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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Proterra in Greenville, City of Greenville, Mauldin Beautifying Roadways, Peace Center Expansion

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Proterra in Greenville

Proterra BusThe making of Greenville SC into a world-class automotive cluster has taken another step forward with the announcement that Proterra, a manufacturer of hybrid electric buses, will set up shop here. They plan on building a $68 million manufacturing plant and research facility at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, starting in the spring of 2010. That should lead to about 1300 jobs over the next seven years with an average wage of about $60,000 per year. The move not only adds to the growing local automotive expertise, but also marks a trend into alternative energy R&D, something that South Carolina has already begun with hydrogen fuel technology at the Savanna River site. Much of the research will focus on developing a long range battery capable of running a large vehicle all day. Proterra's current battery range is about 30 miles with a recharge complete in six to 10 minutes.

City of Greenville - Things to Come
Downtown Greenville SCIn a related move, the City of Greenville has entered into an agreement to purchase the former Hitachi building at 575 Mauldin Road, which could fulfill their agreement to provide Proterra with temporary space. The Hitachi building is located near the CU-ICAR campus and houses 40,000 square feet of office space and 509,000 square feet of shop or warehouse space. The site could also provide the city with a relocation site for the downtown Public Works Operations Center that is in a flood plain adjacent to the new A.J. Whittenberg Academy. Moving the Public Works away from the Reedy River opens up more possibilities for downtown revitalization, which as already been started with the Whittenberg Academy, the Salvation Army Kroc Center and the pedestrian-cycling Swamp Rabbit Trail that runs by them. The City's due diligence on the purchase or the Hitachi building has been extended into March, so we’ll hear more then.

Mauldin Beautifying its Roadways
Just down from the entrance to CU-ICAR on Laurens Road, the City of Mauldin is planning an upgrade to the five-lane arterial with landscape and roadway plans that will make the entrance into the city more pleasing to the eye. They have received $678,000 in federal transportation enhancement funds but are still figuring out how spend it. The four primary target areas are Forrester Drive at the northern end, Murray Drive at the C.F. Sauer plant, between Owens Lane and Sunset Drive near the city center, and at the Highway 276 / State 417 split at the southern end of town. In addition to plants and trees along the road, they plan to bury overhead power lines, create new sidewalks, and install lighting.

Peace Center Expansion

The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Greenville SC has been packed lately with great acts such as the Broadway production "Wicked", bringing in an audience from miles around. The venue has plans to expand the building and create more of a community gathering spot by enlarging the lobby into the front driveway area. A glass fa├žade will give it a modern, inviting look and provide patrons a little more shoulder room between acts. They also plan to add new space to the back of the building for private parties, and create a landscape similar to Falls Park.

Greenville SC Weather
Current Weather
It was nice weather this weekend, but it looks like the cold weather that has settled onto most of the country will stick around for another week. Expect some cold rain on Tuesday with clearing and cold later in the week. Highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s.

Greenville had an unusual taste of winter weather at the end of January. The Peace Center is featured below...
Peace Center