Plans for event and cultural center in Greenville to be unlike anything city has seen


GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – We’re learning more about a proposed $300 million event and cultural center in downtown Greenville.

City leaders working on the project say the look of it, alone, will be unlike anything Greenville has ever seen and that the museum/gallery is expected to draw an international crowd.  Check it out here.

Looking at the flat parking lot off River Street, across from the Reedy River and the Embassy Suites where the project is set to go up, it’s hard to imagine a space that will include an 1,800-seat event center, two museums, a parking deck and a skywalk attaching the Embassy Suites to more hotel space.

The developers Phil Hughes and Bo Aughtry are keeping renderings under wraps for now.

Jack Bacot is on a committee to raise funds for the museum and he got a sneak peak at a building he says is “stunning.”  

It needs to be, he says, to house the caliber of art that it plans to — mainly Bob Jones University’s religious masterworks, reportedly the third largest collection after the Vatican and the Louvre, and the Greenville Museum’s Wyeth Collection.

“The impact this art work and gallery will have on the city, the region, the state, is mind boggling once you drill down into the details of what it will do to the visitor industry, convention industry in this area,” Bacot said.

And while neither the city nor the county have approved their $26 million stake, each, in the project, State Rep. Bruce Bannister got $5 milllion approved by the House budget.   

”This is so exciting and such a great thing for Greenville, attracting so many people to walk downtown and see that kind of artwork and participate in that lifestyle,” Bannister said.

So, what’s going to happen to the current convention center?  

The general manager declined an on-camera interview, but told 7News the city instructed him to continue with business as usual.

Public record shows last year was the TD Convention Center’s best year yet.

The current Greenville Museum has no plans to close either, and city leaders said it has ample artwork in storage to replace the Wyeth Collection.  

Bacot said if all goes as planned, the event center will only trigger more growth for the city.    

“We think we have a lot of hotels now. My opinion, we won’t have enough once this is completed,” he said.

The project has the full backing of Greenville Mayor Knox White and city council is reportedly in favor.  

As for county council, the decision is not as clear but the county is expected to vote on the project within the next two months.

$200 million would be paid for through private investment.

If approved, the event center is set to be completed within the next three years. 

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