This past year saw the success of Downtown Spartanburg’s development continue.
In 2019, $50 million in development came downtown, with a total of $292 million in development announced or continuing to progress. Downtown Spartanburg is now home to 289 businesses, 76 of which are less than three years old, showing there is new and substantial interest in bringing business downtown.
There’s public art on every corner and live music most nights each week. And historic buildings have new life thanks to major rejuvenation projects.
In late-July, the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District unveiled murals on downtown streets known as Creative Crosswalks. The project, funded by OneSpartanburg, the Chapman Cultural Center and USC Upstate, aimed to bring even more vibrant art downtown while making downtown streets safer for drivers and pedestrians.
Each crosswalk was designed and painted by a different local artist or team of artists. Local artist Michael Webster painted the crosswalk at Main and King streets. Matthew Donaldson, assistant professor of graphic design at USC Upstate, painted the crosswalk at Main and Spring streets. Local artists Frankie Page, a.k.a. Frankie Zombie, and Adrian Meadows, a.k.a. Alias to Aspire, painted the crosswalk at Main and Magnolia streets.
Along with new art downtown, the musical offerings you can find around Spartanburg grew in 2019.
Popular mainstays Music on Main and Jazz on the Square wrapped up another successful season. Bands & Beats at Barnet Park, a new fall concert series launched by the Chapman Cultural Center, kicked off in October and is scheduled to continue in 2020.
With weekend performances around the city, local hotspots FR8yard and RJ Rockers Brewing Co. continued to showcase local musicians with performances throughout the week, and the Chapman Cultural Center continued their Downtown Programming effort, bringing local musicians to the streets of Downtown Spartanburg.
Spartanburg’s Downtown Cultural District is booming. The Music Trail, showcasing Spartanburg’s place in music history, has been tuned up to feature new artists. Chaser the Border Collie, known as the “dog who knows 1,000 words,” is prominently featured on the windows of several downtown businesses among a bright design.
An icon of Downtown Spartanburg, The Montgomery Building saw anchor businesses fill its ground floor in 2019 after finishing 2018 with a ribbon cutting celebration to show the historic space’s new life, the result of $29.5 million in investment.
The year started strong in February when The Pharmacy, the newest concept from Little River Roasting Co. owner Gervais Hollowell, opened its doors. The Pharmacy provides coffee drinkers a more curated, specialty caffeinated experience complete with the same 1920s feel much of the rest of the Montgomery Building’s ground floor evokes.
Joining The Pharmacy were James & James Collection, providing high-quality menswear, and the highly-anticipated Sidewall Pizza, bringing handmade pies and welcoming vibes.
In the building’s basement, Arken Media Group, a studio space for photographers, videographers, graphic designers and marketing professionals, opened in a 1,600-square-foot space.
Along with the businesses, a total of 63 apartments are now inside The Montgomery Building, each of them occupied.
United Community Plaza officially opened for business in 2019, and when it did, it hit the ground running.
Quickly joining United Community Bank inside the building at the intersection of Main and Pine streets were a Moe’s Southwest Grill location and a Chicken Salad Chick franchise, both of which saw throngs of visitors upon opening.
The new plaza sits at one of Spartanburg’s busiest intersections and serves as a new welcoming point to downtown visitors coming from the eastern portion of Spartanburg County.
At 127 W. Main St., a historic former department store building has been given new life as a boutique bowling alley and bar, with a barbecue restaurant set to join the roster soon.
Opened in a historic building that began its life as a department store in 1928. Since then, it was home of The Leader, Kimbrell’s Furniture, and a series of nightclubs before closing in 2015.
The 12,000-square-foot, 1928 building houses eight bowling lanes, a full bar and arcade games. Initial Q: Social Bar & Smokehouse is set to open in December with a full gastro-smokehouse inspired menu.
The year’s monthly average foot traffic count was 239,500, showing there’s plenty of activity in Downtown Spartanburg.
Data showed that stretching back over 15 months, nearly 3.9 million pedestrians strolled around downtown. Pedestrian counters, designed to map foot traffic around the city, were installed at high-traffic areas like near Groucho’s Deli on North Church Street, at West Main Street near RJ Rockers, and other strategic spots.
“Years of work have led Downtown Spartanburg to where it is today, a destination for visitors, a home for investment and a place where fine arts excel,” said Jansen Tidmore, Executive Vice President of Corporate and Urban Development at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “With a strong set of events downtown, an incredible list of restaurants and resources, and an increasing level of business investment downtown, big things are poised to happen in 2020.”