Like other South Carolina towns, Piedmont lost its mills in 1977 when textile jobs started shipping overseas with the lure of cheap labor. Since then, Piedmont Mill Village has stood abandoned and an eyesore with one of the buildings burning down in 1983.
Along comes a developer who would like to put life back into downtown with a re-development of the downtown area. Subdivisions in the area have met some resistance but most of the residents welcome a downtown re-development.
Since 2000, the Piedmont area has seen more than 30 percent growth per the U.S. Census Bureau. This growth is attributed to the city of Greenville SC growing and residents looking to escape the city moving southward. Greenville SC is only 15 minutes away.
Developers are betting on millennials who are growing up and looking to buy into village life which is more affordable. Village life consists of being able to work, live, shop and be entertained all in the same area reducing the need for driving or commuting.
Many of the mill village’s ten buildings on Main Street changed hands over the years. A Greenville development team is ready to purchase 11.5 acres of riverfront property, which is the former site of the Piedmont Mill One and build 60 townhouses and cottages there. This development will be directly across from the old mill village mercantile store that has another investor restoring it.
Revitalizing of old downtown areas is a theme that seems to be happening in many cities experiencing growth bursts. With the workforce changing to be more tech oriented, these types of jobs can be done just about anywhere. Many studies have been done that report that Millennials live in the city, but they prefer to live in the suburbs, the way their parents and grandparents did.
A new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing shows that with the growth in the economy and job wages over the last two years, Millennials are finally able to financially step out on their own and move to the suburbs where finances allow and buy homes and start families. Gen Y is the largest generation in U.S. history. It is perceived that they will change the face of the housing market once they get in it.
So it maybe a smart investment to take a large run-down area just outside of a major city and turn it into small “villages” in hopes of drawing Millennials out of their parents homes and out of the cities and into the “burbs” where they can be happier.
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