New businesses, additional jobs coming to downtown Florence

New businesses, additional jobs coming to downtown Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - More investment is coming to downtown Florence, from restaurants and bars to local banks and real estate agencies.

The Kress Corner on Dargan and Evans streets is seeing a lot of the growth, which in turn affects all of downtown.

Florence city officials said people don't just come to downtown because it's the center of the community and for its historic atmosphere. It's also because of what is there, and what is coming.

"We plan on having every single building downtown that is occupy-able occupied, said Ray Reich, the director of Florence Development.

He added downtown development is doing its part in continuing to set Florence apart by transforming the streets and recruiting business.

"It's not the homogenous USA retailers and everything else," Reich said. "It tends to be more of those independently owned, but certainly you want a mix of some of the national chains because what they bring with them is a lot of stability and a lot of experience."

One of the largest real estate companies in Florence may be making its mark next by occupying the Kress Corner.

The nearly 6,000 square-foot empty space is right above Town Hall and the real estate company has done a provisional lease on a the space, even moving their current location from Five Points to join in on the renaissance going on in the downtown area.

The conceptual design and planning is still being worked out and the owner of Remax Florence is waiting on a tenant redevelopment grant from city council.

To help convince people to come who may otherwise not, Florence City Council has given $240,000 for tenant up-fit grants over the past two years.

"The grant helps to more or less subsidize the development because many of these historic buildings, it takes more money to up-fit them than a brand new building," Reich said.

With many things in the works, Reich added that some small business owners are bringing a neighborhood market and a deli to the downtown.

"Of course it was announced that Carolina Bank is moving their headquarters to Irby and Evans in downtown, and also working with someone on another coffee shop," he said.

Downtown Development is hoping the area will be comprised of 80 percent independent retail and restaurants, and 20 percent national chains, specifically with Remax Florence who are also hoping to get accepted for a redevelopment up-fit grant.

"That's the excitement that you want, so yes we want every one of these businesses and spaces to be filled," Reich said.

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