Commercial, retail, offices, schools. What’s missing in latest Fort Mill plans? Homes

Fort Mill SC development plans include business

Fort Mill SC development plans include new business, commercial, residential, school growth. They don't include residential.
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Fort Mill SC development plans include new business, commercial, residential, school growth. They don't include residential.

Fort Mill residents concerned with residential growth may like what could be coming.

The latest round of decisions headed to the town planning commission Jan. 15, include new multi-tenant commercial and mixed-use office buildings. There’s also a retail building and school site.

There are no homes or apartments.

Here’s what’s planned:

The Fort Mill school district is asking to annex more than 51 acres along Whites Road for a new middle school. The site is across Whites Road from Catawba Ridge High School and 34 acres annexed last year for a new elementary school.

Catawba Ridge is set to open in August. In March 2018, school district voters approved a $190 million bond package for two new elementary schools to open in 2020 and a middle school in 2021.

The new middle school site up for annexation is surrounded by homes in the Dominion Bridge, Pecan Ridge and Sunset Circle subdivisions.

Kuester Commercial is back with plans for Steele Street Station. The town planning commission approved appearance review, typically one of the later steps toward construction, in July. The construction drawings that followed were tweaked enough to require another planning commission review.

The almost 2-acre site at Tom Hall and Steele streets shows space for multiple commercial tenants. The latest changes involve the material and size of awnings. The building elevation is a little lower, too.

Last summer, Kuester announced the former Beef ‘O’ Brady’s group, which operated for 14 years in Baxter Village, would open an upscale barbecue restaurant in Steele Street Station. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant is part of an overall 13,000-square-foot plan for the development.

The former county magistrate office at 114 Springs St. is transitioning to a mixed-use office building. Sandle LLC owns the less than half-acre site. An almost 3,000-square-foot building there now would be demolished. A new 5,200-square-foot building would replace it.

The one-story building would have multiple tenants. Expanded parking would remain off an East Elliott Street access. A retaining wall, steps and plaza area are proposed. The project still needs commercial appearance review.

Dobys Bridge Investors plans a retail building on almost 3 acres at 1500 Fort Mill Parkway. That site is up for commercial appearance review.

The site is part of a larger, 13-acre parcel on the southeastern side of the parkway between its South Dobys Bridge and Holbrook roads intersections. It’s beside Doby’s Bridge Elementary School and Massey homes. The site is across from property owned and planned for development by Harris Teeter.

Plans show a 10,000-square-foot retail building. Beside it is a proposed 8,500-square-foot building that isn’t part of the current review. The larger building will be one story, with a covered patio on the east side of the building.

Owners of an acre at 1850 N. Dobys Bridge Road want to annex the property into town with a highway commercial zoning. The application submitted doesn’t mention what type of business might go there. The undeveloped site wouldn’t allow residential construction.

The property is just south of the North Dobys intersection with Haire Road, across from town-owned property include Dobys Bridge Park.

Town planning staff recommends in favor of the annexation and zoning, given a planned Harris Teeter and several other recent commercial annexation nearby are expected to transition the Dobys Bridge, Holbrook Road and Fort Mill Parkway intersection from residential to commercial.

Commercial vs. residential

The non-residential activity on the southern end of town goes against what the town saw for much of 2018. For the fiscal year ending in September, more than 96 percent of development impact fees came from residential construction. Impact fees are charges on new construction used to pay for costs related to growth.

A single large business project can skew annual figures significantly, for example with major additions of LPL Financial and The Lash Group at Kingsley. Similarly, ratios between homes and apartments can vary, for example with some years seeing $43 million each in new apartment construction compared to none in 2016-17.

A consistent trend, however, is continued growth in the southern part of town. Since Fort Mill Parkway opened, there have been numerous businesses, subdivisions and schools popping up along the Dobys Bridge Road corridor. The town is planning its second fire station, a police substation and a new park with baseball fields in that area, among other projects.

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John Marks covers community growth, municipalities and general news mainly in the Fort Mill and York County areas. He began writing for the Herald and sister papers in 2005 and won dozens of South Carolina Press Association and other awards since.
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