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County Square redevelopment plan takes big step forward

Ross Norton //January 23, 2020//

County Square redevelopment plan takes big step forward

Ross Norton //January 23, 2020//

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The Greenville City Council on Wednesday evening voted 6-1 to approve a zoning change that allows a proposed redevelopment project for County Square to move forward.

A major change to the original plan is a height limit of 12 floors instead of the proposed 20. The current zoning for the site caps it at six floors.

A second reading of the zoning change will need to pass Feb. 10 to be official. The city also asserted its role in some other details, such as approving traffic mitigation plans and controlling the design approval process as development moves forward, according to Councilman Wil Brasington.

The development would put the county-owned property, which is now mostly government offices, into a multi-use complex on 37.4 acres of land that is walking distance to some of the city’s most popular attractions, including Falls Park and Fluor Field.

The dissenting vote was cast by Councilwoman Dorothy Dowe, who has questioned the projects impact on the area. Past concerns of a negative effect on affordable housing were allayed, however, after representatives of the Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood voiced support.

Brasington said the County Square project helped propel the City Council toward plans it has now for $7 million in affordable housing projects around the city.

“I’m satisfied with seeing that affordable housing is front and center in conversations,” he said.

The County Square project would transform the county-owned land into a multi-use high-rise complex that county economic developers say will spur further growth in the area surrounding it. The sprawling county office complex is inside a former mall that will be razed.

County officials and developers have placed values on the project ranging from $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Greenville economy, and we understand that visionary projects sometimes can be difficult to achieve,” Greenville Chamber President and CEO Carlos Phillips said in a written statement before the council vote. “It is the partnership mindset that has propelled our community to make similar projects a reality and get us to where we are today.”