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Fresh Market, Stein Mart to renovate and expand

A year from now, shoppers may not recognize Southgate shopping center.

And if city planners and the City Council go along, the rundown buildings across the road could be cleared for a new drug store.
Plans are under way for a major transformation of the shopping center, with expanded floor space for the Fresh Market and Stein Mart and a new fitness center, a greener and safer parking lot, new signage and new lighting.
Across the road, a landowner is moving ahead after months of traffic studies and negotiation on a proposed CVS drug store that would replace the one beside the old Ingles on Spartanburg Highway.
Plans filed last month at City Hall show Fresh Market expanding by 10,000 square feet and Stein Mart doubling in size to 29,100 square feet and moving into the old Rose's space on the White Street end of the shopping center.
Shoppers, hold your fire. You need not get too excited about Christmas or even Easter sales. Store managers said the work would be done and the new stores open in the fall of 2013.
The total square footage involved in the makeover triggered the city zoning requirements that will turn the old parking lot, which covers Mud Creek and Wash Creek, into a more heavily landscaped surface.
"The shopping center has been there since ... forever," said Suzanne Godsey, a land planner with Sitework Studios in Asheville. "Before, there was no parking lot requirements or anything like that. The Fresh Market is expanding its square footage and Stein Mart is expanding its square footage, so the increase is going to require the shopping center to come into compliance with city zoning law."
The site plans show a huge increase in trees and other landscaping improvements — 39 trees along Greenville Highway and White Street and 57 more scattered throughout the parking lot.
"We're meeting the ordinance for the trees and probably actually a little more than what's shown on the plan," she said. "We haven't gotten into a more detailed plan. We don't have absolutely every tree and shrub nailed down."
The shopping center makeover triggered a city planning review for a special use permit, which starts with a conceptual plan. A neighborhood compatibility review is set for Nov. 14.
The new Stein Mart will double in size and include a men's department and housewares, which the current space does not offer.


CVS plans revived
Across the road, commercial real estate developer Boyd L. "Bub" Hyder has resurrected a zoning application to build a 12,000-square-foot CVS on South Main Street south of Mud Creek. First submitted more than a year ago, the plans have gone through detailed traffic studies and negotiations with city and state traffic engineers. The drugstore chain has insisted on driveway access allowing left turns in and left turns out, a traffic movement that city officials described as hazardous. After new traffic analyses by DOT engineers, the city's traffic engineers and CVS engineers, the left turn scheme has been tentatively worked out.
"They have submitted plans that we have agreed meets the minimum requirement" for traffic, City Manager Bo Ferguson said. "We still definitely are watching very closely to see how that works."
The approval comes with a condition allowing the state to revoke the full access movement if it proves to be a hazard.
"If we subsequently find there's an increase in vehicular crashes out there and it's associated with that full-access driveway we will revisit the project," said city Planning Director Sue Anderson.
Hyder said in an interview he hoped the traffic question had been resolved.
"I really think we do" have it worked out, he said. "The city has to put their blessing on it and as far as I know they have. I reckon if the Planning Board says it's OK they're going to issue a permit."

A greener southside
Redevelopment of Southgate and the CVS project would markedly improve the look on either side of Greenville Highway and South Main Street.
Both projects trigger city requirements for trees and shrubbery along the street and within the parking lot.
"Islands are great because they help direct traffic flow," said city Planning Director Sue Anderson. "I use the Fresh Market as an example of how not to do a parking lot. Everybody's has had the experience in that parking lot of cars going everywhere."
A commercial development of more than 20 parking spaces triggers city regulations that require substantial landscaping. For every 4,000 square feet of parking lot, developers must plant one tree and two shrubs. A conceptual plan drawn by Sitework Studios for Southgate shows the trees along White Street and Greenville Highway and in islands in the parking lot. The shopping center owner also plans a new face on the stores.
"It's going to get dressed up a lot — the parking lot, the landscaping, the facade of the building," Anderson said.
Stormwater requirements also should help both the appearance of the site and the runoff into Mud Creek. The size of the parking lot means the landowner has to comply with rules to retain and treat stormwater on site.
"It's going to improve the quality of water that leaves the site and enters Mud Creek," Anderson said. "It should mitigate at least some of the flooding there." If the improvements catch some of the water from big rainstorms, the flow onto Greenville Highway at White Street, a common flooding site, should be slowed.
The CVS, if approved by the Planning Board, will also trigger requirements for trees and shrubs. Hyder would demolish the closed Mr. Gatti's, a finance office and auto garage to build the new drug store.
"I've said why don't ya'll want the tax base improved and get rid of all this old stuff," he said. "The value would go from $1.1 million to $5 million for just that little bit that I'm doing."