A Miami-based developer unveiled plans for a mixed-use development on the former Greenville Memorial Auditorium site, which has been abandoned for decades.
The site, which has been empty since the auditorium was imploded in 1997, sits at the intersection of downtown Greenville and the Gateway District, and is part of the city’s Cultural Corridor.
NR Investments seeks to revitalize Greenville’s Gateway District and create a new entertainment hub, according to a NR Investments news release.
NR stated the project would become a stepping stone toward PlusUrbia Design’s “Community Vision Plan,” the urban planner’s master plan for the Interstate 385 corridor and adjacent areas, which gave its final proposal to the Greenville Design Review Board in October.
NR closed on the land on March 9 but has been working on plans with Greenville-based Johnston Design Group for more than a year, the release said. The development is planned to go before the city’s design review board on April 6.
“To us, Greenville was love at first sight,” said Nir Shoshani, principal of NR Investments. “We had looked at other locations in the Southeast, but it’s truly hard to find places like Greenville which combine such outstanding quality of life with a conscientious approach to growth. Mayor (Knox) White met our development team at the airport and gave us a personalized tour of the city. We felt immediately welcomed and knew we’d found a home for our next project.”
NR was founded more than two decades ago by Shoshani and Ron Gottesmann. The firm has held substantial multifamily and commercial space portfolios throughout Florida, including in Miami’s Arts and Entertainment District. They transformed that district, which was built on a “blighted and underdeveloped” part of the city’s urban core, to what is now a residential and cultural hub. Using a multi-year campaign of free and open community events that focused on music, the arts, food, flea markets and job fairs, among other themes, the company drew hundreds of local businesses and thousands of visitors to this previously overlooked part of Miami, the release said.
There is the intent to replicate that formula of “dynamic” growth in Greenville, said Shoshani. He believes the project can become the missing link between downtown Greenville and Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
“From the beginning, we never saw this site simply as an entryway to the city, but as a catalyst for further economic growth and redevelopment toward the east,” he added. “We envision eastward growth, and the creation of a new entertainment hub that enhances future plans at the arena and the neighborhood.”
General Manager of Bon Secours Wellness Arena Beth Paul, who has been in contact with the development team, agreed.
“This project will spur the Greenville Arena District to consider many options for the future of the BSWA Campus,” she said. “I’m impressed by NR Investments’ efforts to understand the importance of the location, and its potential for the district. I appreciate the opportunity they’ve given us to provide input on the project and discuss the future of the area together.”
NR Investments’ Greenville project proposes 294 apartments and approximately 8,000 square feet of retail space between two interconnected towers: a higher, 16-story, 180-foot tower, which will boast mountain and downtown views; and a distinctly designed 80-foot, seven-story tower. Between the towers will sit a public plaza, accessible through both N. Church Street and Beattie Place, which will be activated with retail and community events as part of a concerted bid to bring more traffic and activity to the Gateway District, according to the release.
“NR Investments’ vision, inspired by what they’ve done in Miami and backed by their experience and ability to execute, is what caught our attention,” Mayor White said. “They understand the history of this location and are committed to activating a place that’s been a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of development.”
While recognizing the challenges ingrained in this specific site, Shoshani said that “it’s in our company’s DNA to step into areas that have seen a lack of development and work hard to realize their full potential. Building the right type of real estate is essential but bringing cultural and community infrastructure is key to the success of our projects.”