Gregg Tract sells for $11.5 million; construction could begin later this year

An Upstate real estate developer has bought the Gregg Tract in Mount Pleasant for $11.5 million, clearing the way for its development into apartments, storage units, a hotel, retail and office space by year's end.

It will not have big-box retailers, which nearby residents lobbied against about two years ago.

The 38.5-acre parcel across from Lowe's and Mount Pleasant Towne Centre is now owned by Johnson-Mount Pleasant Investments LLC, a firm affiliated with Johnson Development Associates of Spartanburg.

The Dec. 22 sale went through after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge set the selling price last August. Previous property owner William Maxwell Gregg II of Columbia filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2013.

The town of Mount Pleasant gave final approval to the mixed-use development plan in December, Mayor Linda Page said.

"I'm happy with the way it ended up," Page said. "It's what a mayor really wants to see: collaboration between a developer and the citizens."

The conceptual plan, worked out with nearby neighborhoods, calls for 456 apartments, a 123-room hotel, a 600-unit storage facility, some office space and 62,000 square feet of retail, said Ben Graves with Johnson Development.

Specialty retail and boutique shops, close to U.S. Highway 17 and anchored by a 22,000-square-foot grocery store beside the Cactus Car Wash, will sit in front of the apartment complex. The residential rentals will consist of two-story buildings next to the Wando East and Wando Lakes neighborhoods and three- and four-story structures in the center and back of the property.

The proposed four-story hotel will be built behind the existing Walgreens drugstore, and a three-story mini-storage building will be developed behind that. A traffic circle and green space with open-air civic buildings are also shown as part of the proposal.

The plan does not allow vehicular traffic between the Gregg Tract and nearby neighborhoods of Snee Farm, Wando East and Wando Lakes, but it does include two pedestrian access points via walkways between the two latter residential communities.

"We found something that's going to be a win-win, and we are excited about moving on to the execution phase," Graves said.

The development will be accessed via James Nelson Road between Walgreens and Starbucks, but a right-turn-only entry and exit point on Highway 17 will be added just south of the car wash. It will not be a full intersection.

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Future phases could provide another access point to Highway 17, but that is not part of the current plan, said Christiane Farrell, the town's planning director.

The proposal must now go before Mount Pleasant's Design Review Board. Graves expects that to take about nine months, with construction beginning later this year.

"We really want to make this both a shining star for our company and for Mount Pleasant," he said.

Kit Regnery with Carolina Commercial, which handled the real estate deal, said the deal took months to develop.

"It's going to be an asset to Mount Pleasant, though there is still some work to be done," Regnery said.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.