Verdae vision unveiled with focus on Laurens Road.

This story first appeared in the June 13 print edition of GSA Business Report.

Verdae Development Inc. and Hollingsworth Funds have a plan to transform a utilitarian stretch of Laurens Road into what they call a "next generation destination."

The organizations recently unveiled a new outlook for approximately 90 acres of Laurens Road property with a vision that aims to create a vibrant and inclusive mixed-use district "that reflects Greenville's cultural and social diversity while acting as a platform for economic innovation with commercial office, residential, recreation and retail in a new urban setting," according to a news release.

While many details of the plan will emerge as plans proceed, some of the vision's core elements promote accessibility, sustainability, connectivity and affordability, including:

A new central street running parallel between the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail and Laurens Road.

A new green ribbon of parks and open space.

Improved connectivity for public transit as well as pedestrian and bike friendly trails and pathways.

The conversion from a one-use retail corridor to a mixed-use district that incorporates economic development through office, small business and entrepreneurship; provides opportunities for a retail landscape to meet current trends; introduces new areas for public recreation; and integrates a variety of housing options to maintain affordability.

"What we've presented is a long-term vision for an area of focus within Verdae that intentionally provides flexibility to adjust to Greenville's growth, the market, and most importantly, to great ideas from community partners to help bring it to life," Gage Weekes, president and CEO of Hollingsworth Funds, said in the news release.

Verdae is the 1,100-acre master planned community that started in 2005 on one of the largest tracts of land in the Greenville area that was owned by the late textile machinery magnate John D. Hollingsworth Jr. He left the bulk of his estate to Hollingsworth Funds, a charitable foundation established to use his holdings to support Furman University, the YMCA, and nonprofits benefitting the greater Greenville community. The creation of Verdae and its continued development helps fund a wide range of community initiatives annually supported by Hollingsworth Funds.

A cost for building out the vision has not been determined.

"Given Greenville's tremendous growth and changes to the market over the past 15 years and with almost half...

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