Housing, retail, dining coming to three-story building in Florence

Housing, retail, dining coming to three-story building in Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Kress Corner project at the intersection of Dargan and Evans streets in downtown Florence is something that's been in the works the past three years.

Finally, the building is taking shape.

Ken Ard, an investor behind the three-story building, said having everything at one location is exactly what downtown needs.

"I do believe a city center is important to the prosperity of a community and I think this is what we're doing in downtown Florence," Ard said.

The $12 million project solves three issues downtown Florence has been facing for a long time: room for more restaurants; retail ready space; and housing.

"When you recruit businesses from pretty cool places to live, you want to have pretty cool offerings and opportunities. And that just wasn't the case here," Ard said. "So when we started looking around for where to do a project and invest time and money, downtown was what I thought was critical to the advancement of the community."

Now, for the first time ever, downtown will see 14 apartments fill the second and third floors, leasing from $800 to $1,200 a month.

Additionally, a brand new farm-to-table restaurant called Town Hall, which will have a southern fusion menu taking after larger cities, will be on the first floor.

"I think culinary and entertainment is something that has been a driving force in Greenville, Charleston, and other successful places, so why not here?" Ard said.

Downtown Florence Development Manager Ray Reich agrees, adding this is the largest private investment downtown has seen yet.

"A real important part of downtown revitalization is creating living downtown, because that not only gives night time vibrancy to the streets, but also helps support the restaurants and retailers," said Reich. "So we're just real excited about it."

A rooftop bar is also in the works. The apartments have full access to it and will be above the restaurant. The entire property will keep the historical integrity of the building and the architects are recreating it to give a 1900s feel.

"Being a bit of a catalyst to further develop our downtown is exciting to be a part of," says Ard.

The construction is running behind because of weather, but apartments are currently leasing for move-in this summer. The first to open will be the Town Hall restaurant this April.

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