left from the demolition of the old Home Gold building where several other retailers have taken up residence in the past year.  You can expect more business to flock into the available space across Pelham where an old cinema building was recently removed. 


After receiving a tax credit from South Carolina, Michelin will continue is relationship with the state by investing $350 million on four of its seven plants here.  The tax credit could be as much as half of the corporations withholding taxes; Michelins taxes amounted to $23 million for this year.  Over the past 309 years, Michelin has invested $2.1 billion locally which has resulted in 7,850 current employees and 2,650 retirees in 37 of the South Carolinas 46 counties.


Greer based Advanced Composite Materials announced that it will launch an $18 million expansion to create a new headquarters, R&D lab, and state of the art manufacturing facility for a product that will revolutionize the microwave cooking industry.  Their new Silar technology is a composite material that reaches cooking temperature in about 5 seconds, which really excites microwave manufacturers.


General Electric is running out of office space at its 413 acre turbine engine campus in Greenville near I-85 and I-385.  With 3000 currently employed at the plant and increased demand from the Middle East, the company is looking for additional facilities. GE recently hit a milestone with the shipment of its 1000th F-class turbine engine and expects Saudi Arabia to solicit bids for 50 more units by the end of the year.


Griffin Park, a new traditional neighborhood in Simpsonville will have its grand opening in October and plans 1,062 homes in a community that wants its residents to reach out and touch one another.  Features will include miles of walking paths along the Reedy River, parks and an amphitheater.  Houses will range from $259,000 to $$659,500.


The Greenville News recently ran an article on A Day In The Life Of Downtown.  Its worth checking out and they offer an interactive map and various videos from the charming area that keeps visitors and locals alike coming back to relax. 


US Airways has reduced its fares to leisure destinations from Greenville Spartanburg International Airport, with consumers saving 17-44%.  Most of the flights are to the West and are defined as a 21-day advance-purchase ticket with at least one overnight stay.


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Local business Fluor Corporation has announced they have been hired to design and build two new nuclear power plants near Bay City, Texas, noting that it could be the first reactors to be approved in the United States in nearly 30 years.  About 90 engineers and white collar workers will be working on the project by the end of the year, and about 185 over the next couple of years.

This years drought conditions are taking their toll on the regional lakes and the Army Corps of Engineers has announced a drought level 2 for Lakes Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond.  Lake Jocassee is 19 feet below full pond.  Lake Keowee is down 3.6 feet, but its level is kept higher at the expense of Jocassee in order to ensure a safe operating level for the Oconee Nuclear Station.  Levels are expected to continue dropping if we do not see any tropical storm activity, declining by estimated 5 inches per week.


Developer Stephen T. Mack Jr. is again requesting approval to demolish two historic buildings in the West End of Greenville, South Carolina to add a new multi-use building.  His plans were unanimously rejected by Greenvilles Design and Preservation Commission in March of 2006.  Mack contends that renovating the buildings is not economically feasible and that his current design will acknowledge the propertys history as well as recognize the renaissance of the West End. 


Local developer Jim Anthony of the Cliffs golf communities has announced that Tiger Woods will design his first U.S. golf course just outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  The Cliffs at High Carolina will add to the several communities that Anthony has developed along in the northern part of South Carolina near the mountains.  The Cliffs at High Carolina will have about 1500 homes.


The South Carolina Harley Owners Group will hold their closing ceremonies of its annual state rally at this years Mauldinfest.  The event is family oriented and alcohol-free, which is a principle of the HOG group.  The rally will be held Sept 20-22 in Mauldin which is just south of Greenville.

 

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August 18th
Outdoor Activities in Downtown Greenville running through September include: Saturday Market until Sept. 29th every Sat. morning 8am-Noon; Moonlight Movies happens every Wednesday; Main Street Jazz is still Fridays 5:30pm-9:30pm until the end of September. Fall for Greenville is coming soon so be looking for the dates.

 

State Parks within one hour of Greenvilles downtown include Paris Mountain, Jones Gap, Table Rock, Musgrove Mill State Historic Park, Keowee-Toxaway State Natural Area, Caesars Head/Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and many more just over an hours drive. Get out this Fall and Enjoy the Colors!

 

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August 15th
Dale Earnhardt Industries and Clemson University have signed a memorandum to share ideas and knowledge in the development of motorsports vehicles.  Clemson and the International Center for Automotive Research has been courting a racing team to partner with for several years, and will provide a good fit to help to help share research and development costs for racing cars.  DEI has endowed a three-year scholarship to Clemson that provides for a student to intern with the racing team.
An Atlanta developer plans an upscale apartment complex in the dynamic Greer market at the corner of South Suber and Chick Springs Roads.  The plans call for 240 units in ten, three-story buildings that would rent between $750 and $1200.  Amenities include pool, clubhouse with exercise room, cyber caf, coffee bar, big screen TVs, courtyard and group garages.

The renovation of Eastside High School is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for the upcoming school year.  A new structure with 215,000 square feet will accommodate 1,400 students which is an increase of 200 from the previous capacity.  There will be a new library, administration area, 420-space student parking area, and 65 new classrooms.  Workers will begin to demolish the old building, excluding the old auditorium and gymnasium to make room for a faculty parking lot.

Last weeks weather was a scorcher and set high temperature records around the 104 degree mark.  It looks like well still be in the hot seat this week with highs in the mid-to-upper 90s.  September is not far off though, and things should cool down soon.
In addition to great hiking at Paris Mountain, the Upstate also offers an abundance of hiking trails within 90 minutes of Greenville.  Even in the cooler winter months, youll still find that many of the trails will offer a pleasant experience.  Several hiking clubs exist in the are and include: Furman Universitys Learning in Retirement (FULIR), Carolina Mountain Club, Foothills Trail Conference, Upstate Backpacking Club; Nature Conservancy http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/southcarolina/travel/
Palmetto Conservation Foundation
www.palmettoconservation.org
Sierra Club
www.southcarolina.sierraclub.org/foothills
SC state Parks
www.discoversouthcarolina.com/see-do/events.aspx
Senior Action Happy Trails Hiking Group
864-467-3660
Greenville Natural History Association
mailto: ajheman1  @yahoo.com

August 14 is Green Day at the West End Field in celebration of the City of Greenvilles 176th anniversary.  Fans are encouraged to wear green clothing to go along with the Drives special uniforms for the occasion.  On the 15th, the stadium will host South Carolinas largest high school pep rally.

Its getting harder for teens to hang out in the shopping malls of the Upstate these days.  In an attempt to reduce loitering and rowdy behavior, several local malls have implemented a no tolerance policy for hanging out.   The Hayward Mall in Greenville has hired more security personnel as well as off duty Greenville County deputies to moonlight the common areas.  At Westgate Mall in Spartanburg, South Carolina, security has also been stepped up as a result of a 100 person brawl a few weeks ago.

Clemson University researchers have been awarded a $1.6 million grant to continue their efforts to develop an implantable biochip that would relay vital health information from wounded soldiers.  The chip could give medical teams information on lactate and glucose levels very quickly.  Other potential uses for this technology include monitoring astronauts and blood-sugar levels for diabetics.

A senior living development is being considered on Greenvilles eastside at Batesville and Dry Pocket Roads.  If Greenville County approves a zoning request, the 300 unit complex will include mix of apartment and condos for adults 55 years and older.  The preliminary site plan includes common areas with woodland and wetland preserve, meadow with garden and pavilion, a pedestrian street, and clubhouse.

The proposed retail development across from the Cherrydale Mall has been rejected by Greenville County Council, stating that current zoning does not allow for retail on the site.  Property owners at Piney Mountain have voiced concerns about commercial encroachment onto their residential properties, among other considerations.

According to a regional report by The Market Edge, Greenville countys home building permit decreased 13.6% in the second quarter of 2007 compared to 2006, going from 2,302 permits to 1,988 this year.  The number of permits issued has been increasing steadily over the past few years and the decrease probably indicates a natural ebb in the supply and demand for residential lots.  A major downturn would generally be a drop of 25-30%.

 

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August 8, 2007
Dunkin Donuts is making a big push into the Upstate of South Carolina as a franchisee plans to open 37 stores here in the next seven years. The first six of those should come between August and October of this year and will include The Parkway in Greer, North Pleasantsburg Drive, Laurens Road in Greenville, with remodels to the existing stores at Woodruff Road, Taylors, Anderson.  The North Carolina based Krispy Kreme brand that has long dominated the area has seen financial controversies and growing pains over the last few years.  Dunkin Donuts marketing plan calls for one unit per 25,000 population and expects 40% of sales to come from drive through traffic, making ingress-egress an important part of site selection. 

The Big League World Series held in Easley, South Carolina last week had a fairy tale ending for the local team.  The South Carolina District 1 Upstate team with players from Pickens, Anderson, and Greenville counties defeated Puerto Rico 11-3 in front of 3000 fans and live ESPN coverage in the first live televised broadcast of the event. The Upstate team posted their fourth world title in five years.

Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc, one of the largest developers in South Carolina, has purchased a 1,662 acre timber farm in northern Greenville County with the intention of establishing luxury residential properties.  The farm is located in Cleveland, South Carolina and is near the intersection of state highways 276 and 11, which are located near the mountains rising into North Carolina.  The project will be the first for the company in the Upstate, but they are well recognized with several large developments in the Myrtle Beach area and other spots along the coast.

The Upstate Film Society will put on its second annual Independent Film Festival in September at Cherrydale Cinemas.  The four films to be presented will be Once, Paris Je Taime, My Best Friend, and Introducing the Dwights.  The society also plans to put on a French Film Festival at a later date.

The dog days of summer are on us this week with several days of near 100 degree weather.  We should get some relief by the weekend when temperatures are expected to cool into the low 90s


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August 6 2007
An Atlanta developer plans an upscale apartment complex in the dynamic Greer market at the corner of South Suber and Chick Springs Roads.  The plans call for 240 units in ten, three-story buildings that would rent between $750 and $1200.  Amenities include pool, clubhouse with exercise room, cyber caf, coffee bar, big screen TVs, courtyard and group garages.

Dale Earnhardt Industries and Clemson University have signed a memorandum to share ideas and knowledge in the development of motorsports vehicles.  Clemson and the International Center for Automotive Research has been courting a racing team to partner with for several years, and will provide a good fit to help to help share research and development costs for racing cars.  DEI has endowed a three-year scholarship to Clemson that provides for a student to intern with the racing team.  A physical presence in the area is also likely with the possibility of a building being named after Dale Earnhardt.

Roll-Royce is considering South Carolina as one of seven states in contention for a new jet engine plant.  Manufacturing of the aircraft engines would be the primary goal, but assembly and testing could also be included.  The project should be decided by the end of 2007.

Lawmakers in Columbia have approved a $221 million tax package that will eliminate the 3% sales tax on groceries and also the bottom bracket on income tax.  The change will occur in November of 2007.  Other projects in the Upstate that received funding were the University Center in Greenville, the Donaldson Development Commission, and the Reedy River Restoration Project.


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August 5, 2007
The historic old building which formerly housed Kimbrells Furniture on Main Street in downtown Greenville, SC is under consideration for renovation into retail and high end condos.  If the Design and Preservation Commission approves the changes, there might be a couple of retail spaces on the first floor and two high end condos or office spaces on the second floor.  If approved, the project would be completed by the spring of 2008.

The Carolina First Center will host the Career Connections job fair on August 8. Approximately 40 Upstate South Carolina companies will be present and trying to fill positions.  Current unemployment rate in Greenville County is 4.8%, which is lower than most of the other Upstate Counties.

 

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August 2, 2007
Greenville South Carolina is known for its concentration of engineers and the current demand locally for them is increasing.  Mustang Engineering LP plans to hire about 30 engineers for a new automation and control business unit in the Greenville.  They currently employ about 180 in their local Process and Industrial business unit, located in the Patewood office park off I-385.

Tax-free shopping starts this weekend in South Carolina, and back to schoolers can save the state sales tax on their purchases.  For more information, see www.sctax.org, then click Whats New and then Sales Tax Holiday.


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August 1, 2007
General Electric keeps reeling in orders for gas turbine engines that are made in the Greenville plant.  Qatar has recently ordered 10 9FA turbines valued at $1.8 billion that will complement a separate order from Saudi Arabia worth $2 billion.  GE has added about 100 hourly workers this year and plans to add another 20 in August.
The city of Greenville, South Carolina is moving forward with plans to extend the Reedy River walking trail southward.  Gaining contiguous land from various landowners was the projects main hurdle, but completion of the cushioned rubberized and cement track could be by the end of the year.  The ultimate plan is to connect the trail to Lake Conestee Park which is farther downriver to the south and also add spurs into adjacent neighborhoods.

A sports complex near the old Greenville Municipal Stadium on Mauldin Road has been announced with the first phase expected to be completed by the end of 2008.  Phase one will feature three regulation basketball courts, two half-courts, four tennis courts, four racquetball courts, aquatic center with three pools, free-weight area, boxing area, restaurant, 3500 seat concert area, and retail space.  Phase two will include day spa for women, a movie theater, 1000 seat amphitheater, video game area, and more retail shops.  The site will occupy 120 acres

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Systems new hospital at the Village of Pelham has completed the steel structure and is moving toward completion.  The facility is located near I-85 and Hwy 14, an area that is developing rapidly.  State legislation has recently passed a tax incentive package in an attempt to attract a retailer such as Bass Pro Shops to a nearby commercial venture.

Greer city council has rezoned a 27 acre parcel on Popular Road Extension for the development of Juniors Junction Family Fun Park.  Revived Interiors Inc. plans to build a miniature golf course, go-cart track, bumper-boat pond, and arcade building with group party areas.

 

Greenville County has denied a rezoning request for a commercial project on North Pleasantburg Road near Cherrydale Mall, citing resistance by local residents at 100 Piney Mountain.  The developer states that the project may still be able to proceed if it is downsized, leaving off the department store. 

 

In Greer, South Carolina, a recent proposed ordinance to prohibit skateboarding and in-line skates in the central business district has been adamantly rejected.  Despite claims that skating is damaging properties, the City Council maintains that skating can also bee seen as an alternate means of transportation.  Look for a modified version by the council on a second reading.

 

The renovation of Eastside High School is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for the upcoming school year.  A new structure with 215,000 square feet will accommodate 1,400 students which is an increase of 200 from the previous capacity.  There will be a new library, administration area, 420-space student parking area, and 65 new classrooms.  Workers will begin to demolish the old building, excluding the old auditorium and gymnasium to make room for a faculty parking lot.

 

Value Place plans to build two new extended stay hotels in the area in the summer of 2008.  One will be located in Duncan, SC at I-85 and Hwy 290; the other will be in Simpsonville, SC at I-385 and West Georgia Road.  Both locations will have 121 rooms and rent for about $179 per week.

Sources: Greenville News, Greater Greer News, Outlook, Greenville Journal


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July 27, 2007
A retail center is planned for the highway 290 corridor north of Greer where residential growth has been steadily adding subdivisions.  Cottage Corners will be located on a nine-acre site near McElhaney and Old Rutherford Roads, and is expected to house a branch of Pelham Road Family Dentistry, Taylors Family Medicine, and Monterrey's Mexican restaurant.  Lots are available for sale or lease and ground breaking is expected with a few more tenant commitments.  The area has averaged about 110 new homes per year in the period from 2000 to 2006.  Highway 290 also connects to scenic highway 25 that provides access to the Upstate and North Carolina mountains.

 

The one-year old Greenville Drive baseball stadium downtown continues to generate opportunities for the area and prove to be a valuable asset.  The Southern Atlantic League announced that the 2010 All-Star game will be held at the West End Field.  The NCAA Southern Conference also plans to hold its conference tournament here in 2009.  This year's SAL All-Star game in Rome, GA and the Southern Conference tourney in Charleston attracted 4,333  and 31,000 fans respectively. For 2006, the West End field was named Ballpark of the Year by Baseballparks.com and drew a record 330,126 fans to ballpark.

 

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is seeking a federal grant that will help to lure a low-cost carrier back to the market.  The $800,000 grant and a matching $200,000 would be used as insurance by a carrier that failed to meet their quotas.  GSP is seeking airlines such as Denver's Frontier that would give access to the West Coast with economy fares.  Airport officials estimate that they lose 35% of traffic to other airports with pricing discounts.  Elsewhere in aviation news, you may see an upgrade of regional jets to include small business and first class sections in an attempt to lure business travelers that are tired of cramped 50-seat jets.  All the airlines flying out of GSP except for Allegiant Air utilize smaller, regional jets.

 

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June 27th 2007

In an attempt to land a retail giant like Bass Pro Shops to the upcoming commercial-retail shop at I-85 and Hwy 14, Upstate legislators have crafted an attractive incentive package.  But not all looks well as Governor Sanford has indicated that he will veto the tax-breaks bill as he did last year for alarge sporting goods store in Charleston. Last year, Legislature overrode Sanfords veto. The current bill modifies the Tourism Infrastructure Admissions Tax act to include extraordinary retail establishments that are within two miles of an interstate, which attract at least 2 million visitors each year with 35% of those traveling at least 50 miles.
The Greenville residential real estate market is still chugging along in defiance of regional and national sales trends. According to the local MLS board, sales are up 6.5% in Greenville, Pickens and Laurens counties over a year ago. Neighboring Spartanburg is up 2% while Anderson is down 10%. Coastal South Carolina markets are down too, with Myrtle beach down 32%, and Charleston down 17%. This follows reports of a 3.4% decline of existing homes in the Southern region, led by Floridas 34% decrease.

And in local professional sports, the Greenville Drive baseball team is seeing strong support from the local fans. The have drawn an average of 4,792 fans in the first 30 games which is slightly ahead of last years numbers. Having such a strong second year is atypical since a first year spike is usually followed by tapering attendance. But hey, its a fun place to go.

Highs should be around 90 this week with a good chance of scattered thundershowers, with clearing expected over the weekend.

Source:  Greenville News

 

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Monday June 18th, 2007

The Childrens Museum of Greenville is entering into its final phase after a four year fund raising effort and hopes to open late in 2008. With 79,000 square feet and 17 interactive exhibits, there will be plenty of ways for children to combine play in a manner to spark imagination and curiosity. You can see more about the upcoming museum, its progress toward completion, and fun puzzles at www.tcmgreenvillesc.org
The coveted downtown parking spaces that line Main street under a cooling canopy of shade trees have been a been an attractive hallmark of Greenville for years; they are free, but that might change.  The parking situation is under discussion because there is a perception that downtown lacks adequate parking, yet there are 9,500 other for-pay spaces that are not getting used efficiently. Topics considered by the City Council include directional signs to the outlying garages with shuttles, better loading zone laws, incentive systems for people paying fines early, and maybe even the parking meter. More on this issue as we hear back from the Council.

Greenville High School finished their soccer season with a perfect 27-0 record and took the Class AAA state championships. As if that was not enough cause to celebrate, they then made the number one position in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America because their team scored 132 goals while giving up just four. Congratulations Red Raiders!

Fathers Day weekend kicked in a heat wave that will lead to thundershowers the middle of this week.  Temperatures should drop from the current 90s to the 80s, with clear stable weather in store for the weekend.

Source:  Greenville News, Greenville Journal

 

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Monday June 18th 2007

The city of Greer, South Carolina has landed a prime ranking in Business Week Onlines 25 Best Affordable Suburbs in the South.  Also lauded by Sperlings Best Places, the cities were rated by commute times, school test scores, home prices and cost of living.  Greer had an average commute time of 24.9 minutes and a median home price of $184,000.  It is only 20 minutes from downtown Greenville and had seen revitalization of the downtown area as well as substantial growth northward toward the mountains and two of the lakes in Greenville County.  BMWs growing manufacturing facility is a short distance south of the city on I-85, which makes for an easy commute.

Last months groundbreaking for a new port in Charleston, South Carolina, will provide big benefits for Upstate businesses.  Our local companies represent 60% of the goods that come in and out of the port, an overwhelming concentration compared to the rest of South Carolina.  By avoiding an upcoming capacity issue with the current ports, the road for continued growth in the state has been paved.  The North Charleston port, which will be located at the old Navy base site, should be completed around 2013.  In addition, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA) also plans to create another port on the Savanna River in Jasper County.


Theres a new venue for local music that take place on an old stage at Paris Mountain State Park.  A 12-level amphitheater sits along a forested hiking trail just up from Lake Placid and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.  "Music in the Woods" is the concert series continuing every Saturday night at 6:00 until dusk that will promote local acoustic musicians, and will run through July.  The shows are free with the purchase of a two dollar park fee.


Great Scot-let the games begin!  The second annual Greater Greenville Scottish Games and Highland Festival was back this year better than ever.  It all started Friday, June 8th downtown with a parade and ensuing party with two acclaimed Scottish rock bands.Follow that up with the main event at Furman University on Saturday with hefty athletic participants throwing things around, border collies herding sheep and ducks, highland dancing and music stages, more marching band competitions that bring a tear to many an man's eye, axe tossing, and Wee Scotland for the kids...  It was big fun for everyone!

Cherrydale Mall may see a significant addition if County Council approves a plan that will add commercial space and 30 patio homes on 5.9 acres.  Possible tenants include an electronics store, bookstore, shoe store, and restaurants.  Recent additions across Pleasantsburg Drive include a Golden Corral, Starbucks, KFC, and Staples.  Cherrydale is just north of the city center on the way to Travelers Rest.

Source:  Greenville News, Greater Greer News, Outlook, Greenville Journal


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Monday June 11th, 2007

The city of Greer, South Carolina has landed a prime ranking in Business Week Onlines 25 Best Affordable Suburbs in the South.  Also lauded by Sperlings Best Places, the cities were rated by commute times, school test scores, home prices and cost of living.  Greer had an average commute time of 24.9 minutes and a median home price of $184,000.  It is only 20 minutes from downtown Greenville and had seen revitalization of the downtown area as well as substantial growth northward toward the mountains and two of the lakes in Greenville County.  BMWs growing manufacturing facility is a short distance south of the city on I-85, which makes for an easy commute.


Last months groundbreaking for a new port in Charleston, South Carolina, will provide big benefits for Upstate businesses.  Our local companies represent 60% of the goods that come in and out of the port, an overwhelming concentration compared to the rest of South Carolina.  By avoiding an upcoming capacity issue with the current ports, the road for continued growth in the state has been paved.  The North Charleston port, which will be located at the old Navy base site, should be completed around 2013.  In addition, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA) also plans to create another port on the Savanna River in Jasper County.


Theres a new venue for local music that take place on an old stage at Paris Mountain State Park.  A 12-level amphitheater sits along a forested hiking trail just up from Lake Placid and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.  Music in the Woods is the concert series continuing every Saturday night at 6:00 until dusk that will promote local acoustic musicians, and will run through July.  The shows are free with the purchase of a two dollar park fee.


After an unusually hot weekend for this time of year, were expecting cloudy skies this week with scattered thunderstorms.  Highs should be n the mid 80s.


Source:  Greenville News, Greater Greer News, Outlook, Greenville Journal

 

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Freedom Weekend Aloft in Simpsonville, South Carolina wrapped up four splendid days of hot air balloon demonstrations plus lots of other entertainment with an estimated attendance of 175,000.  Organizers feel that the event was a huge success and they expect they will return to the same location next year.  The event started at the Donaldson Center in 1982, but this year marks the return to Greenville County after a seven year hiatus to Anderson.

In the next couple of months, a feasibility study for high-speed rail in the Upstate should be concluded by the Volpe Center, a research arm for the federal DOT.  The proposed Southeast high-speed rail corridor will connect Charlotte, NC to Macon, GA with several stops along the Upstate, and add to another proposed route that goes from Charlotte to Washington DC or farther north.  Planners are considering 7-14 stops in the Upstate with Spartanburg, Greenville, GSP International Airport, and Clemson high on the list of possibilities.  The routes would generally follow established railroad right of ways with a separate track for safety considerations.  125-150 mph diesel technology trains are probably the best choice for these trains because of ridership capacity and revenues generated.

The Upstate of South Carolina landed a big one when the Bassmaster Classic announced that the 2008 competition will be held at Lake Hartwell February 22-24.  The event is considered to be the Superbowl of Bass Fishing with 50 highly qualified anglers competing for a purse of $1.2 million and $500,000 for the winner.  ESPN2 will devote 13 hours of coverage and the economic impact for the area could be as high as $25 million.

The Upstate weather should be clear and warm this week through the weekend.  Highs are expected in the mid 80s and lows in the 60s.

Source:  Greenville News


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5/15/07 
The Greenville County Planning Commission of South Carolina has approved a massive development project near the intersection of Woodruff Road and I-85 at a 75-acre area known as The Point.The project is generally seen as a "desirable model" that will bring 500,000 square feet of shopping, 600,000 square feet of new office space, a 420-room hotel, 1,225 condos, and 1125 apartments.The only reservation is an increased traffic load of 32,000 daily vehicle trips that will stress the popular area that already has 37,000 daily vehicle trips.More roads through the project are planned, but the long term plan for the Woodruff / I-85 exchange needs to be carefully evaluated.

A local camp for disabled children and adults located in the northern part of Greenville County is preparing to move to a better location.Camp Spearhead has been around since 1968 and serves more than 600 attendees every year on its 178-acre campus. A rent increase for the site has prompted the Greenville County Recreation District to take over the camp and fund it with revenues from the recently approved TRAC plan which generates monies from a 2% restaurant sales tax.Other funds are expected from The Cliffs Communities, the State of South Carolina, and contributions from local groups.The move should complete by 2009.

The recent arts festival "Artisphere" in Greenville downtown was named one of the "Top Twenty Events in the Southeast" for the month of May by the Southeast Tourism Society.Attendance for the three day event was estimated to be around 60,000, up 15,000 from 2006.The 100 invited visual artists averaged $4500 in sales which was up $900 from the previous year.Last week I noticed that the extraordinary sidewalk chalk art was still in excellent shape and attracting onlookers.

Clear and warm early this week with highs around 80.Look for some thundershowers later in the week with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.

Source:Greenville News

 

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5/6/2007
The Carolina First Saturday Market has opened its third season with a new venue in downtown Greenville at the corner of Main and McBee.Previous seasons had it placed one block off Main, so the new location will give it more visibility.You can expect fresh local produce, gourmet foods, shrubs, musical performances, chef demonstrations, and a nice mix of people enjoying the various activities.The event will be weekly through September 29 from 8:00 a.m. to noon.
Greenville County Council is considering tax incentives to a state and other corporations in exchange for capital investments of nearly $2.4 billion.Project "Skyline" would involve a mixed-use project of "business, office, hotel, restaurant, commercial and corporate headquarters" with the county spending about $115 million on public infrastructure improvements.

Pickens County is trying to make the Cherokee Foothhills Scenic Highway even more attractive by requiring billboards to be at least 2500 feet from the centerline.Commonly known as State Highway 11, the road runs across Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties below the escarpment into the mountains of North Carolina.The area was formerly known as the Keowee or Cherokee Path and served as trading route for English and French fur traders.A short 30 minute drive from downtown Greenville will give you access to some great views and tremendous state parks like Ceasar's Head and Table Rock.

Great spring weather is on us this week after a welcome rain over the weekend.Look for highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s with clear skies.


Source:Greenville News

 

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5/1/07
General Electric Co. held its annual shareholders meeting in Greenville last week where CEO Jeffrey Immelt painted an optimistic future for the local Energy Division.Not only are there several strong orders and demand for gas turbine engines, but GE also has technology for coal gasification that is much cleaner than current standards.The U.S. government as granted tax incentives to five power plants to develop coal gasification systems; GE is involved in four of the projects.Greenvilles energy division also supplies systems for wind generated electrical systems, which is picking up in demand.GE took advantage of the meeting to announce a $100,000 grant to the Roper Mountain Science Center, a teacher training facility where teachers learn how to encourage students to consider science and engineering careers.

The F-86 Sabre Jet that honors Air Force Maj. Rudolph Anderson in Greenvilles downtown Cleveland Park got a facelift after 40 years on the job last week.The monument is in recognition of a Greenville native who was the only American killed in the Cuban Missile crisis.Anderson was shot down while flying a U2 surveillance plane over Cuba on October 27, 1962.Local manufacturer Lockheed Martin stepped up to do the painstaking work of sanding and applying several coats to protect the plane.The monument sits along the walking trail that connects Cleveland Park and the Greenville Zoo to the Falls Park of the West End.

And for all you dance fiends, Shaggin on Augusta will be in full force May 19 at Lewis Plaza off August Road.The popular springtime tradition will feature several locally based bands and many contestants showing off their best of South Carolinas state dance.Also included will be childrens activities and rides.

A forecast high of 90 degrees today will be close to the record maximum temperature of 91 in Greenville South Carolina, but things should cool off to normal later this week and into the weekend.Look for scattered thundershowers and highs in the 70s.

 

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4/25/07

The nearby cities of Greer and Simpsonville are following a path similar to that of Greenville and launching redevelopment projects in their downtown areas.In Greer, a new city hall and community park are at the top of the list and will be located on East Poinsett Street between Cannon and Line Streets.You can expect a one stop shop type citizens service area from the city hall with some mixed use retail, restaurant, office and residential space included.The 12-acre park will contain an amphitheater, playground, basketball court, walking trails, gardens and walking trails.Other improvements will be made to the Police and Municipal Court Complex, Cannon Street Gym faade, the central Poinsett-Main intersection, and the Depot Street parking lot.

A few miles to the south, the fast growing city of Simpsonville is also working in the same direction.The city planners have initiated a streetscape project by burying the utilities, adding turning lanes to Main Street, and planting trees and shrubbery to make it more pedestrian friendly.Just down the road a couple of miles, Pontiacs Freedom Weekend Aloft is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend and will bring hot air balloons, music and lots of action.A variety of entertainment is planned, including mainliners Goo Goo Dolls, Gary Allan, and Govt Mule.

Artisphere, our annual international arts festival wrapped up a successful family oriented event last weekend with great spring weather.It was easy to walk around and sample many of the outdoor events that included artist booths, side walk chalk artists, jugglers, and a variety of kids crafts.Brian Olsons performed his popular Art In Action by creating quick, large canvas portraits of musicians with multiple brushes in hand and paint flying everywhere.

Nice weather should continue this week with highs around 80 and lows in the upper 50s.Thunderstorms are possible this week, but expect clearing for the weekend.

Source:Greenville News, Greenville Journal, County Line News

 

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4/16/2007
In the Golden Box area off highway 14 and I-85, a large urban-village style shopping and entertainment complex has been proposed, which is indicative of the pressure to develop eastern Greenville and into Spartanburg County near GSP Airport.The complex would encompass 1.3 million square feet of building space and feature pedestrian friendly plazas, sidewalks, and green spaces.It would include, shops, food stores, a cinema, restaurants, office space, department stores, nature exhibits, furniture stores, and automotive, marine and aircraft retail.
Greenville Police has recently hired new Chief Terri Wilfong, its first female in that position.She hails from Louisville Metro Police Department where she was an assistant chief in charge of as many as 900 employees, and in charge of high profile events such as the Kentucky Derby.Law enforcement is apparently in her blood; her father and grandfather were cops, and both her husband and son are cops.Major Troy Riggs of the Louisville Police said, "Greenville has gotten a good one".We're happy to have her here to bring in new ideas.

If you are looking forward to some of South Carolina's fine peaches this summer, they will be in short supply.The record cold snap over Easter weekend has probably knocked out 90% of the peach crop and according to Lem Dillard of Greer, "There's no question here about it being a disaster on our place."

We got a good soaking rain over the weekend...you can almost see that grass grow in front of your eyes!You can expect cool breezy weather today with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s continuing through the week.


Source:Greenville News, Greenville Journal

 

 

 

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4/10/07
You won't find Powdersville on a map, but it's the fastest growing area of Anderson County and is located just over the line from Greenville County.Downtown Greenville is only 15 minutes away, the schools are good, and Anderson county taxes are low; it's no surprise that people have been attracted to this hidden gem of the Upstate.Once defined as the intersection of highways 153 and 81, it has now unofficially expanded to a much broader geographic area north of I-85, south of Easley, and westward from 153.Most of the retail growth has been along the highway 153 corridor which is the main thoroughfare between the interstate and the outskirts of Easley.Average household income is approximately $10,000 more than the rest of the county, which has encouraged overall growth.
Spartanburg County recently lost a bid for a new Sealed Air Corporation call center to an unspecified Greenville county location.The deal will bring about 100 jobs with salaries ranging from $35-40,000 annually, and will join nearly 6,000 similar workers in 19 Greenville locations.That setback didn't stop Spartanburg County from attracting Adidas AG from announcing the creation of two distribution complexes that will create 1200 jobs by the fall off 2009. The two projects are for 1.1 million and 800,000 square-foot warehouses, planned for Adidas shoes and apparel respectively.

South Carolina finally got to see its first sub-4-minute mile at Furman University last Saturday.Alan Webb, one of the best milers in the country, patiently stayed behind a pace setter then held his hand to his ear as he started the last lap to get the crowd cheering.Leaving the rest of the pack behind, his final time was 3:57.83.Furman used the occasion to announce a new $2.5 million track house and complex that will in corporate the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training facility.Furman had a nationally ranked track and field program in the 70's.

Source:Greenville News, GSA Business, Greenville Journal

 

 

 

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4/2/07
BMW has announced a goal to increase production at the Greer plant to 200,000 cars per year by 2010.This is good news for the Upstate because it will not only increase employment at the car manufacturer, but will also have a profound impact on BMW suppliers, many of whom are found locally.Across the street from the main entrance to BMW, Liberty Property Trust has purchased 51 acres for an industrial park that will mostly house tenants who serve the auto manufacturer.The first to sign up is the Fast Tec Group, an Indianapolis firm that provides sorting, inspection, re-work and containment services for vehicle manufacturers.The developer plans to build up to six buildings on the land over the next five years, as demand requires.Demand does seem to be consistently high in the Golden Box area south of I-85, but according to the developer, inventory of Class A industrial space is lacking.

The number of aviation firms in the area has prompted Embry-Riddle International Aeronautical University Worldwide to open a campus here for Aviation Maintenance Management.Students at Greenville Tech working toward their airframe power train certificate can transfer easily into Embry-Riddles four-year degree program. Aircraft technician was recently listed by Forbes magazine as number 6 in the Top 10 blue collar jobs.

Downtown Alive, the weekly Thursday night live-music event in the center of town has begun for the 2007 season.This popular gathering closes down the upper end of Main Street for a great family excursion.You can expect a friendly crowd, a variety of music, street vendors, and sidewalk caf tables from the restaurants.The event acts as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Arts Council.

Theres a chance of thundershowers early this week with highs in the 70s and lows in the mid-50s.It should clear up with cooling weather Thursday with highs around 60.


Source:Greenville News, GSA Business

 

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3/26/07
Greenville engineers should be excited about the recent boom in business for large engineering companies in the area.  Fluor has announced that they are tracking 35 nuclear power plants to be built in the US from 2010 to 2020, which makes it the first ones to be seriously considered since the Three Mile accident in 1979.  Fluor expects to hire more engineers to meet this demand, and follows a recent 200 employee addition in response to increased demand on other sectors.

After a lot of debate, the Greenville County Offices won't move to the new Magnolia Mall on Woodruff Road after all.  Canyon Gulfside Greenville LLC was unable to come to terms with County Council over how they would develop the aging mall bought last year.  The plan kept changing until there was no residential housing included in the mix of commercial and retail.  Also, at stake was the 33 acres of prime downtown land where the County buildings now sit. Gulfside wanted to develop the downtown site with high-end office, retail, and commercial if they could move the offices to Magnolia Point.  Lacking a satisfactory agreement with the County, Gulfside has now sold Magnolia Point to Menin Development Companies while in the middle of a demolition project.  We'll have to wait and see how Magnolia Point plays out for high end residential real estate that is surrounded by a burgeoning commercial and retail district.

Its full speed ahead for the Carolina Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail, which will connect downtown Greenville and Travelers Rest with a running-biking corridor.After crews remove the steel from the old railway this summer, recreational district employees and volunteers will move the wooden crossties.With funds from the 2% hospitality tax available in the fall, paving should begin.

Unseasonably warm this week with highs around 80 and lows in the mid-50s.Some clouds are expected but no real rain is in the forecast.

Source:Greenville News

 

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3/19/07
A high speed bus line that could run from downtown Greenville to Clemson Universitys International Center for Automotive Research is in the works.The county transportation board has approved the citys application for a $500,000 federal grant that will pay for the design and planning of the route.Once the project is planned, the city can then apply for 80% federal funding to implement the plan.By connecting key intermediate points along Laurens Road, S. Pleasantsburg, the Carolina First Center, Woodruff Rd., and the Verdae project, the city hopes to spark a new development corridor.If things progress well, the route may be in place in about 3 years.

Speaking of Clemsons ICAR, the South Financial Group want to extend the road going through CU-ICAR and Millennium campus to Woodruff Road.This will pass directly through the area where South Financial plans to build their corporate banking campus and provide a needed connector between the established Woodruff and Laurens Road shopping districts.Permits have been issued and trees will soon begin to fall.South Financial plans to bring 600 jobs and $100 million worth of investment to the campus.

If youre a thrill seeker or just like innovative filmmaking, you might want to check out the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour which visits Greenville on March 22.

The international festival is similar in format to Sundance or Cannes and focuses on documentaries about mountain places with topics ranging from rock climbing to skateboarding to cycling.Camelot Cinemas will host the event at 7:00 p.m.

Boy, it was brisk this weekend from that cold front stretching down the east coast, but the weather should warm up this week with the highs around 70 and lows in the 40s.We might get some showers mid-week, but clearing for the weekend.

Source:Greenville News, Greenville Journal

 

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3/12/07
Spring is here folks...flowers are popping up and the weather is getting milder.You can expect clear to partly cloudy skies this week with highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s.

The no smoking law in Greenville City is only three months old but is coming under legal scrutiny.Circuit Court judge John Few has ruled that the law violates the state constitution, which not only affect Greenville, but several other cities around the state that have enacted such smoking bans.Mayor Knox White has subsequently vowed to appeal the decision which could take it to the state supreme court.

Michelin North America is a significant employer in the Upstate and is creating a presence downtown with its announcement of Michelin On Main in the Riverplace development.In an effort to connect with the community, Michelin will offer branded merchandise, interactive displays of the corporate history, hold events and offer advice on tires.

Paris Mountain State Park has opened a new Park Center in the historic bathhouse next to Lake Placid.After considerable repairs, the local stone building has been converted into offices, classrooms, and a visitor center with a small store.With additional fundraising, the next step will be to create historical exhibits on Greenvilles original water supply and the parks ecosystem.The bathhouse was built in the 1930s by the Roosevelts Civilian Conservation Core and functioned as a changing room for swimmers in the lake.

After years of resistance, Duke Energy has agreed to divert some of local revenues toward the burial of power lines which often fail with our occasional ice storms.The city is studying five areas where a major impact will be felt.They include an older, heavily trees residential area; a redevelopment area; a commercial area, and major residential street.

Source:Greenville News

 

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 March 5, 2007
Clear weather this week as spring is headed our way.Highs in the low 60's with nighttime lows around 40 degrees.

One year after the opening of the West End baseball stadium, the Greenville Drive is already looking at a $1 million renovation package that will focus on cosmetic and access-related enhancements.The Bi-Lo playground in left field will be enlarged and above it will be a "party porch" able to accommodate 50 at a time for $1,950 per game.In right field, the area originally intended to be bullpen seating will become the 20 person Coca-Cola dugout which will rent for $600 per game.You will also see changes to the Spinx 500 club, picnic area, concourse, and the Field Street entrance.Attendance in 2006 for the 5,000 seat stadium was 330,078 fans which averages 4,783 per game.

As the Golden Box controversy over annexation to Greer versus sewage service subsides after last week's agreement, developers are clamoring for land and projects in that area south of I-85.A $290 million project is proposed at the southeast corner of I-85 and Hwy 14, just into Spartanburg County.The 175 acre site would house a large complex with commercial and retail space, plus a cinema and hotel conference center.

Furman Company's commercial report for 2007 highlights trends in that sector for the Upstate market.Salient points include: The performance of the Publix and Staples at the upcoming McBee Station will demonstrate whether the national retailers can succeed in downtown Greenville; the vacancy rate for office condos in the Upstate is greater than 40% but available class A office space is scarce; textile industry employment has dropped 50% in the last 5 years and the resulting empty mill buildings are not very marketable although a few have been converted to residential condos;construction of commercial retail space should boom after a lull in 2006; the warehouse space market will see a boom as more goods produced overseas are imported into the US and staged for distribution.


Source: Greenville News, GSA Business

 

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 February 27, 2007
Clear this week with highs in the mid 60s and lows in the 40s.There might be some precipitation later in the week with moderate temperatures in the 60s.

Vision 2020 for Science is about to reinvent The Roper Mountain Science Center by putting 14 high school students on a research project to determine how the center can position itself as a leading science education facility.Opened in 1985, the Science Center quickly became a state of the art training destination for science teachers in South Carolina.As technology has advanced, the need to update the facility has led to the student think tank, where participants can earn college scholarships for their efforts. The 64-acre site located near I-85 & 385 currently houses an observatory, planetarium, earth and marine science centers, and a colonial era living history farm.Roper Mountain is open to the public on the second Saturday of each month; March 10 is Space Day and always sees a big public turnout, so get there early!

Traditional neighborhoods are the latest buzz with housing developers and feature a variety of homes situated around a central park area with select retail businesses to support the community.A new 777 acre development has been proposed in the southeastern section of Greenville County near Five Forks and will be centered on Lake Ottaray. The tract lies between Lee Vaughn and E. Georgia Roads east of Scuffletown Rd.A County Council public hearing on rezoning the land will take place at 6:30 p.m. on March 19.

The South Carolina legislature is trying to provide a free, state-wide wireless broadband network.While only in the feasibility study stage, the goal is to provide basic service to schools, homes, public safety & health care workers, municipalities, and businesses anywhere in the state.It's futuristic, but maybe not impossible using the state's network of educational television towers.

And, our homegrown singer Chris Sligh is still in the running for "American Idol" after surviving last week's challenge and trading one-liners with judge Simon Cowell.The 28 year old is the music worship leader at the Seacoast Church in Greenville.

Source: Greenville News, Greenville Journal


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 February, 19, 2007
After a windy cold weekend with clouds, you can expect sun today with highs in the 50s.Warmer mid-week with showers and highs in the 60's.Hopefully it will clear again for the weekend. Get ready, Spring is just around the corner!

The long standing dispute between Spartanburg County and the Greer Commission of Public Works over sewer service and annexation has reached a negotiated settlement.Owners of single family homes can now tap into the CPW gravity fed sewer lines without forced annexation into Greer.However, this rule doesn't apply if the property changes hands or is being developed.With this argument resolved, you can expect to see a significant increase in development around the "Golden Box" area- south of I-85 and generally between highways 101 and 14.

Cytec Industries Inc. has announced a $150 million plant expansion that will double the capacity of their carbon fiber production.That's good news for employees because the move is expected to generate 225 jobs with wages starting at $17 per hour for assembly line positions.Cytec is located at Donaldson Center industrial park (an ex-Air Force Base) and produces carbon fiber as a reinforcing additive for high tech plastics that largely serve the aerospace industry.The expansion is scheduled to start in 2008 with plant startup in early 2010.

The Enoree landfill on Anderson Ridge Road reached maximum capacity this year and closed its gates on February 9, shunting loads to a more remote location on south Hwy 25.However, a taxpayer request for a recycling center at Enoree has succeeded and residents can continue to use the more convenient facility for many of the same items they took before.It's been renamed the Enoree Residential Waste and Recycling Center and its improved center is open for appliances, car batteries, used motor oil, yard debris, household garbage and construction debris.The allowable quantities have been decreased and no business or construction dumping will be permitted.

Source: Greenville News, Greenville Journal

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February 12, 2007
Partly cloudy today with highs in the low 60's, but it looks like rain is on the way for Tuesday. However, it should be clearing up the rest of the week with the highs in the mid 40's.

Despite several retail shop closures in the central main street of downtown, the West End area near Falls Park is the place to be right now.Restaurants seem to dominate the upstarts with six current projects under way.The central West End will have American Grocery specializing in fresh ingredients, Franks Corner Barbeque, and Oysters; near the baseball field you'll see Liberty Taproom & Grill and Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse; River Place will soon see High Cotton and a yet-unnamed Mediterranean fare restaurant.Other new additions include an interior design and residential consulting business, a women's apparel shop, and a Christian T-shirt shop in the main West End.

Stevens Aviation Inc. has recently renovated a 30,000 square foot hangar at Greenville Spartanburg International Airport for their commercial turboprop maintenance division. The expansion at GSP makes room for other additional aircraft maintenance at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park where Stephens is currently located.Stephens has maintenance facilities at Nashville, Denver, and Dayton, OH.They also act as the fixed-base operator at GSP, providing general services to the aviation sector such as fueling and aircraft charters.

Greenville's own George Hincapie is attempting to attract top level professional cyclists and athletes to the area with a high end residential development and performance training center.Located in northern Greenville County near the mountains, Pla d'Adet will encompass 300 acres and include a training center, hotel, conference center, bicycle shop, and two four-mile outdoor tracks.They plan to sell 85 2-acre lots priced at $500,000 to $1.2 million each.There will also be twenty 1800 square foot chalets available to property owners and their guests.The name Pla d'Atet comes from the mountainous stage of the Tour de France won by Hincapie in 2005 as a member of Lance Armstrong's team.

Source: Greenville News, GSA Business, Greenville Journal

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 February 5, 2007
Winter has finally come to the Upstate with a little snow last week and clear, cold weather this week.As predicted, the 1" of snow is all gone, except for few remnants of neighborhood snowmen.Schools were out one day on Thursday, and most had a 2-hour delay on Friday.Lows in the 20's tonight, with lows around 30 the rest of the week.

The numbers are in for 2006 nationally and I'd like to review them briefly to note the astounding difference between the Greenville and national markets.I've mentioned several times over the past few years that our market has been steadily growing as opposed to the selling frenzy that we've seen push up values in other parts of the country.Skeptics that predicted a bursting "bubble syndrome" may be partially right for some select markets, but as you can see below, Greenville has been chugging along nicely while 2006 was very weak nationally. According to the GGAR MLS, total sold units were up 20% while existing home sales nationally were down 8.4%.Even more interesting are the new home permits issued - we're up 3.6% while the country is down a whopping 29%!Since there is an abundance of land available in our area, communities continue to spring up and I estimate new home sales to be about 29% of the total sales for 2006.With the days on market (mostly existing homes) declining to 84 days, the inventory continues to turn over at a respectable pace, despite a 22% increase of existing homes on the market in Jan 2005. Average price outpaced the increased in median price which indicates that number of upper tier homes $300,000 and above is growing.With unemployment down, the Greenville area looks to have strong economic future ahead with a solid residential real estate foundation to support it.