March 10, 2021
Last year was obviously a difficult time on a host of fronts for many people, including many of us here in Spartanburg. From the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic disruptions to significant social strife, none of us will forget 2020.
As we rightly continue to confront those challenges, it is possible to miss some of the most positive trends, projects and opportunities locally and regionally. Looking forward, here are a few things I’m keeping my eye on:
Housing Boom: Did you know that for the better part of two years, Spartanburg has outpaced our neighbors to the west in homebuilding? Indeed, since 2019, more new homes have been built or are on the drawing board here than in Greenville County. While most of that construction is in unincorporated areas of the county, a number of projects inside the Spartanburg city limits are steadily moving forward, including Montgomery Development Group’s Northside Townhomes project at Howard and Raindrop streets. Spartanburg’s low cost of living, great schools, and access to some of the most respected employers in the world is driving population growth here and will continue to do so for decades to come. Homebuilding — including projects at all price points, sizes, styles and categories — will have to keep up.
Smart Planning and Preservation Efforts: While homebuilding seeks to keep pace with population growth, it will need to be accompanied by thoughtful planning lest we lose the assets and features that make our area such a special place to live and raise a family. The City of Spartanburg is currently updating its Comprehensive Plan for the first time in 20 years, and not a moment too soon. We applaud the city for including so many opportunities for all stakeholders — which literally means everyone — to participate in the planning process. We will continue to take part in this process and we are eager to see the final document, which will guide development and growth in the city limits for at least the next decade.
Retail/Restaurant Sector Bounceback: 2020 was an especially difficult year for the retail and hospitality industries. Nationwide, thousands of these businesses shuttered, and while Spartanburg’s economy has shown real resilience, we haven’t been spared. A number of longtime eateries downtown and throughout Spartanburg County closed last year, and nearly every retailer and restaurateur reports smaller margins today than they did 12 months ago. Hopefully, as we move out of winter and into warmer and drier weather, people will make it outside more to explore our downtown restaurants and retail outlets.
Trails & Parks Make a Place: More than ever, our trails and parks have become essential for our good health and overall wellbeing. Ensuring that every resident is able to go outside and access these recreational amenities is not just a goal in Spartanburg — it is a value our community has embraced. At Montgomery Development Group, we strive to include trails and trail access in every development we undertake as we see this as a valuable amenity to our projects as well as a way to promote health and wellness.
Overall, as we move into 2021, we see a lot of positive growth trends in Spartanburg across all asset classes. Industrial development in our community is at an all-time high and we are seeing investors and developers from all over the country come to our community to invest their money and promote economic development activity. We also see the housing boom continuing through 2021 and into 2022, especially in the northern and western portion of our county. Multi-family development has seen a real uptick in our city and county and as of March 2021, there are more than 2,000 residential units planned within 5 miles of downtown Spartanburg. On the hospitality front, Spartanburg will soon welcome another downtown hotel as Hawkeye Hotels has announced a new Fairfield Inn & Suites to be developed on St. John Street next to the Montgomery Building.
We are grateful to live in a part of the country where people are wanting to move and invest and we are hopeful that 2021 will bring us positive momentum to continue to carry our community forward.