Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the April 16 issue of GSA Business Report.
There is a buzz of activity taking place near Lake Hartwell outside of Clemson. Development of Hartwell Village is well underway along U.S. Highway 123 and S.C. Highway 93 at the county line between Oconee and Pickens counties.
Developed by Ohio-based real estate firm Casto, Hartwell Village is bringing dining and shopping options to an area populated with consumers of all ages, from college students to working professionals to retirees. In addition to the stores being constructed, road work is being completed to the surrounding highways, adding turn lanes and traffic lights.
To date, confirmed Hartwell Village tenants include Marshalls, Ulta, Michaels, Five Below, Rack Room Shows, Petco, Aldi, Lee Spa Nails, Great Clips, Kay Jewelers and a TRU by Hilton hotel, according to Richard Blackwell, executive director of the Oconee Economic Alliance. He said he has not been notified of any store opening dates, but he imagines “they are trying to get ready for the Clemson football season and holiday shopping season.” He said the TRU and Lakeside Lodge are working toward a mid-2019 opening. Lakeside Lodge is a condominium project that will feature 116 residences with a mix of studio, two-bedroom and three-bedroom condos. It will be located to the side of Hartwell Village.
The development is being completed in phases. Phase I is underway now. Phase II is slated for an area beside Aldi. There also are several outparcels for sale that will come on-line over time, Blackwell said. When all is said and done, the development is expected to provide 300 to 400 jobs.
“A tsunami of market forces has led to having this opportunity unfold,” Blackwell said. “Just think about how the Clemson market is pushing outside of its city boundaries. The university continues to grow and have success both on and off the field.
“Then factor the successful economic and community development pursuits led by the Oconee Economic Alliance. This is quite the recipe for success all across the board in our area as we have seen job growth, agribusiness flourishing, new businesses taking root and more people coming to visit our area.”
Development of Hartwell Village began in 2016 with the main road installation into the site, then activity picked up last summer with grading work and vertical construction.
“This retail development has helped put Oconee on the map from a retail standpoint,” Blackwell said. “Yes, we have had great strides on the industrial and workforce front. This will help build our community vibrancy, stop retail leakage to other markets, provide jobs and prove to other national retailers that Oconee County is an emerging market to possibly look at for a future opportunity.”
Blackwell also noted the convenience of Hartwell Village to Epoch Clemson, a proposed 310-unit/994-bed student housing community to serve Clemson University. Plans call for Epoch Clemson to be located across U.S. Highway 123 from Hartwell Village.