By Stan Welch
There has been remarkable growth in the southern and western parts of Greenville county and the northern part of Anderson county, and now a surge of growth and development is happening locally in Pelzer, West Pelzer, and Williamston.
Pelzer, following years of false starts and stops, has recently broken through with several announcements, including major developments at both the upper and lower mill properties. Pelzer, whose recent efforts at both updating and improving municipal facilities and working to preserve the town’s history as a textile center, have been a two pronged operation.
The Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC), serving as a pass through for state and federal grants, played a large role in cleaning up the environmental debris left behind by decades of textile operations. Those properties will lead a surge in residential construction unseen in Pelzer in a century.
The Timmerman Jr. Kayak Launch Facility (pictured above), located at 15 Capers Street in Pelzer, could be an attractive amenity for the town. The park facility includes an accessible floating kayak launch that provides an opportunity for all to transfer independently into kayaks. The park includes a fishing deck, boat ramp and parking on the Saluda River. The amenities could be a big draw for people to come to Pelzer. ADA launch sites are the core of Anderson County’s Saluda River Corridor Development Plan, and are being implemented along the 48-mile river between the Saluda Lake Dam and the Town of Ware Shoals Dam.
The recent announcement by PHC shows that Pelzer is also being included in the growth surge being seen by West Pelzer and Williamston.
In addition to those plans, the old drugstore building has been purchased. Glennis Walters, who has strong ties to the Pelzer area, and recently returned there from the northeast. Walters reportedly plans a separate retail enterprise on each of the building’s three floors.
Other property in Pelzer may also see more residential growth.
Pelzer Town Council recently authorized Mayor Will Ragland to execute documents to advance the purchase of the 90 acre “lagoon property” by a developer who plans to construct housing on the site.
The town must first find property to exchange with the lagoon property which is currently designated as a park.
As part of the deal, the developer has thirty six months from the date that the property use changes to close on the property.
The Town of Pelzer is also located on the “Saluda River Blue Trail”, which could be an attractive amenity to persons locating in the area.
The Town is also preparing for future improvements, according to Mayor Will Ragland.
The town is seeking bids for a complete restoration and rebranding of the community building as Pelzer Hall.
The renovations will include a full kitchen, a stage, and an add-on construction to allow for ADA compliant restrooms.
Ragland envisions the restored structure as filling a need for a medium sized venue for reunions, wedding receptions and other social or civic events.
“The building generates several thousand dollars in revenue now and we don’t really promote it,” Ragland said. “I think it can produce enough money to at least help pay for renovations to the town gym.”
Ragland said the town also has plans for the old hospital building, a historic site for the town, which involves converting it into the new town hall.
The recent Pelzer Heritage Commission announcement included the following:
Chris Hill, of Craftwell Homes, will build the Pelzer River Cottages, nine single family homes along the Saluda. The cottages will reflect the town’s textile heritage in terms of architecture. Green areas will be preserved for future use by the town for such things as walking trails.
Residential development, a key to the proposed redevelopment plan, uses various approaches. Cadence Development, LLC will build The Upper Mill Apartment Village (managing partner Tonya Haddock) an additional eighty rental units for residents over fifty five years of age. A thirty five hundred square foot senior citizens’ activity center will anchor the project. There will also be modern, innovative and community oriented amenities, including extensive green space.
The remaining building on the upper mill property will be incorporated into the design of the apartment development.
Cadence also has plans at the lower mill; with the remains of the building being integrated into a total of ninety five loft style apartments. That project will also include two new constructions. Coker says that there is also ten to twelve acres still available at that site; a tract he hopes will eventually house commercial and retail enterprises. “I think that would help create more businesses and jobs in the town and surrounding community.”
One commercial enterprise will be an innovative restaurant and brewery, Daleview Biscuits and Beer, which will be located in the old mill office building off of Lebby Street (shown above). Chris Gandolph is the developer of record for that project.