A 5-acre corner lot along Rutland Drive is slated to become a Northside retail hub.
Plans filed with the City of Aiken in March – now approved, according to Planning Director Ryan Bland – illustrate a large commercial development at 1012 Laurens St. N.W., which lies right down the road from Aiken High School.
The plans include a cluster of commercial store footprints: one roughly 10,000 square feet and another nearly 5,000 square feet. The remaining divisions are significantly smaller.
Jim Price, who is helping develop the area, said Dollar Tree and Sprint Foods are prospective tenants.
"I think it'll do really well over there," Price said Wednesday.
WTS of Rutland LLC, registered to a P.O. box in Graniteville, is named as the developer on the submitted site plans.
The plans also depict dozens of parking spots and a drastic rework of the lot's entrances and exits as well as the intersection approach on Rutland Drive.
There's a history of traffic concerns and complaints at that intersection, Bland said.
In all, the prospective development is labelled as the "Rutland Corner Commercial Center." Price said they hope to have the center open by spring 2019.
City Council has been working with WTS of Rutland LLC to address issues and institute improvements at the Rutland Drive-Laurens Street intersection, according to City Council documents dated Aug. 13. The fixes, in total, are estimated to cost $120,000, according to the same documents.
The city-developer partnership will be readdressed at an upcoming City Council meeting, according to City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh.
In the past weeks and days, survey crews and other workers have been in the parcel area. On Wednesday, heavy machinery, cars and workers were on-site.
"Site work is underway right now," Price said, later adding: "We have started."
An approximate 2,600-square-foot house currently sits on the lot. Price said the building should be torn down by the end of next week.
By early Wednesday evening, a large swath of land and trees had been cleared.
In April, the Planning Commission reviewed a rezoning request for the lot, which was submitted by WG Development LLC.
The Planning Commission ultimately recommended rezoning the area, and the rezoning – from residential to general business – was later granted, Bland said.
No one spoke against the request during the Planning Commission's public hearing. Price attended the hearing.
The rezoning application was submitted "to facilitate new commercial development," Planning Commission documents state. The same documents included a plat that featured a retail-use mock-up – the Rutland Corner Commercial Center.
The 5-acre lot is but a smaller portion of a much larger lot that runs farther east along Rutland Drive.
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