Developer purchases empty downtown Greenville lot with legendary history

New plans announced for site of old Greenville Memorial Auditorium

Updated: 1:07 PM EST Jan 4, 2018

Carla Field

Digital Managing Editor

Old Memorial Auditorium site.png


New plans announced for site of old Greenville Memorial Auditorium.

There are finally plans for a lot that has sat empty in downtown Greenville for more than 20 years, following decades of rich history. The old Greenville Memorial Auditorium site has been purchased and plans for its future announced.

The site has a long and storied history.

It took about 20 years for the auditorium to be built after it was first conceived in 1938, with holdups from lawsuits, design and site disputes and the Korean War.

The first event held in the venue was a basketball game between Furman University and the University of West Virginia on Dec. 1, 1958, when construction on the auditorium was not quite complete.

Many big-name performers took the stage in the auditorium, including the Rolling Stones, Wayne Newton, Gladys Knight and the Pips, No Doubt, Liberace and many more. Hootie & the Blowfish drew the single biggest crowd to the auditorium when 7,000 people attended the 1994 concert.

After Lynyrd Skynyrd performed in the auditorium in October 1977, band members Ronnie Van Zant and Steve and Cassie Gaines were killed in a plane crash.

The Miss South Carolina Pageant was held in the auditorium every summer from 1959 until the facility closed its doors in August 1996.

The auditorium was demolished in an implosion in September 1997, and the site remained empty ever since. There were plans announced in 2014 by a developer who proposed an apartment complex on the site, but that never happened.

New life for old site

Investors announced Thursday that the land has been purchased by a developer who plans a “live-work-play-stay” project.

Kana Gateway, LLC, a joint-venture between Accente Group, Inc. & investment

partner Blue Moon Partners, LLC, based in Greenville, purchased the property, according to Raj Patel, Kana Gateway’s managing partner.

“I love Greenville and have always wanted to do a project downtown,” Patel said. “When the site came available, I thought it was perfect. A hidden gem in plain sight.”

Patel is a veteran hotelier and president/CEO of the Clemson- based Accente Group, Inc. He said he believes the site is a true gateway to Greenville.

Market studies and master planning are already underway, a news release said.

Real estate advisory firm NRE Property Group managing partner Marty Navarro said, “We will be focusing on visioning, stakeholder engagement, programming, site conditions and site capacity to ensure that the project has a lasting, positive impact on the community and elevates the image of the city.

“We believe the site can accommodate approximately 200,000 square feet of “live-work-play-stay” program elements to meet future market needs. The goal is to leverage the proximity to and energy of Main Street and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Plans are to develop a first class, innovative, multi-use, multi-phase and multi-building project.”

The property is located at the corners of North Church Street and North Street and Beattie Place across from Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

No completion date has been projected at this time.

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About NRE:

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