By Cindy Landrum  

JUNE 21, 2012 10:20 a.m. Comments (4)

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Three freestanding buildings on Markley Street have roots in Greenville’s textile past and soon will have a place in Greenville’s textile future.

OOBE, a textile company that started making outdoor apparel and expanded into custom-designed corporate uniforms, will be the lead tenant in a new 67,000-square-foot mixed-use development that will continue the revitalization of Greenville’s West End.

Markley Terrace will turn three buildings in the 100 block of Markley Street that were used as a train-loading depot for textiles and machinery in the mid-1900s into office, light industrial and event/retail space.

The development could also feature a restaurant with outdoor and rooftop dining.

“We didn’t go out looking for a development project to do,” said Jenks Patrick, president of Jenks Inc. Realty. “If it wasn’t for the buildings and their current structure, we wouldn’t be doing it.”

Patrick said downtown has a shortage of “creative architecture cool Class B office space” downtown.

Markley Terrace will retain much of the original buildings’ architectural aesthetics, such as the 15-foot ceilings braced by heart pine wood beams, interior walls with exposed brick and wide plank floors made of solid maple, he said.

“That can’t be re-created,” he said.

Patrick likened the difference in office space to the difference between homeowners who want a brand-new house in a brand-new subdivision and those who buy in a historic mill village or neighborhood like Augusta Road and renovate the old structure to meet their needs.

“I think a balanced community has some of both,” Patrick said. “The West End is an opportunity for people who want that historic niche. We’re one of the few people who have that available.”

OOBE, which has outgrown its space in the Old Cotton Warehouse building in the West End and has temporarily relocated on Park Avenue, is excited about being a part of the continued improvement of the West End, said founder and co-CEO Tom Merritt.

“OOBE has been a long-time resident of the West End and we support many business partners here, such as the (Greenville) Drive (baseball team),” he said. “The fact that Markley Terrace has its roots grounded in the textile industry, like OOBE, and is within easy walking distance to incredible restaurants, shops, art and entertainment options makes it ideally suited to our corporate culture.”

Markley Terrace will be between South Main Street and Academy Street, providing a link between Fluor Field and the Kroc Center, Patrick said.

Patrick said he will be one of the owners of the site and the deal should close before Aug. 15.

Construction should start in the fall and OOBE hopes to be in its new space by April, Patrick said.

Patrick said he is talking to three other companies about locating in the project.

“I don’t think we’ll have a problem filling the space,” said Patrick. He said he is targeting “large space users” who need 10,000 square feet. He did say there would be one 5,000-square-foot space available.

The two other buildings will be done on a build-to-suit basis, he said.

Balconies and patios will be added to the rear of the building, which has a panoramic view of downtown and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The design will also feature an outdoor plaza with a stage for special events.

The buildings will get new heating and ventilation systems, windows, roofs and facades.

Streetscape improvements to Markley and Rhett streets are planned, such as new sidewalks, reducing the number of telephone poles and new trees, Patrick said.

The buildings have been vacant since Smith Dray Line moved to near the interstate at least 15 years ago, Patrick said.

 

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