Folly’s Changing Face
Super Bi-Lo bound Folly Market development begins to take shape in Centerville
By Charlie Morrison │ Community Editor
When it comes to the topic of development on James Island, specifically how the island’s growth is managed, consensus can be as hard to find as any precious metal. Topics like trees and traffic counts have intensified debates over development over the years, however the issue of improving Folly Road has bucked that trend. Displeasure for Folly Road’s functionality as well as its aesthetics seems to be universal.
Of late, small samplings of positive change to James Island’s primary commercial corridor have begun to spring up of late though. A project to redesign and develop a portion of the Super Bi-Lo Shopping Center located at Folly Road’s intersection with Rivers Point Rd., a project dubbed the “Folly Market,” is on pace to be amongst the first commercial developments to represent that change. The cornerstone of the Folly Market Project will be the expansion of the existing Super Bi-Lo supermarket. The existing brick façade of the Super Bi-Lo will be extended across the rest of the shopping center.
A pair of “conceptual” buildings potentially could be constructed alongside Highland Ave., according to site plans, but the additional units “may or may not be developed depending on how the final plan shakes out,” according to property broker in charge Mikell C. Harper, of South Carolina-based real estate development firm Gramling Brothers.
The new owners of the commercial space, FEWG, LLC, purchased not only the 45,000 square feet of “big box” commercial rental space, but also the outlying lot on which are located a trio of out buildings fronting Folly Rd. and Highland Ave.
Two of the structures are stalwart James Island small businesses, the Wag Factory and Trudy’s Dance Studio, have been displaced by the purchase and development of the Folly Market,however both are transitioning to new locations with success and high hopes.
Gramling Brothers has been hired to develop the property and NAI Avant is brokering the retail, restaurant, and big box retail locations to potential tenants.
The key right now, according to Harper, is to find the right anchor tenants, the kind of long-term tenants Folly Market can grow around. “The idea is to have that big box space in the back full with some good anchor tenants and then obviously feature some retail and restaurant out frond,” says Harper, who added that in addition to the big box portion of the project, the brokers are currently screening tenants for the two out parcels, and which are designed for restaurant and or retail development, according to Harper.
The project was originally slated for a spring groundbreaking, and is obviously behind schedule. “It’s one of those things where the market is driving it … We’ve had a lot of really strong interest but have not put the final plan together yet.” Harper did assert however, that the group will be wrapping up its search for tenants within the next two weeks to 30 days.
That the developers are letting the market drive who ultimately ends up occupying the new space worries some on James Island fearful Folly Road is close to sliding down a slippery slope that will one day have it looking like Myrtle Beach. And while that fear is very real, many residents of the surrounding neighborhood feel anything would be better than what most currently call an eyesore.
© 2013 Wiser Time Publishing, Inc.