Hollingsworth Funds Announces Beyer Blinder Belle-led Vision for Verdae
Hollingsworth Funds Announces Beyer Blinder Belle-led Vision for Verdae
The firm recently joined Hollingsworth Funds to announce a new vision for Verdae, a master planned community in Greenville, South Carolina, as the city’s next generation destination – a vibrant and inclusive mixed-use district and a place for innovative growth and opportunity.
NEW YORK, NY (May 25, 2022) – Together with Hollingsworth Funds and Verdae Development, Inc., Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP announces a new vision for Verdae, an 1,100-acre master planned community in Greenville, South Carolina.
The vision focuses on a 90-acre property along Laurens Road, a major gateway to Greenville, and aims to transform it from an outmoded model of car-dependent commercial shopping centers into a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use district that reflects Greenville’s cultural and social diversity, and is connected to a planned transit line and the soon-to-open extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a successful urban trail network in Greenville.
The transformation of underutilized property on a major urban corridor is an example of “urban land recycling” – and part of a growing national movement to reimagine aging suburban land uses as high-density, mixed-use, and transit-oriented neighborhoods that can provide housing, community services, new public open spaces, and commercial office and retail spaces that create opportunities for small, women- and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
Located just three miles from Greenville’s thriving downtown, Verdae is already a successful planned community, but with almost half of the 1,100-acre site remaining to be developed, the new vision positions the site to address Greenville’s most important priorities for the future, including housing affordability, transportation options to reduce dependence on cars, preservation and enhancement of open spaces, and economic development.
The vision and its anticipated benefits are aligned with Greenville’s recently completed GVL 2040 Comprehensive Plan, in addition to being designed to support the mission of Hollingsworth Funds, a charitable foundation that benefits the greater Greenville community with a vision of a vibrant, just, and inclusive Greenville. The Verdae community was initially planned in 2005 on one of the largest tracts of land in Greenville owned by John D. Hollingsworth, Jr., a textile industry magnate who left the bulk of his estate and property to endow Hollingsworth Funds.
The vision is designed to be realized over ten to fifteen years and provides flexibility to adjust to Greenville’s growth and market conditions and ongoing input from the community and development partners who will help bring it to life.
“For decades Greenville has leveraged urban design to create a unique and authentic sense of place that sets the city apart. This collaborative new vision for Verdae can build on a legacy of growth with quality of life to address some of Greenville’s most important needs with innovative new spaces that welcome the entire community.”
–Neil P. Kittredge, Partner, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Key opportunities presented by the vision include the possibilities of innovative street design that focus on mobility options with an emphasis on sustainable green infrastructure; true mixed-use space that includes flex sites and offices; and a diversity of price points on housing that creates a unique community inside the Greenville market.
In 2020, Verdae Development engaged a planning and design team led by Beyer Blinder Belle and including HR&A Advisors, Kimley-Horn, and Brasfield & Gorrie, to undertake a collaborative planning process that would be grounded in real estate analysis and stakeholder engagement. The planning process was based on the recommendations of a 2019 Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel to engage a world-class team of planning professionals to refresh the Verdae master plan.
“We’ve learned a great deal from the planning team’s work. First and foremost, we have more land within the Verdae Master Plan area than can be absorbed by the market within the next 15 years. We’re convinced that a development focus along the Laurens Road corridor is best to achieve greater community impact.”
– Debbie Wallace, President and COO of Verdae Development
In 2021, the master planning team initiated a community planning process that has enabled participatory visioning for the Laurens Road District as well as for Legacy Square, a nearby neighborhood center, and the SRT-Legacy Connector. The latter is a new multi-use trail connection that will provide a half-mile link between Verdae’s Legacy Park, multiple existing and future neighborhoods, and the soon-to-open Green Line of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.
“The collaborative nature of this effort – with residents, local businesses, business leaders, and elected officials – is what makes the vision so meaningful and relevant to Greenville’s future. We look forward to broader & deeper engagement with the Greenville community as the planning progresses.”
-Rayna Huber Erlich, Principal, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Together, these coordinated initiatives build on a legacy of exceptional planning and urban design that have made Greenville a vibrant city with both economic development and high quality of life in verdant green surroundings. Bolstered by a continued commitment to an accessible, sustainable, and inclusive community, Verdae is poised to have lasting and profound benefits for Greenville.
About Hollingsworth Funds
Hollingsworth Funds is a charitable support organization focused exclusively on Greenville, South Carolina. Endowed by the estate of textile machinery magnate John D. Hollingsworth Jr., Hollingsworth Funds’ vision is a vibrant, just, and inclusive Greenville where equitable opportunities exist for all to advance and thrive. Its mission is to collectively remove the systemic barriers that hold people back based on race, place, and socioeconomic status, and to strengthen the pathways that propel all people forward. Visit www.hollingsworthfunds.org for more.
About Verdae Development
Verdae Development Inc. serves as the master developer for the 1,100-acre planned development. The real estate subsidiary has assembled a dedicated team of professionals committed to creating and maintaining a community whose reach will extend far beyond the Verdae boundary for many years to come. In addition to encouraging responsible residential and business growth, the broader mission is to build a community whose impact on Greenville County will be lasting and profound. Visit www.verdae.com for more.
About Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Founded in 1968, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners is an award-winning architecture, planning, and interiors practice of 170 professionals in Washington, DC, New York City, and Boston. The firm’s multi-faceted portfolio encompasses preservation, urban design, and new construction projects that span a wide spectrum of building typologies and sectors, including cultural, civic, educational, residential, and commercial.
Many of our projects involve the stewardship of historic buildings in sensitive urban sites—the work for which we have become best recognized. Notable planning and urban design projects include the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative in Washington, DC and Essex Crossing in New York, NY. Urban Design is central to BBB’s mission and forms a significant part of our multi-disciplinary practice. We have designed award-winning plans for campuses, cities, neighborhoods and historic districts, institutional and government facilities, waterfronts, and mixed-use developments. BBB approaches all projects with a deep understanding of their character-defining features, and brings creativity, place-making, and authenticity to the design of buildings and dynamic public spaces that meet the needs of current and future generations. Visit www.beyerblinderbelle.com for more.