By: Tonya Brown
FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — Negotiations are still taking place for a project that could result in a $65 million investment for downtown Florence, according to City of Florence Downtown Manager Ray Reich.
“Because it still in the negotiation stage of it, we can’t talk about it. But it’s going to be a multi-use. It will create more housing, I can tell you that. Which right now, all of the housing and downtown is at 100 percent occupancy. So, we know that we have more people that want to live downtown so when you talk about a $65 million investment, that’s a lot of money. And that’s private sector money, so we are excited about it. And we hope will be able to announce it hopefully by mid year,” said Ray Reich, Florence downtown manager.
Reich said in addition to that project, the new 103 bed hotel opens next month in the downtown district along with three new restaurants.
“We are excited that the new Hyatt Place hotel will be opening up in February. So that’s just around the corner that will add another 103 rooms to downtown and there’s new people coming in every night which can spend money in restaurants,” said Reich.
Florence City Mayor Stephen Wukela envisioned new growth for the downtown district some 10 years ago.
Wukela and city council members worked hard to spur change. There are restaurants, retail shops, museums, a performing arts center, bank and much more in downtown Florence.
“Florence really does not have an iconic tourist destination, like some cities have, but Florence can’t be much like Greenville. We aren’t Greenville; when you think Greenville, you think downtown. That is their tourist destination and we want to do the same thing with Downtown Florence. And we think we’re well on our way to accomplishing that,” added Reich.
Many people across Florence said they love what the downtown has transformed into over the years.
“I’m a big fan of the changes. Growing up, been here for the past 10 years or so. It’s just been fun to kind of see downtown become something bigger than it was, you know, become something better than it was. Something new and fresh and just a cultural hub for all sorts of people,” said Charles Jeffcoat.
Any new developments with the potential $65 million downtown project will be reported here on WPDE.com.