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EARLIER: 2nd mall site ready to move forward

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Trio schedules neighborhood meeting, nearly ready for Triple S

By Todd Martin

The intersection of Buck Creek and Veechdale roads in Simpsonville may continue to get even more crowded as Trio Property Development continues to move forward with its plans for an outlet mall on its east side.

The development group has been in the planning stages with Water Street Development and in discussion with several outlet mall development companies on a 400,000-square-foot retail center facing Buck Creek Road, just south of Interstate 64 and west of the rest area.

The planned development also calls for seven out lots and has the potential to grow beyond its 82-acre lot into a 10-acre area along Buck Creek Road between the development and I-64.

“We’re moving forward, and I think within the next week or so we’ll have even more information,” said Stuart Flowers, the managing partner with Trio.

Bill Bardenwerper, a development attorney with Bardenwerper Talbott & Roberts who has been brought on board with the project, said the group is ready to take its plan to the public.

“We’re scheduling a neighborhood meeting a week from Thursday [on Aug. 16] at  seven p.m. at the Simpsonville Gym,” he said. “We started sending letters out to surrounding property owners today.”

This approach is nearly identical to the route taken by the Horizon Group, which has already submitted plans for an outlet mall to the Triple S Planning Commission. The Horizon plan calls for a 364,000 square-foot retail center directly across Buck Creek Road from Trio’s proposed site. Horizon held a similar meeting in the same location in June and had about 100 residents turn out. Most had questions concerning the traffic impact on the area and how the mall would benefit the surrounding landscape, and almost none of those in attendance were in favor of the project.

Horizon also had about 100 come out to its zone change request last month at the Triple S meeting. Almost all those in attendance were against the zone change, too.

At that zone change request hearing, Horizon asked that 24 acres zoned Agricultural and Commercial be rezoned to Limited Interchange (X-1). The entire Horizon plan is for a 50-acre site with 26 acres already zoned X-1.

At its meeting on Aug. 21, Triple S is expected to make its recommendation to the Simpsonville City Commission.

However, Bardenwerper said he doesn’t expect the Trio property and development plan to be on the agenda until the following meeting, Sept. 18. The group already has missed the deadline for this month’s meeting.

“We anticipate filing the plans and the zone-change request by the end of next week, hopefully before the [neighborhood] meeting,” he said. “Diane Zimmerman [a senior transportation engineer with Jacobs Engineering] is doing our traffic study, and it’s nearly complete.”

Jacobs is the traffic study consultant for Triple S, and she also did the study for the Horizon Group.

“She has assured us that everything is going to be fine with the study,” Bardenwerper said. “And Qk4 [a Louisville-based architecture, engineering and planning firm that is handling the state’s traffic study for already-planned expansion of Buck Creek Road] has our numbers, too. I haven’t seen their study yet, but I was told by Diane [Zimmerman] that the state is planning for both developments.”

Bardenwerper said it is his understanding that the intersection of the Buck Creek and Veechdale roads, which would be moved farther south with the development design of the Horizon Group property, likely would be six lanes wide with dual southbound left turns into the Trio property and dual north-bound turning lanes coming out of the Horizon development.

“We’ll be able to speak more about the traffic concerns at the [neighborhood] meeting in Simpsonville next week when we have the finished project,” he said.

Bardenwerper said Trio and Water Street Development are not ready to announce what outlet mall company they would work with.

“Water Street Development is looking to partner specifically with one or two outlet mall developers, especially one I particular that I’ve been in contact with the most, but they’re not ready to announce that yet,” he said. “But they are still talking.”

Bardenwerper said no matter what Triple S recommends on the Horizon property, the Trio development will not be deterred.

“They may decide or not, but it really doesn’t matter to us,” he said. “It’s not going to affect our work.”

The Trio property also would be required to ask Triple S for a zone change request. About 16 acres of the 82-acre trio development is zoned X-1, which allows for outlet malls specifically in its description. However, the 66 remaining acres are zoned Agricultural and would need to be rezoned for development.