Aug. 26--Construction will soon begin on a four-story office building, adding significantly to the amount of high-end office space in the city's downtown area.
Johnson Development plans to build a "sister" to the Carolina First building on East Main Street that is now occupied by the bank, Johnson Development, OTO Development, Southport Textiles and Coldwell Banker Caine.
Foster Chapman, president of Johnson Development, said the construction is the second phase of the company's plan for two Class A office buildings that could attract new businesses to the city. Construction of the 60,000-square-foot building, which will be adjacent to Carolina First on Main Street, will begin within a month and is expected to take about 14 months, he said. The two buildings will share a rear parking deck.
The Carolina First building is five stories high and 65,000 square feet.
The new building will have a longer frontage on Main Street, but Chapman said the two structures were designed and planned together to complement each other.
"It will be similar in appearance to the building we're in now, but it will look slightly different," Chapman said. "We will use the same materials, and we expect the people of Spartanburg will be proud."
There is still space available in the new building, but one tenant has already signed a contract, though Chapman would not identify it.
Ben Hines, of Spencer Hines Properties, said the new office space is desperately needed in Spartanburg.
"Class A office space is in high demand here," Hines said. "If you look at the track record of the Advance America, Extended Stay and the Carolina First buildings, I think you will find they're about 90 percent filled. There is plenty of Class B and Class C office space, but Class A is hard to come by."
Hines said the office space classifications can be subjective, but Class A is largely defined as new or newly renovated space.
City Manager Mark Scott said when city staff members began compiling information for the downtown master plan, they took this planned construction into consideration.
"What it means to us is that more people will be downtown, more customers, more employees and that ultimately means more vibrance and vitality," Scott said.
That part of downtown hasn't historically seen much foot traffic, and Scott hopes this project will change that.
"It fits in beautifully with what we're doing to bring that area to life," he said.
Copyright (c) 2007, Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, S.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.