One of Fort Mill's best-known restaurateurs never actually left, but he's coming back anyway.
The team behind the popular Beef 'O' Brady's, which had a 14-year run as an anchor restaurant in Baxter Village, is opening a new restaurant in Fort Mill. It will be in Steele Street Station, at the corner of Tom Hall and Steele streets.
"The first major one that we do have is Mike Hunt, who was the Beef 'O' Brady's in Baxter," said Shaw Kuester, broker in charge with Kuester Commercial. "He is actually going to be doing a new restaurant."
When the popular Baxter restaurant closed last fall, owners Mike and Lisa Hunt decided to continue their growing catering business with Red Oak BBQ and Catering. They've been at it strong, since.
"We do have a food truck and we do food truck events," Mike Hunt said. "We do private events, things like that. We're definitely staying busy."
The new 3,000-square-foot restaurant will be a continuation of Red Oak.
"It will be a barbecue place, but we're definitely not going to be limited," Hunt said. "We'll have steaks, good burgers. It won't be your typical, go in and grab a barbecue sandwich."
Kuester called the new restaurant "a little more of an upscale use," with a bar and patio. It's a key piece to the property that Kuester hopes will continue the momentum of new restaurants and business downtown.
"People really have not paid that much attention to that side of town, but that's really the entrance to the new downtown," Kuester said.
Kuester said there have been discussions, but nothing finalized, on other Steele Street Station tenants. Possibilities include spa or massage therapy businesses, medical offices or related uses and "other food users," which could include a "fast casual" restaurant.
Steele Street Station comes up for commercial review Tuesday with Fort Mill's planning commission, a key late step in projects moving toward construction. Kuester is the company behind many of Fort Mill's recent redevelopments, from restaurant and office space on Main Street to offices on S.C. 160 and elsewhere.
The Steele Street Station project sits on 1.5 acres of vacant property, beside a single story office building on the cemetery side that will remain. A new building, on the corner of the intersection site, will be two stories and almost 13,000 square feet.
Proposed is a mix of office, retail and restaurant uses.
Renderings of the new building show three patios, one on the intersection corner and one on each end of the not quite 'L'-shaped construction. The new building is more than four times larger than the existing one-story, which will be renovated. They will have more than 70 parking spaces between them.
Plans show spaces for up to 10 tenants on the two stories, though some spaces will be combined for larger businesses like Red Oak.
The plan is for a fall groundbreaking on the building, with construction finishing up next summer.
Kuester, who sees a bustling Main Street area largely from projects his company worked, said he believes Steele Street Station is the next step for the town.
"It's a labor of love," he said of working in the downtown area. "Now looking back, it's exciting to see what's going on."