Archive for Florence

Nov
03

Small Town Hotels Helping Revitalization Efforts?

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Cities around South Carolina are finding a new opportunity for economic growth with a recent increase in the openings of downtown boutique-style hotels.

A interesting trend among these hotels is the fact they are locally owned and developed. Local entrepreneurs in Florence, Anderson and Beaufort looked to re-create the downtowns where they had grown up with their visions of these niche hotels.

Florence developer Grey Raines opened the 49-room Hotel Florence in a renovated early 20th century building in what once was the city’s main downtown shopping, dining and entertainment district. Less than five years after opening, Raines and his partners are planning an expansion of the hotel.

Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said he saw the hotel project as a catalyst for revitalizing the city’s downtown core—a catalyst that would bring people to the area after dark.

In Beaufort, developer Matt McAlhaney said he knew there was a void in Beaufort for a downtown boutique hotel. The market for affordable hotel rooms, largely for families coming to watch basic-training graduations at Marine Depot Parris Island, was covered mostly by quality national chains. Downtown has a number of bed-and-breakfast operations that offer luxury, but focus on a different type of traveler.

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Categories : Anderson, Beaufort, Florence
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Jun
03

Former H.J. Heinz Plant in Florence to be Sold

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Ruiz Foods announced an expansion Monday through the acquisition of the former H.J. Heinz facility in Florence, a move that will bring more than 500 jobs to the Pee Dee.

Once the facility is renovated and equipped, initial manufacturing operations will begin in 2015. Over the next several years as the facility swings into full production, Ruiz Foods will employ more than 500 workers.

“After conducting an initial search, we quickly narrowed our choice to this facility in Florence, South Carolina,” added Cullen. “My compliments to the State of South Carolina, the people of Florence County and the Florence County Economic Development Partnership — their enthusiasm, cooperation, and flexibility made it possible to make our decision quickly.”

Ruiz’s announcement comes quickly on the heels of H.J. Heinz leaving the facility, located in the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Touchstone Energy Commerce City near Interstate 95 and S.C. Highway 327, it built in 2009. Heinz announced last November that it would be laying off 200 employees over the next several months at the 225,000-square-foot frozen meal processing plant. The state-of-the-art food processing facility did not go into operation until August 2011.

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May
21

Florence Housing Market Rated “Poor”

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The first quarter real estate numbers are in, and the drop in median home values in the Florence area make it currently one of the worst places to buy a home in the country, according to a report on the MSN Real Estate website.

A report from the website Bankrate, which used data from the National Association of Realtors, found that median home values for existing single-family homes fell 12.3 percent in 2014 in the Florence metropolitan area compared to the first quarter last year.

That was enough to give the Florence metropolitan area, which consists of Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties, the poor ranking.

But Pee Dee Realtors Association Board Chair Janet Elvington said it doesn’t give a clear picture.

“The Bankrate.com report leads you to believe that home prices are depreciating,” Elvington said. “Our values are not depreciating. We do tend to sell more homes priced at lower rates purely because those homes are the ones selling better.”

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Mar
31

Downtown Florence Redevelopment Continues

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Widely seen as the catalyst of private investment coming into downtown, the Hotel Florence will mark its one-year anniversary with thanks to those who came before it and praise to those who continue to come downtown in a time span that saw much change.

The adjacent Barringer building came online in December with Kate McAllister’s Mainstream Boutique on the ground floor and Corey E. Phillips’ Edward Jones office on the second floor next door to the Raines Hospitality offices.

The Waters building, on North Dargan, is expected to be complete by late April. That would represent a blockbuster year in downtown for the growing Raines Hospitality Inc. that co-owner Grey Raines says is helping grow downtown.

“We have built our own clientele, and that is very important for us from a success standpoint, that we’re not just seeing overflow from the hotels at the interstate,” Raines said. “We’re seeing a Hotel Florence clientele. They want that unique experience they desire from a very good restaurant like Victor’s, a full-service bar with great menu items, and every month things have only improved.”

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Feb
10

193,800 SF Timmonsville Industrial Building Sold

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A 193,800 square feet  warehouse in Timmonsville, South Carolina has sold.  The purchase price was $1.3 million ($6.71/SF)  for the vacant building.

The 193,800 SF expandable manufacturing facility with 15,700 SF of office, sits on 19.5 acres with 6 dock-high and 1 drive-in doors. The building has 18′ to 32′ clear heights, and is less than 1 mile to I-20.

Colliers International’s Chuck Salley, SIOR and Dave Mathews represented the purchaser, 100 Perfection Way, LLC, in the transaction.

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Dec
19

Florence Retail Center Sold

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Berkeley Capital Advisors has announced the sale of Crossroads Center, a 113,922 SF retail center located in Florence, South Carolina. The Center is anchored by Hamrick’s and Dollar Tree.  The sales price was not disclosed.

Rob Carter, Alex Quarrier, and David Webb of Berkeley Capital Advisors arranged the transaction.

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Oct
24

Florence CBD Redevelopment Continues

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Downtown development interest continues to expand as now North Dargan Street begins to see more movement, especially with the recent purchase of a building by an investment group on the block.

N & R, made up of John R. Etheridge, Kevin Etheridge and Victor Webster, recently closed on the three-story, nearly 17,000-square-foot building at 142 N. Dargan St. The unoccupied building, formerly the Rainwater Furniture store, is zoned for mixed use and the group has plans to utilize it as such, but right now Webster said they’re focused on the ground floor space.

“Our short-term goal is to renovate and attract a tenant downstairs, to have an anchor tenant,” Webster said. “Then the upstairs we’ve kicked around maybe doing an antique mall on the second and third floor. I think our long-term goal would be putting apartments up here on the second and third floor. We have room for four apartments on each floor.”

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Aug
20

Pee Dee Home Sales up 13.5%

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An increase in new home listings and housing inventory kept momentum moving forward in the Florence and Greater Pee Dee real estate markets in July despite falling median prices.

In July the Florence market saw homes sit on the market for about a month longer than in June but listings surged to 157 listings as inventory reached 799 — the highest level of the year for both numbers.

Despite the activity, closings and the median sales price shrank to 67 closed sales and $138,500 in July, a 9.5 percent and 16.6 percent decrease over July 2012 numbers, respectively. Days on the market until sale moved to 103, but the year average is at 99, down 18 percent from 2012.

In the first seven months of the year, 521 homes were sold, a 13.5 percent jump over the same period last year. That increase is similar to the 12 percent increase the Greater Pee Dee saw with 964 homes sold.

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Jun
14

Developers Wanted in Florence

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Come one, come all, developers and planners.

If you have an idea for a major building – especially if it’s for the old Kress building — in downtown Florence, now’s your chance to be heard.

This week, the Florence City Council approved what’s known as a “status quo period” of 60 days for the old Kress store building at the corner of Evans and South Dargan streets. It’s the building with the yellow brick exterior.

The special time window will give interested developers time to submit plans for the Kress building, without worrying about it being sold from under their feet.

Ray Reich, the city’s downtown director, said the “status quo” was necessary after several developers approached Florence about working on the city-owned building. Any interested party will be able to submit plans to the city for the next 60 days thanks to Council’s action.

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Jun
13

Development in Florence Picking Up

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Changes are coming to the area in and around what is supposed to become a hospitality district on Florence’s west side.

Several new projects are in the works in the area around Magnolia Mall and the Florence Civic Center, and others are set to begin shortly.

Area leaders say the current wave of development, and re-development, in the area that stretches from David H. McLeod Boulevard and North Beltline Drive to the interstates, is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

More activity is expected in the next few years as the state and nation move out of the Great Recession.

Florence City Councilman Buddy Brand Jr. said improvements to the area, including pedestrian connectivity, traffic flow studies and signage, will compliment the continued development of the western gateway into the city.

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May
08

New Hotel Prompts Major Renovations in Florence

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The construction of a new hotel has prompted major renovations in Downtown Florence.

Hotel Florence is in the final stages of completion. The plan for the hotel, located on West Evans Street, has been in the works since 2010. Hotel Florence is a three-story building featuring a restaurant on the first floor.

Victor’s Bistro will be moving into the first floor of Hotel Florence. According to Florence Downtown Development Manager Ray Reich, Victors Bistro and Hotel Florence will have a soft open at the end of the month.

“You get a hotel down here which, their activities really begin about six o’clock in the evening when people check in and you start getting that vibrancy,” said Reich.

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Dec
15

Florence County Council Questioned Regarding Acquisitions

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 Florence County Council moved one step closer to acquiring land for the site of a new judicial complex, but one county official is crying foul, saying the government grossly over paid for the recently purchased property.

Florence County Treasurer Dean Fowler said that according to tax documents and other county records, the county council authorized spending more than $1.9 million on six properties located along Irby Street and N.B. Baroody Street in Florence valued at just under $130,000.

Fowler claims county council wasted tax payer dollars purchasing the land, pointing to the latest transaction where council shelled out $541,443 for a parcel on N.B. Baroody Street that tax documents value at $45,600; however County Councilman James Schofield said the county has actually saved tax payer dollars by negotiating for properties like the N.B. Baroody parcel and that Fowler’s argument is fueled by misleading figures.

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Dec
13

DuPont Plant in Florence Sold

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The former DuPont Teijin Films site in Florence has been bought by a Wisconsin-based firm for $4.5 million. The site includes 32 buildings that comprise about 1.2 million square feet of space with the largest facility totaling 550,000 square feet on the first floor, according to Columbia-headquartered NAI Avant, which reported the sale. The purchaser, Florence Development LLC, of Niagara, Wis., plans to use a part of the existing buildings for PET warehousing and other ancillary work, said Nick Stomski and Tom Milliken of NAI Avant.

Florence Development also has under contract about 900 acres of land that’s yet to close.

DuPont Teijin Films closed the facility, which manufactured Mylar polyester film, in September 2010. About 200 workers were laid off. The company cited declining sales for closing the plant and it consolidated operations at another facility in Hopewell, Va. DuPont opened the Florence plant in 1961.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE PROPERTY HERE

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Sep
16

Otis Elevator Acquires Building in Florence

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Hackman Capital, a private-held real estate investment firm located in Los Angeles, California, announced today that Otis Elevator of Farmington, Connecticut purchased the property owned by its affiliate at 1500 Range Way, in Florence, South Carolina. Florence Industrial Center, a 423,581 square-foot, class-A industrial facility, once occupied by Maytag, is situated on 49 acres and also includes 35 acres of vacant, interstate frontage land.

John Ticon and Edward Kercher of Cushman Wakefield in Charleston, South Carolina represented Otis Elevator in the recent transaction, while Randy Stump of The Stump Corporation, represented the Hackman affiliate.

“Adjacent to Interstate 95 and in close proximity to deep-water seaports, Florence Industrial Center offers Otis a prime Southeastern location and first-rate building amenities for manufacturing and distribution,” said Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital.

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LOOPNET PROPERTY INFORMATION HERE

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Jul
21

53-room, Upscale Boutique Hotel Planned for Florence

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Florence County Council Chairman K.G. “Rusty” Smith said there are no major hurdles to Florence County signing off on its part of the proposal that would bring a 53-room, upscale boutique hotel to downtown Florence in the near future.

Although discussion of the proposal and the tangled knot of steps the county must take to bring it to fruition are not on the council’s official agenda for its meeting Thursday, Smith said he and his colleagues may take up the matter anyway. And even if they don’t address it this week, Smith said, the plan likely will gain county approval eventually.

“I don’t want to speak for the council,” Smith said, ‘but I would foresee us moving forward on this. I know I’m supportive of it. There are just a lot of legal details to work out. It’s pretty complicated from our end.”

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