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Tenants welcome tax hike to join Uptown Greenwood

Post Date:03/10/2017 8:28 AM
Index Journal

By:  Adam Benson

GREENWOOD, SC - City leaders are accustomed to hearing business owners and residents appeal for tax relief during budget season.

But it’s not often requests come in to pay more. However, tenants of Greenwood’s iconic Hampton Place petitioned their landlords – Mike Bartley and Hugh Moseley – for just that option.

On Monday, City Council unanimously voted to add the 53,000-square-foot, 6-acre shopping center at 115 Hampton Ave. into the Uptown Greenwood special tax district – expanding its borders for the first time since the district’s creation in 1984.

“Our tenants are the ones that really drove us to get into the tax district,” Moseley said. “It gives them more exposure. They’ll be included in all Uptown advertising and be a part of the wonderful job the city does in Uptown.”

City Finance Director Steffanie Dorn said with the change, the plaza will see an annual increase of $2,500 in its tax bill based on an assessed value of $51,960.

Spread across 13 city blocks, the district has a taxable base of $25 million.

Officials said bringing the Shoppes at Hampton Place into the fold creates a new gateway for the quadrant.

“The addition of Hampton Place to the Uptown Greenwood Special Tax District is like adding players to a football team,” City Manager Charlie Barrineau said. “Uptown Greenwood now has an additional mix of retail, service and hospitality venues to add to the businesses that are marked as in ‘Uptown Greenwood.’”

Built in 1965, the plaza is home to several businesses that have been in Greenwood for decades, including The Bootery and Montague’s Restaurant.

Montague’s operator, T.J. Jenks, was a vocal proponent of joining the tax district – which gives the restaurant a chance to book bands as a sanctioned venue for the Festival of Discovery.

“We’ve always been part of Uptown’s parking lot without actually being in the district. We’ve been trying to do it for a long time,” Jenks said. “I think it was surprising for a lot of people to learn it wasn’t already” part of the district.

Mayor Welborn Adams said he was pleased to vote in favor of Hampton’s addition to the district.

“Anytime you can expand the Uptown, it is really beneficial to the city. They’ve already been participating in the Festival of Discovery and a lot of events through the parking lot, so I think it makes a lot of sense,” he said. “The bigger the pool, the easier it is for everybody.”

Moseley said other significant changes are on the way for Hampton Place, such as the installation of electronic billboards and a reshuffling of space to add several new businesses.

Tidwell Jewelers, Moseley said, is adding 1,300 square feet to its store as well.

“Our tenants want to do whatever they can to improve the property, because it improves theirs businesses as well,” Moseley said.

David Scott, manager of Ro-Mac Trophies and Signs, said his business was eager to participate in the district.

“Just being in the downtown area, you get a lot of exposure, and it’s easy access for people to get to us,” he said. “We also get exposure from all the events downtown, and the city pushes ‘shop local,’ so it works for us.”

Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.