Fort Mill Times

Kanawha developers file for annexation into Town of Fort Mill

Developers of the 332-acre Kanawha community plan to construct a road that will connect the 'green' residential community to a new museum being built along the Catawba River.

The new road would run off Sutton Road down to the neighboring, 60-acre museum site. The museum is being built by the York County Cultural & Heritage Museums.

Both Kanawha's developers -- Cherokee Investment Partners and William McDonough and Partners -- and museum representatives filed for annexation into the Town of Fort Mill last Wednesday. Kanawha is a cooperative effort between the Sustainable Development Group - a subsidiary of the York County Culture and Heritage Foundation - and Cherokee.

The request asks that future accommodations and hospitality taxes collected by the Town of Fort Mill within the museum property and Kanawha help fund operating expenses of the new museum.

Construction of the road will allow museum staff to begin summer programming, possibly including a museum summer camp, at the site of the future museum this time next year.

"You have to be pretty rough and ready to get down there now," said Owen Glendening, deputy director for interpretation for the museums.

"When the road is built, we will begin adventure and nature-based programming. We likely will introduce some visitor amenities and staging areas first. The museum will be built in phases."

Kanawha's land plan calls for 337 single family homes, 111 townhomes, 167 apartments and a 40-acre commercial village.

The homes are expected to range in price from the mid-$200,000s to $700,000.

Plans show the community's commercial district in the northeast section of the 400 acres off Sutton Road. A nature preserve adjoins it to the west, and a "green" elementary school site off Grady Hope Road lies west of that.

Kanawha also proposes donating land for a police substation.

Kanawha hopes to build a visitor center first, including a model "green" home near the future museum. Kanawha plans for the model home to be solar powered and include cutting-edge energy sources and environmentally efficient techniques.

"The community will be super in-tune with nature," said Allen Harrington, recently named Cherokee/SDG development manager.

"The museum is the focal point of this community. I think of it as a park."

Prior to joining Cherokee, Harrington was an assistant project manager for Crescent Resources from 1996 to 2007. With Crescent, he was part of the team that developed the Ballantyne Country Club, The Sanctuary and Springfield in the Charlotte-Fort Mill area, and others. He also worked on Crescent's Hidden Lake project in North Raleigh that was named 2008 Green Project of the Year by the National Association of Homebuilders. He also was 2006 International Recipient of the John James Audubon Environmental Steward Award.

The new museum, planned on a bluff overlooking the Catawba River at the southern end of the some 400 acres, and Kanawha will feature walking and biking trails, a mile-long river walk, a welcome center along the Carolina Thread Trail and substantial acres of green space.

The first homes to be built in Kanawha probably will be near the elementary school at the northern end of the project, Harrington said.