HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Since February 2014, more than 20 new businesses have decided to call downtown Hartsville their new home, opening their doors to a new era of development for the area.
"We're really going back to our roots," said Suzy Moyd, Main Street Hartsville executive director.
Main Street Hartsville has been working to develop the city's downtown area, adding everything from restaurants, such as Pita Pit and Groucho's Deli which will be opening soon, to hotels. A four-story Hampton Inn and Suites is set to open in June. The Mantissa Executive Suites and Spa will be opening then as well.
"There's a need to fill for a high end venue for lodging and for business purposes and that's one of the main reasons we decided to do that," said Tim Blackwell, director of operations for Mantissa, LLC.
The hotel is still under construction. It will have 17 rooms, a spa, a restaurant and a rooftop lounge with views of the city. The goal is to merge the old with the new.
"We have some beautiful architecture here and older buildings that have been underutilized and now they're being put to great use for new retail establishments as well as venues like we have with the Mantissa," Blackwell said.
The hotel also built a public pedestrian path connecting College and Carolina Avenues.
"It will make it a more pedestrian friendly downtown and also increase walkability, which is a big component of economic development," Moyd said.
One of the upcoming projects will be to bring life back to the Center Theater and add a board of people to coordinate programming.
"A group of committed people that really want to see change happen and that's where it all starts and that's where we are trying to build that right now," she said.
Hartsville just recently became a certified Connected community after improving broadband access, which Moyd explains is another component of downtown revitalization especially important to bringing the theater up to date.
"We have to add a little bit of technology to it where you can select your seats online and print your tickets at home or download them to your iPhone so it really kind of blends the technology with the historic aspect of our downtown," she said.
New residential development is also in the works for Hartsville.
A developer, Gray Segars, is looking to develop 12 acres of land near 14th and Power Streets, said Brenda Kelley, senior planner for Hartsville.
Right now, the land is covered in trees, so the developer will have to clear the property and add all the necessary infrastructure such as water, sewage sidewalks and a retention pond. There is no start date set for construction yet because the developer will have to make those improvements before getting final approval from the planning commission.
The neighborhood will eventually be called Saddlewood and it will have at least 18 single-family homes, Kelley said.