Former Greenville Memorial Auditorium site sold to Clemson hotelier for $3M
Anna B. Mitchell, firstname.lastname@example.org Published 11:01 a.m. ET Jan. 2, 2018 | Updated 9:46 a.m. ET Jan. 3, 2018
A deal between the property's previous owner, Greenville Gateway Developers, and the new buyer's company, Kana Gateway, closed on Nov. 30, 2017. Anna B. Mitchell
The former site of Greenvile Memorial Auditorium has been sold to hotelier Rajesh Patel for $3 million.
A deal between Greenville Gateway Developers, the property's previous owner, and Kana Gateway, Patel's company, closed on Nov. 30.
Reached late last week, Patel confirmed he had purchased the 1.83-acre Gateway site, but said he would not be available for further comment until later this week. Patel — who owns three hotels in Clemson — has not yet revealed what he intends to do with the downtown Greenville property, but Greenville Mayor Knox White said he understands the hotelier has a mix of office and hotel space in mind.
"I've met with Mr. Patel, and I am glad to see an owner who is thinking more of a mixed use development and something beyond apartments," White said. "We are quick to convey that we don't need more apartments."
One of the brokers in the sale — CBRE's Charles Gouch — said in a statement that the site is "optimal for a mixed-use development.”
Gouch cited the high traffic counts on that stretch of Church Street — 50,000 cars rolling past daily — as an advantage.
"Its proximity to Main Street and prominent downtown sites, amenities, and parking pose unique opportunities to transform the property into Greenville’s next big redevelopment site,” he said.
The Gateway property is at 400 Church St. and is bounded by East North Street to the south, across from Christ Church Episcopal, and Beattie Place to the north, across from a municipal parking garage.
Vacant and surrounded by painted plywood barricades, the Gateway site is among downtown Greenville's most visible. Interstate 385 brings traffic into the city right at Beattie Place, and Bon Secours Wellness Arena is within walking distance.
Greenville Gateway Developers had owned the site since January 2008, when they purchased it for $1.8 million from the Greenville Memorial Auditorium board. The old auditorium was torn down in 1997.
A half-acre, triangular-shaped collection of four other parcels between Beattie and North Street, which are contiguous to the 1.83-acre parcel to its east, were not part of the sale. They remain the property of Canal Insurance Co.
The mayor said that previous proposals have included contracts on the Canal land.
"It might be a better project with both combined," White said.
Canal Insurance Co. still owns about half an acre of land and a couple of buildings that abut the Gateway site. (Photo: Anna B. Mitchell)
White said that the last two contracts on the site included apartment concepts and had made it all the way through the city's design review process before falling through. The federal government also once considered the site for a new courthouse.
Patel is president and CEO of the Accente Group of six hotels — three on Tiger Boulevard in Clemson, one in Columbia and one in Simpsonville. A seventh hotel, also in Clemson, will open in 2019, according to the group's website.
Patel's existing properties include Holiday Inns, a Days Inn and a Sleep Inn.
Brokering the deal in Greenville along with Gouch were Stephen Navarro of the CBRE real estate firm and Marty Navarro of the NRE Property Group.
Marty Navarro told The News in April 2017 that he had found a buyer for the group. At the time, he said, the group was evaluating the site "for highest and best use."
NRE is a boutique real estate services firm headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, offering a broad range of real estate services in the areas of development, brokerage, and advisory services. At the core of our services are tenant or buyer representation, repositioning of troubled assets, development/ feasibility, sales, and leasing. The firm was founded on integrity, experience, outstanding leadership and trusted performance. Our clients are high net worth investors, institutional owners and buyers, national or regional developers, small business owners, and municipalities. NRE is committed to service and results beyond the standard. To accomplish this, we provide clients with senior-level attention, comprehensive knowledge, detailed preparation and analysis, and top-level industry relationships. The success of NRE is a direct reflection of our unwavering dedication to our work and our clients.To find out more, visit nrepg.com