Two projects set to transform area of downtown Florence

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A couple of big projects are slated to transform a section of West Evans Street in Florence’s downtown.

A streetscape project is underway now, with a major mixed use development slated to come down the pike.

Traffic was closed on West Evans between Coit and McQueen for hours Thursday morning as crews worked on the streetscape project.

The city is dropping the road down to two lanes from four, adding a median, adding landscaping and trees, as well as providing larger sidewalks and a bike lane. Utilities will be put underground in the project as well. This will extend downtown’s ‘palette’ to include the area from Coit to Kuker Street along West Evans and should be done next year.

“People are out more walking around,” assistant city manager Clint Moore said. “With the new project coming across the City Center, we’re going to have a lot more folks living downtown.”

Moore is referring to the Urban Square project. It’s an estimated 65 million dollar mixed use development that’s planned to bring a 30,000 square foot office building, hotel, apartment complex and parking deck to the area.

“We’re trying to create a very strong hub in downtown with a good mix that can support all the people living down here,” Moore explained.

City councilman George Jebaily has been involved with downtown redevelopment for 25 years.

“To see a plan, initially an idea, a vision, a dream if you will, come to fruition and now get grown upon, and now get expanded on in ways that really we never even imagined- it makes me excited about the future,” Councilman Jebaily said. “And about what’s come to next. Because we’re just waiting for the doorbell to ring.”

Community members also seem to welcome the new growth. Tonya Jones Anderson has owned Remix Hair and Nail Salon for over a decade, which sits along the stretch of West Evans.

She says the neighborhood a business is in matters.

“It makes a big difference,” she said. “Especially with new clients. If they feel comfortable, and you know, if they feel safe, that’s the main thing- do they feel safe? They’ll come here.”

Work on the apartment portion of the development along with the parking garage is expected to begin late summer 2021. The whole project is anticipated to wrap up within a five year term.

“Florence is open for business,” Jebaily said. “All of Florence. Not only downtown. But all of Florence is open for business”

Traffic along the portion of West Evans between Coit and McQueen will be closed during these times:

• Monday, December 21, 2020 – Thursday, December 24, 2020, 7:30am – 5:00pm

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