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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

Downtown housing development modifies design

073116gatheruptown

A design concept for the Gather: Uptown housing development on Fifth and Greene streets.

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Shannon Keith

Friday, September 30, 2016

The construction of a new student housing development on West Fifth Street will continue to move forward after Greenville’s Board of Adjustment amended a special-use permit during a special meeting on Thursday.

The board unanimously approved a request from California-based Rael Development Corp. to amend a permit the board approved last year to construct the $30 million Gather Uptown project at West Fifth and South Greene streets.

The five-story project will accommodate more than 400 residents and includes a multi-story parking deck and other amenities.

The development group requested the amendment to allow additional units to be constructed at the project. The original plans called for 121 multi-family units with 325 beds and one retail space on the property. The amended request was for 128 multi-family units with 404 beds and no retail space.

Construction of the Gather Uptown project began during the summer. The 2.2-acre property, bounded by West Fifth, South Pitt, South Greene and West Fourth streets, will include the housing units and a structured parking deck.

Lawrence Rael, founder of the Rael Development Corp., spoke to the board Thursday about the proposed changes to the site plan.

“After our last meeting with the city, we listened intently to concerns about parking and safety,” Rael said. “As we changed the plan to move parking toward Fourth Street, the project became more efficient.”

Rael said the more efficient design allowed for the addition of seven additional multi-family units as well as additional parking in a multi-level parking deck. The minimum parking rate required by the city for dormitory developers is .7 spaces per bedroom, which would be about 280 spaces. The new plans have a parking rate of .915 spaces per bedroom, which will be about 370 spaces.

“This moves us up to about 92 percent on parking,” Rael said. “We also are including 150 bicycle storage units for residents.”

Board member Jim Watts during the meeting questioned the developer’s decision to remove the retail space from the construction plans.

“I was surprised at the removal of the commercial space,” Watts said. “I would think that a sandwich shop or a coffee shop in that location would be very lucrative.”

Rael said the decision was made due to the growing number of businesses and amenities in downtown Greenville that will be easily accessible to residents. 

“We want other merchants in the area to benefit from our residents,” he said. “We didn’t want a sandwich shop or coffee shop to take away business from them.”

Gather Uptown is one of three new planned housing developments in downtown Greenville. Other developments include:

• Campus-Edge, a $54-million student housing project at 10th and Charles streets. The five-story housing project will accommodate more than 600 residents and includes a multistory parking deck and 20,000 square feet of retail space in addition to other amenities.

• Sidewalk Development, a $32-million mixed-use development at Dickinson Avenue and Reade Circle. The development will include a 60-unit market-rate apartment complex, a 60-unit student housing project and 20,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space.

Contact Shannon Keith at skeith@reflector.com and 329-9579.

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