GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The former site of Greenville’s Memorial Auditorium has sat boarded up and fenced in for years. On Thursday new development plans were approved for the space.

Since 1997, the land near the entrance of the city off of I-385 has sat vacant. Over the years, plan after plan has fallen through.

On Thursday, the city of Greenville’s Design Review Board approved the architecture and site detailing of a new development. The renderings revealed the most recent plans for the gateway of the city.

“With Greenville, we said in the past, it was love at first sight,” said Ignacio Marquez, NR Investments. “It’s hard to find places such as Greenville that provide great quality of life with very forward looking leadership.”

NR Investments is a Miami-based real estate developer leading the project. Marquez said it will be located next to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

“We are developing the site formerly known as the gateway site in Greenville which we have renamed the Gracie Plaza at the Arena District,” said Marquez.

Plans for the new Gracie Plaza at the Arena District feature nearly 300 residential units, a restaurant and commercial space, creative studios and parking.

Developers said it will also include a fully-accessible plaza that will be open to the public for events.

The city said the new development will provide a better and safer pedestrian experience, while connecting to the Well.

“We always saw this site, not only as the entry to downtown, but as a development that will spark redevelopment towards the corridor leading to downtown,” said Marquez. “I think this project really does have the potential to really create an entertainment district that’s more walkable, more livable, that’s safer, and has a much more enhanced pedestrian experience.”

That’s exactly what Mayor Knox White said in an interview earlier this week that Greenville is known for, and it’s in line with the vision they have for the city.

“Downtown Greenville has established itself for a number of things. It’s a beautiful place, it’s walkable, it’s green and lots of places to eat,” said Mayor White.

While developers said the site poses a challenge, it’s a project NR Investments said they are excited to take on.

“It’s a challenge on site, but we have experience developing challenging sites that have had a lack of development for quite a while,” said Marquez. “With these things we really can’t wait and are excited to put the shovels in the ground.” 

As far as a timeline for the project, developers said they are still working on the details. They tell 7NEWS they hope to have a better outline of when construction will officially begin and end, by the end of the year.

Developers also said they are still working on the final price tag for the project, however they estimate it will cost between $100-120 million to complete.