The city of Greenville is taking proposals from developers to sell off city-owned land along Mayberry Street that overlooks Unity Park.
Shannon Lavrin, Greenville assistant city manager, said the project is just an idea at this time but intended for the land to be part of a mixed-use development — multifamily, office space, possibly some retail and restaurants. The city is open to ideas for the land’s use, but nothing is set in stone yet, she added.
The city is working with HR&A advisors to issue a call for developers, which is anticipated to go out within the next few weeks, said Lavrin. Since it is early in the development stage, the city doesn’t anticipate any construction to begin on the land until 2025.
“The city has made a great investment with Unity Park, and it was always the goal to continue development, with an affordable housing component, which is something important to the city and has been a part of the development process from the beginning,” Lavrin said.
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There are a lot of different way to provide affordable housing, said Beth Brotherton, Greenville’s director of communications and engagement. One of the ways is to make money and reinvest the funds from the sale of the land — land the city has held onto purposefully for development — into surrounding neighborhoods, such as affordable housing, infrastructure needs, and community programs desired, she added.
“The city is now selling the land off at the right time, investing in the creation of affordable housing, which will be a moneymaking effort, but with heart, purpose and passion,” said Brotherton. “This entire project is about reinvestment in the community, having heart for the neighborhood and follow the path with the park and land around it, to truly revitalize the community for the people who live there.”
The city realized Greenville is growing at a rapid pace — and with that growth comes challenges.
“We want to have compassion as we grow, and we do understand new projects can raise property values as we sell off land, but we can also donate fund from the sales to affordable housing and reinvest in these areas while protecting neighborhoods through rezoning and open space. There have been so many community meetings held early in the process, and we don’t think a lot of people will be surprised by the continued development,” Brotherton said.
The Unity Park Neighborhood District Code was envisioned to have density, height, and mixed-use, Lavrin said.
“The very idea was to encourage affordable housing for this area,” she added. “With a strong emphasis on that and a lot of incentives within that code.”
The Unity Park Neighborhood District Code was designed to promote the character of the area and encourages a walkable urban center that features cohesive design, use, densities, and pedestrian amenities to create a vibrant, sustainable and complimentary community, while protecting existing residential areas from inappropriate infill and redevelopment.
Lavrin said this code would be replaced with the new development code but the focus that’s already in the Unity Park code will remain — to impact the entire city with a focus on affordable housing and mobility options, in addition to West Greenville and Southernside neighborhoods.
“We want to see affordable housing and mobility in this area, we want to see open space, alternative modes of transportation,” said Lavrin.
The West Greenville and Southernside neighborhoods continue to be at the forefront of future development, said Brotherton.
“We aren’t just springing this on anyone, and people in these neighborhoods have been a part of the conversations since the beginning of the Unity Park development,” she added. “Right now, we are requesting proposals from developers to tell us what’s possible for this land. It’ll be exciting to see what developers bring back to us.”