Former Belk Store to be Re-developed in Anderson


Hotel, night life to fill Anderson’s vacant Belk site

April 3, 2008

By Heidi Cenac – Anderson Independent

The former Belk site in downtown Anderson soon could be home to a restaurant, retail shops and a 50-room hotel.

Developer David Agnew of Charleston-based Civic Square met with the Anderson City Council downtown committee this week to unveil a conceptual plan for the 1.1-acre site. Although Mr. Agnew originally talked about putting condominiums on the property, those plans were nixed to reflect a change in the residential market.

Instead, the development’s first floor likely would include a restaurant, retail shops, a meeting room and a bar. The second floor would hold a 50-room, independently-operated hotel. A third floor could house a restaurant/bar, and the basement would include a 75-space parking facility.

City Council member Tom Dunaway said the development’s second phase would replace the two parking lots behind the Belk site and across from Uptown Lounge with a second parking deck.

“It would be the greatest thing we could do to make this happen,” City Council member Buck Roberts said.

Mr. Roberts and other council members agreed that the city will need the community’s support to make the project a reality. City officials’ first tasks after green-lighting the project will include asking the area’s major companies, such as Michelin and Bosch, to use the facility for events and business visits.

Several cities — including Greenville, Charleston and Columbia — have seen hotels spur development in their downtowns. Anderson officials hope to see the same result here.

“I think it’s a good concept,” council member Steve Kirven said. “It’s not necessarily going to be easy to accomplish, but if we can accomplish it, it will be a benefit in the long term and the bigger picture.”

The city hired Civic Square to redevelop the Belk site roughly a year ago, so the lengthy planning process had led some residents to wonder if work would ever start. But Mr. Kirven said he’d rather the developers take time to find the right concept instead of rushing into a project and seeing it fail.

“That would be worst possible thing,” he said.

The conceptual plan should be presented to the full City Council at an April 14 meeting. City officials plan to solicit public input and finalize plans for the project from June to December. They said the development could be complete by spring 2010.


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