Plan For Laurens Rd Will Bring In $100M, Alleviate Woodruff Rd T - WSPA.com

Plan For Laurens Rd Will Bring In $100M, Alleviate Woodruff Rd Traffic

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GREENVILLE, S.C. -

Laurens Road in Greenville is getting a dramatic makeover.

Developers announced a new plan Tuesday to revamp more than 100 acres along Laurens Road between Verdae Boulevard and Woodruff Road.

The project is expected to bring in $100 million in capital investment and help alleviate traffic on Woodruff Road.

In its heyday, many knew Laurens Road as the "motor mile." But in recent years, the bustling commercial corridor has faded.

“Over the years, we've kind of seen businesses leave and move -- and not a lot of new businesses coming in," said Christopher Ashley, who manages 2nd & Charles on Laurens Road.

The business moved into the old Books-A-Million building five months ago.

“A lot of roads empty here and I think there's definitely potential for growth if the right amount of businesses get back on Laurens Road,” said Ashley.

As part of the development, two former retail buildings - a Sam's Club and a Best Buy - will be demolished.

Verdae Development’s plans for the road include 30 acres of re-vamped retail space and 70 acres of residential and green space. That includes converting an overgrown railroad track into a walking trail that will eventually connect Cleveland Park to Clemson University's International School for Automotive Research.

“It's not just about health and recreation. It's also about economic development and opportunities for development along the trail. That's true for the main Swamp Rabbit Trail and that's very much going to be true here,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White.

White said the plan will also help alleviate traffic on Woodruff Road by providing shoppers with a retail alternative.

Verdae Development president Rick Sumerel said project managers will take steps to prevent Laurens Road fom becoming Greenville’s next traffic nightmare. He said the key is Verdae Development controls one side of Laurens Road from Verdae Boulevard to Haywood Road, so it can set its own design standards.

“So we can control the number of curb cuts, the number of businesses, the traffic flow, internal streets, and signage and landscaping. So we think we could be a major retail corridor but we could do a little more urban planning behind it,” said Sumerel.

White said revamping Laurens Road as a mixed-use development will be crucial to keeping traffic from overwhelming the area. He said the mix of big box stores, smaller retailers, homes and open green space will help prevent gridlock.

Sumerel said no tax money will be spent on this project. Instead, he said the funding is all coming from private development capital.

You can expect to start seeing some of these changes this summer.

White said the developers are already in talks with businesses interested in moving into the redeveloped spaces. He said we can expect more announcements on those plans in the coming weeks and months.

Plan For Laurens Rd Will Bring In $100M, Alleviate Woodruff Rd Traffic

Developers announced a new plan Tuesday to revamp more than 100 acres along Laurens Road between Verdae Boulevard and Woodruff Road.

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Jenna Troum
Jenna is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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