Fort Mill Times

Building boom continues in Fort Mill Township

Despite a slowdown in national building trends, development continues unabated in Fort Mill Township.

Several major projects have already broken ground, and several more are in the early planning stages. Homes are already built and on the market in Springfield and Massey, two massive projects annexed into Fort Mill two years ago. In Tega Cay, Drake Capital has installed roads and other infrastructure in Lake Ridge - formerly Gardendale - and has started developing the first 170 lots.

"Everything is moving ahead now," developer Jeff LeForce said.

The community's amenities center, featuring a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse, a competition size pool, kiddy pool with slides, a playground, two tennis courts and a multipurpose court, will be open by next Memorial Day. In addition to the initial phase of 170 lots, which Toll Brothers will build, Drake is also opening approximately 39.5 acres as half-acre estate lots on which customers will be able to choose their own builder. The plan also include 180 lots designed for ranch-style homes that may be targeted toward senior citizens.

In the coming months work is likely to begin on two more Fort Mill developments, including the environmentally-friendly Kanawha development and two of the projects Clear Springs Development annexed into Fort Mill last year. The Fort Mill Town Council is scheduled to vote next month on a 20-to-40-year development agreement with Clear Springs and on the Kanawha annexation.

"There's been a tremendous amount of work on both sides, and I think we're 99.9 percent of the way there," Clear Springs President James Traynor said of the development agreement. "The scope of the project is 25 to 30 years out."

Fort Mill and Clear Springs, along with a phalanx of lawyers, have been hashing out an agreement that spans the next 20 years with the option to renew it for another 20 when the initial agreement expires. It lays a detailed plan for developing approximately 2,800 acres of residential, commercial and industrial development.

First up will be Kingsley Village north of Hwy. 160 West, between I-77 and Hwy. 21. The development will include a commercial area larger than the Baxter Town Center with more office and retail space, along with several hundred residential units spread across more than 600 acres, Traynor said. It will also tie in with Piedmont's plan for Fort Mill Medical Center.

The Kanawha projects brings approximately 400 acres south of Sutton Road along the Catawba River into Fort Mill. Along with a mixed-use residential and commercial development spread across 340 acres, the plan also includes an interactive museum campus on 60 acres. The museum will emphasize the importance of the river to local history and have other environmental themes.

Kanawha includes 20 acres for an elementary school, and more than 100 acres of undisturbed open space. Ruins of two 18th Century Catawba Indian Villages will be preserved, according to project manager Allen Harrington.