Greenville, S.C. renters to see flood of new apartments

Developers are moving to satisfy what they see as solid demand for more apartments in Greenville.

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No fewer than seven new complexes are under construction or planned, and if they all get built, the existing supply will grow by nearly 1,200 units.

That’s much more than Greenville has seen in recent years, according to local developer Russ Davis, who is building the 48-unit 100 East complex downtown along Washington Street.

Also downtown, Greenville developer Phil Hughes is planning 44 units for the Riverwalk building on Camperdown Way. Both are expected to be ready this year.

The other five are larger and and planned farther from the city center. They are likely two years away, Davis said, and during that time Greenville should get at least 2,000 new renter households.

Arlington Properties of Birmingham, Ala., envisions a 241-unit complex called Tapestry Park at Verdae at the intersection of Woodruff and Rocky Slope roads, according to documents on file with the Greenville Planning Commission.

At the intersection of Laurens Road and In novat ion Drive, Easlan Invest ment Group of Greenville plans a complex called The Vinings @ ICAR with 244 apartments.

Behind Whole Foods off of Woodruff Road, Flournoy Development of Columbus, Ga., got permission in July to add 346 units to Verandas at The Point.

K.C. Sanjay, senior real estate economist with AXIOmetrics, an apartment market research firm in Dallas, said supplies began to dwindle across the country after the recession hit because developers and lenders were reluctant to build new complexes.

Now, he said, more consumers are opting to rent instead of buy their homes, and apartment demand has surged across the country.

“Last year, we saw occupancy go up in virtually every market in the U.S., and we saw rent grew also all over the country,” Sanjay said.

In Greenville, AXIOmetrics predicts the apartment vacancy rate will fall from 7.1 percent in 2011 to 5.7 percent this year.

If so, conditions will be ripe for more development, Davis said.

“Anytime you see vacancies get to 7 percent, you’re basically at equilibrium” between supply and demand, he said. “When it gets below 7, we begin to see markets where there’s a lack of supply.”

Marcus McCall, another local developer who’s been building apartments in the Carolinas and Virginia since 1988, said he likewise sees a good market in Greenville, with falling vacancy rates and rising rents.

“I think the market will remain healthy, with a good balance between supply and demand” as long as job growth continues, McCall said.

His latest venture is Enclave Paris Mountain Apartments, a 232-unit, highend complex on the former Hillandale Golf Course off Poinsett Highway. The 22-acre site along South Parker Road offers views of Paris Mountain, and McCall said he will add ponds and natural areas.

He said occupancy rates at two apartment complexes his company owns in Simpsonville are in the high 90 percent range, with virtually no concessions required to land tenants.

Greenville developer Adam Chandler, who’s planning 35 apartments where horse stables have long stood beside Cleveland Park, said he figures a lot of people lost money buying homes in recent years, or know people who did, and that’s prompted more interest in renting.

“There’s just a definite need for people wanting to rent, where the trend five years ago was they wanted to own,” Chandler said.

If he can get the zoning he’s requested, Chandler plans a high-end complex friendly to families with children that will include more than an acre of green space along the Reedy River and Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Author: Rudolph Bell, greenvilleonline.com