In December of 2014, the City of Greenville approved a 20-year comprehensive strategic plan, which was developed to help community leaders navigate future growth and investments within the area. Through a broad community input and engagement process, this plan outlined nine strategic directions for Greenville moving forward. Revitalizing the Central Business District into a “beautiful and vibrant downtown” was listed as a primary goal of this plan, and Main Street Greenville was identified as the lead partner for this endeavor. As such, Main Street Greenville, a division of the Greater Greenville Development Foundation (hereinafter referred to as “Greater Greenville”), started the process of identifying properties within the district that could be purchased and redeveloped, in a strategic and innovative way, to help accommodate the growing needs of the Greenville community.
Approximately five years after the organization’s initial inquiry into the buildings collectively known as the “Hafter Properties,” Main Street Greenville and the Hafter family reached an agreement to purchase 15 storefronts along Washington Avenue. The acquisition included over 103,000 square feet of mixed-use space along three blocks of Washington Avenue, with the majority of the properties located in the 300 block. In their prime, some of the buildings were home to J.W. Duggar Cotton Company, Hafter’s Department Store, and Farnsworth Jewelers. The buildings located in the 300 block are the oldest of the collection. Records indicate that these structures were built in the 1890’s and as the city expanded eastward more buildings were erected. The last group of properties are located in the 600 block of Washington Avenue and date back to the 1950s. Daniel Boggs, CEO of Greater Greenville, says, “Each property has a significant place in the growth of Greenville, and preserving their historical features while also modernizing their infrastructure will be the key to breathing new life into these structures”.
Greater Greenville was organized in 1990 for the purpose of promoting events and issues which are relevant to the quality of life for the residents of Greenville, Washington County, and the Mississippi Delta, including but not limited to, economic planning and development, education, housing, cultural development, as well as to recognize and encourage literary, artistic, and scientific accomplishments. Once completed, this initiative should produce 18 new, adequately sized, commercial spaces and approximately 44 residential units which will be comprised of efficiency, 1- and 2-bedroom units. “As Greenville anticipates the development of a new multi-million-dollar Federal Courthouse within its Central Business District, coupled with recent private investments in community-oriented businesses, this community is now poised to redefine the face of its downtown, and we are excited about being a part of that transformation,” says Boggs.
The demand and appeal of downtown properties have increased in recent years. Many Mississippi communities have seen a similar renaissance in their Downtown areas, creating a live-work-play atmosphere. Having a successful downtown is dependent upon having people to support it. Converting office buildings into apartments on the second floor of many of these buildings increases the traffic downtown organically, thus creating a need for supporting businesses. Douglas Wade, President of the Board for Greater Greenville says, “As an accredited Main Street organization, we recognize the importance of having a strong, healthy and vibrant downtown. As such, our organization has invested a substantial amount of time, resources, and effort into improving the Central Business District over the past several years. We are excited about this new opportunity to bring appropriately sized retail spaces and quality housing options to the downtown area, and we would like to thank the Hafter family for allowing us to further our mission through these efforts.”
Prior to this official announcement of the redevelopment, Greater Greenville had 11 prospective tenants interested in moving into its soon to be renovated apartments downtown, and a waiting list of 28 businesses interested in establishing themselves downtown. “Having that kind of interest in a development before its ‘official’ unveiling is huge. There is obviously a desire by both individuals and businesses in this community to move downtown, and the success of this project will support and springboard our current and future programs and events,” says Boggs.
Programs that are administered by Main Street Greenville currently include providing façade grants for downtown businesses, managing the Greenville Farmers’ Market, managing the local Tax Reappraisal/Abatement Program (a State incentive program for redevelopments in a communities’ Central Business District), administering the Greenville Christmas Parade, administering the Deck the Windows contest, producing the Fourth of July fireworks, operating Hotel 27, and producing the Delta Hot Tamale Festival which has over a $7M economic impact on Greenville and the surrounding communities annually. Net proceeds from these projects and programs continually help support and advance the mission of Greater Greenville.
For leasing information please contact Deanne New, Marketing Coordinator for Greater Greenville, at 662-378-3121.