Clemson, developer plan $25M Grandmarc project

Changes are coming to the city of Clemson in the form of a new mixed-use development called Grandmarc at Clemson. The $25 million to $30 million development is planned for the location where the old Clemson Center now stands, at 139 Anderson Highway-U.S. Route 76. The businesses that were once there have moved to other locations or closed.

Grandmarc at Clemson will cover 9.5 acres and will consist of 20,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as residential space offering 494 bedrooms and 2,000 square feet of space committed to an area nonprofit organization, according to Clemson city planner Jennifer Folz.

Developer Russ Davis, with Homes Urban LLC in Greenville, said work on the project should begin this summer or early fall with demolition of the current structure with completion of Grandmarc at Clemson planned by August 2017.

Davis said he has identified half of the clients for the commercial space but is not ready to make any official announcements about which businesses have expressed interest in the new development.

“We would like to be able to deliver some commercial space earlier than the August 2017 full completion date, maybe in May 2017,” Davis said.

The residential units will target Clemson University students.

“When you are in the student housing business, you don’t want to miss August,” Davis said.

Folz said the residential space will be convenient for students, especially because the location puts students within walking, biking and bus distance to campus and can reduce congestion in town.

“Every person we put in walking or biking distance, that’s about six trips off the road a day, that’s huge,” Folz said.

Folz said developers are working with Clemson Area Transit and the S.C. Department of Transportation to get safe crossing across U.S. 76. A pedestrian connection will be developed with Butler Street, which runs along the back of the property. A stairway connection and sidewalks alongside Grandmarc at Clemson will connect the property to Butler Street so residents living in that area can safely walk down the steps and get to the bus stop.

“Right now there are no safe sidewalks on Butler Street, and the road is really narrow,” Folz said.

In addition to a mix of commercial and residential offerings, Grandmarc at Clemson will feature two-story parking, two pools and outdoor gathering spaces for the residents and patrons of the commercial space.

Folz believes mixed-use developments are growing in popularity because millennials, people who are growing up in a technology-connected world, want to live near where they work or go to school.

“It’s a complete shift in demographics and a shift in thinking from the days of independence that came with owning a car and living in the suburbs,” she said.

According to Folz, millennials do not want to drive because they do not want to be taken away from their social media.

“I think it’s a national trend,” she added. “People want to be more urban. And for Clemson students, they want to be close to campus.”

Folz said most of Clemson is “built-out,” meaning there are few places for developments like Grandmarc at Clemson meaning redevelopment is of existing structures.

“Places that were vacant are now occupied by the businesses relocating from Clemson Center,” Folz said.

Clemson Cleaners is now open in the old Huddle House location on U.S. Route 123 in Clemson. Along that same road is where Skins’ Hotdogs is renovating the old BB&T building for its new location. MDO Clemson Mattress moved to the old Blockbuster building on S.C. Highway 93-Old Greenville Highway in Clemson and is now open. Tiger Lily is now open in Langston Plaza, also on Old Greenville Highway in Clemson. Monterrey’s at Clemson Mexican restaurant has moved to Central, and the sign outside the business reads “Opening soon.” Consign and Design is now open on Main Street in Central.

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Alyssa BennettClemson, developer plan $25M Grandmarc project