Mount Pleasant works to control growth, despite development

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - An area rapidly developing with new homes, wider highway, and now a new $40 million project for apartments, retail, and restaurant space. Officials broke ground on Gregorie Ferry Landing near the corner of Highway 17 and Porcher's Bluff Road. Despite the development, town officials are also focused on keeping growth under control.

"All of Mount Pleasant is growing. We're the fourth largest municipality. We're going to continue to grow, but not too fast mind you," Mayor Billy Swails said.

As traffic and development rolls in east of the Cooper, Mayor Swails says the town is welcoming proposed projects like Gregorie Ferry Landing. Officials broke ground on the 23-acre mixed use development in northern Mount Pleasant, which will include apartments, restaurants, retail, and offices, where people can live, eat, shop, and work.

Even though a new hospital, the ongoing widening of Highway 17, and groundbreaking on this new planned development all in this part of Mount Pleasant seems to be rapid development, Mayor Swails says projects like this one will help keep control of the growth.

"We're controlling it by the way we plan it, where we have the retail, and the residential mixed together. Then you'll have less traffic on the highway," Mayor Swails said.

Town leaders call mixed use apartment complexes the wave of the future and another similar apartment development is currently being worked on off Coleman Boulevard, which Mayor Swails says he expects will break ground in the near future.

Land developer Tony Berry, who studied the area before helping develop the Gregorie project says the need for apartment rentals is up, with 90% occupancy of apartments in the area.

"With the financial markets being in an uproar, there have not been any new projects to speak of built. We feel like our timing is pretty good. Mount Pleasant is still growing and there definitely is a need for more apartments," Berry said.

The mayor says the growth rate of Mount Pleasant is 1%, and he will work to keep it low. Also helping to conserve land in Mount Pleasant is also an active non-profit group, the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy, whose mission is to preserve and protect land and natural resources in the area.

The projected completion date of the Gregorie Ferry Landing is late 2012. The project also includes construction of sweet grass basket stands along Highway 17.

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