City inks development agreement for 320 apartments, help with trail network in Drayton

Published by the Spartanburg Herald Journal; to view the full article, click here

The Spartanburg City Council unanimously approved a development agreement Monday that clears the way for construction of a new 320-unit apartment complex across from the former Drayton Mills site and helps a nonprofit flesh out its vision for a not-yet-completed trail network. 

Per the agreement, developers leading the project will be responsible for improving the intersection at Drayton and Milliken Road to accommodate increased traffic. They will also hand over $100,000 to the nonprofit Partners for Active Living for improvements to the trail that runs through the property along Lawson Fork Creek.

In exchange, Orangeburg-based developer Drayton Holdings LLC  — which, despite its name, has no connection to the Drayton Mills Marketplace across the street — will receive relief on its property taxes for 10 years after the apartment complex is complete. 

“This project will help address housing demand and fuel continued growth on the east side of the city,” according to agenda materials posted on the city’s website ahead of Monday’s meeting.

Laura Ringo, executive director of Partners for Active Living, calls the agreement a “win-win” for the community.

“The new apartments will be located along the Lower Drayton Mills Trail,” she said. “The trail parallels Lawson's Fork Creek, and the scenery is lovely. For the first eight months of the year, there have been almost 18,000 trail uses. Adding the apartments will mean that this segment of Trail will be enjoyed by even more people.”

The funds committed by the developer will help PAL connect the trail network, known as the Dan, to other segments. The developer will also help maintain the existing trail.

“Maintenance of the trails is typically handled by various partners, as PAL is not set up to handle ongoing maintenance of these facilities," Ringo said. "Sometimes developers like in this project maintain the trails, and other times it is the city of Spartanburg or Spartanburg County."

This area of the city of Spartanburg has been a hub of activity lately. A few years ago, Charlotte, N.C.-based TMS Development renovated the long-dormant Drayton Mills into 600-unit loft apartments.