MAULDIN, SC (FOX Carolina) - A groundbreaking was held in Mauldin Thursday afternoon for a massive brand new 170-acre development that local leaders say will be the Upstate's first new town center.
Governor Henry McMaster was joined by other politicians and business leaders to formally announce BridgeWay Station, which will be built along I-385.
Some local leaders went as far as to say this project could have a similar impact on the community as BMW did when it moved to Greer in the 1990s. So FOX Carolina wanted to know exactly what is coming, and talk to residents about what they think of the project.
Work has already begun on the development some officials say will “put Mauldin on the map," with everything from apartments, to offices, to retail--parks, plazas, restaurants, and more--being built. Neighbors say they are both nervous and excited about it all.
“This is a great step forward for this part of Greenville County, the Upstate of South Carolina, and the state as a whole," said Governor Henry McMaster Thursday afternoon.
One of the big ticket items talked about a lot Thursday is a flyover pedestrian bridge over I-385, an essential part of phase 1 development. It’s something the governor says is a great idea that has already been proven successful.
“There was a similar idea that mayor Joe Riley had in Charleston, where he insisted on putting a walking lane on the Ravenel Bridge," McMaster explained.
Phase 1 of building is set to include a little bit of everything, including several acres of trail that would connect that bridge, and those suburbs, to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The idea behind all of it is to bridge the gap between downtown Greenville and the suburbs, making Mauldin its own destination.
“This area especially seems a bit smaller, a little more quaint," remarked Paige Farral, who was out walking past the site Thursday evening. “It’s not really known for the big stuff like downtown Greenville is, so I think it’s a big step," she said.
On one hand, neighbors like Paige say they are excited at the possibility of shopping, dining, and much more close to them. But, like many others, she does also have some slight concerns.
“It definitely seems like a good opportunity to bring some people into Greenville, but there are also a lot of people already in Greenville!" she exclaimed.
Farral hopes there is a plan for the surrounding infrastructure to keep up with the growth, so that things don’t get too crowded too quickly.
“I guess we'll never really know until it happens,“ she said.
According to local company Hughes Investments, the project is also forecasted to create about 1000 new jobs. Officials say future phases of BridgeWay will include even more flashy items, like outdoor entertainment venues and rooftop bars and dining.