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Upstate Business Notes

New BMW training center; AC Hotel opens; Bradshaw named United Community Bank president

BMW Upstate training center

A rendering of the new training center to be built at BMW's Greer manufacturing campus.

BMW Manufacturing is adding a 67,000 square foot training center to complement its existing training facilities at the automotive giant's Greer campus.

Construction will be complete by the summer of 2022, according to a company news release.

Located across from the current Campus Training Center, the new building will replace the Training and Development Center (TDC) on Brockman-McClimon Road. The TDC was one of the first buildings used by BMW employees when it began developing the property in the early 1990s.

The new building will also house BMW Scholars, the company's apprenticeship program.

BMW's Upstate's facility was the top exporter of vehicles in the U.S. in 2020, and not for the first time. It produces about 1,500 vehicles every day, according to the company, with two-thirds of those headed overseas.

AC open for business

AC Hotel by Marriott Greenville Downtown is open, turning one of Greenville's most prominent corners from construction zone to a center for entertainment and hospitality.

The hotel, operated by Auro Hotels, is packed with things other than rooms, though it does have 196 of those. Multiple restaurants and bars, 29,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a rooftop bar, and a large collection of local art are also packed in to the 8-story tower situation at the intersection of Main and Broad streets.

One of the restaurants, first-floor tapas bar Paloma, opened with the hotel. The rest should open in April, according to an Auro Hotels news release.

"This project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity due to its location, scale, level of detail and amenities, as well as the unique opportunity to celebrate our hometown of Greenville," said DJ Rama, president and CEO of Auro Hotels.

Auro operates several properties downtown, including Hyatt Regency Downtown, Residence Inn by Marriott Greenville Downtown and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Greenville Downtown.

Promoted at UCB

Rich Bradshaw has been named president of soon-to-be-Upstate-based United Community Bank.

The bank is the primary subsidiary of United Community Banks, Inc., which recently announced a plan to relocate to downtown Greenville and build a 7-story headquarters along the Reedy River. Lynn Harton — chairman, CEO and president of the parent company — hailed Bradshaw's promotion in a company release.

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Rich Bradshaw United Community Bank

Rich Bradshaw, president and chief banking officer of United Community Bank.

"He continuously demonstrates a high level of commitment to improving the lives of our customers," Harton said. "Our decade of working together has shown that Rich's capacity to deliver on results will be instrumental in the continued growth of United."

Bradshaw will also retain his previous title of chief banking officer.

With the upcoming move, United Community Banks, Inc. will become the largest banking firm, by total assets, based in South Carolina. It will supplant Southern First, also based in Greenville and currently building a new headquarters in the Verdae area.

Quick hits

  • Hartness, a 444-acre development east of Greenville, announced two new hires for its construction arm in a recent news release. Lee Humrickhouse was named director of Hartness Construction. Madison Lindsay-Smith was brought on as project coordinator. Sean Hartness, CEO of Hartness Development and Hartness Construction, pointed to Humrickhouse's experience building luxury homes. The property, owned by the Hartness family and accessible from S.C. Highway 14, includes homes and an under-construction luxury hotel around what the company refers to as an "urban village."
  • NHE, Inc., is adding five Upstate communities to its property management portfolio, the company announced. The communities are: Copper Run in Greenville, Echo Ridge in Greer, Parkview Glen in Pelzer, and The Village at Chapel Green in Greenville. A fifth, Bleckley Trail in Anderson, is nearing completion of construction. The company manages more than 17,000 residences in 15 states, according to a company release.
  • Here's a double dose of Mauldin food news. The latest Aldi groundbreaking in the Upstate was held Feb. 23 in Mauldin. Aldi already has 16 locations in the region. The grocery store will be located at 209 N. Main St., next to O'Reilly Auto Parts. Also, Popeye's opened this week at 200 S. Main St. in Mauldin. As with all new fast food openings, you can expect longer lines and less-than-perfect performance while they train new staff and get everything running smooth. So, if you go, be patient and understanding — qualities not necessarily exhibited in the first-week reviews that show up with a Google search.

The rundown

The South Carolina business news you need to know.

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Back for more next week. Email your tips, releases and newsy bits to rgilchrest@postandcourier.com and amitchell@postandcourier.com.

Follow Ryan Gilchrest on Twitter at @ryangilchrest.

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