Developer Planning Mixed-Use Project Near Simpsonville


Developer planning mixed-use project near Simpsonville

March 13, 2008

By Angelia Davis

SIMPSONVILLE — A hotel, bank, restaurants and shops are envisioned for a 10.7-acre site at West Georgia Road and I-385 that once accommodated a German textile plant.

Grading is in progress for the planned West Georgia-I-385 Gateway, which will be “a true mixed-use, high-end retail development,” said Eddie Lathan Jr., president of LATCO Development Group LLC.

Kufner Textile Corp. originally occupied the site at the West Georgia/I-385 interchange. It’s now the location that Lathan describes as the “one of the best developable interchanges in the Upstate.”

Lathan said the Kufner plant had probably been empty for a year and a half before he and his two partners purchased it.

The group was allowed to move forward with its development plans this month after the Greenville County Council granted its request to rezone all of the property to a C-2 commercial classification. The property had carried a mix of I-1 industrial and commercial zonings.

The new zoning classification allows for the type of high-end retail planned, Lathan said. “We’re estimating our mixed use retail value of the fully developed parcel will be somewhere between $50 million and $75 million dollars of tax base for Greenville County.”

Seven outparcels are part of the project’s master plan, Lathan said. All of the tenants are expected to be national.

Lathan said he’s received three letters of intent from national restaurant groups. One of those retailers would make its debut in the state by locating there.

Also, Lathan said, “We are in discussions with banks, hotels and restaurants.”

Lathan said he does not disclose the names of potential tenants until after “it’s a done deal.”

In their review of the property, the Greenville County planning staff said the site was “no longer appropriate for industrial zoning due to the surrounding commercial zoning designations and existing and proposed land uses.”

The planning staff also said in their report that due to its location at the intersection of West Georgia and I-385, the site “serves as a gateway to development to the west of West Georgia.”

The property is ideal for the development planned because it’s a “swing back retail location,” Lathan said. That means, it rests nearly halfway between Woodruff and Fairview roads, both of which are fully congested areas, he said.

The property also has “great visibility,” the “access is unbelievable,” and “that area is the fastest growing area as far as rooftops,” Lathan said.

The West Georgia-I-385 Gateway development is across the road from the planned Gateway Park, Lathan said. His group is working with the city of Simpsonville to donate a parcel of their land to the park project.

The Kufner plant has been torn down.

Lathan said he is proud that the concrete from the property was crushed on site and incorporated into the site work to avoid taking much of it to a landfill, Lathan said.

Depending on the weather, site work could end within the next 30 days. Within 60 days, “we should start seeing some vertical construction going up,” Lathan said.

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