Crescent to break ground on 550-acre Fort Mill development in 2015

Charlotte-based developer Crescent Communities said Wednesday that it plans to break ground in the first quarter of 2015 on a 550-acre community in Fort Mill, S.C. – its first new residential community in the Charlotte area since 2008, when the recession brought many projects to a halt.

“We feel it’s the right time,” said James Martin, vice president of Crescent’s residential group. “The housing market is recovering.”

Fort Mill has seen rapid growth lately, a trend likely to continue next year when two Charlotte companies move their headquarters south of the border. The Lash Group and LPL Financial both said this year that they plan to relocate to Fort Mill and bring new headquarters, a move that’s expected to bring as many as 5,400 jobs.

The new Crescent development, known as Masons Bend, will have about 650 houses, as well as possible multifamily housing. Located along Interstate 77 at Sutton Road, Masons Bend will also include amenities such as a pool and clubhouse, trails, office and retail space. The development also includes a mile of riverfront along the Catawba River, which Martin said will have access for the public.

“We did not want to line up lots as close as we could to the river and close that off,” Martin said.

Phase one of the Masons Bend project will consist of 130 single-family homes going from Sutton Road to the riverfront, Martin said. Crescent is also donating $150,000 to Fort Mill, for the town to build recreational facilities for public use.

Subsequent phases of Masons Bend could include apartments and retail space on the side of the development closest to I-77, Martin said.

“Having a mix of residential products, we think it’s important,” said Martin.

Both Lash and LPL are building their headquarters at Kingsley Village, at S.C. 160 and I-77, one exit north of the Masons Bend location. Clear Springs Development has said it plans to finish the retail and restaurant component of Kingsley Village complex by 2016.

Martin said the addition of more corporate workers will boost the Masons Bend development, as many of those workers will likely want to live near their jobs.

“Fort Mill and upper York County are very popular,” said Martin. “It’s basically an extension of south Charlotte.”

Crescent went through bankruptcy in 2009, during the height of the recession and real estate collapse. The company emerged a year later, and since then has dived heavily into apartment and mixed-use developments. Crescent opened a high-end apartment complex in Durham this week as well as another in September, and opened an apartment complex in Raleigh last month.

In uptown Charlotte, Crescent is planning to start construction on a new mixed-use office tower next year at Tryon and Stonewall Streets. Called Tryon Place, the 27-story tower would occupy the site of the former Goodyear auto repair shop, which closed in October.

Crescent isn’t the only developer diving into new mixed-used projects in the Charlotte region as the economy recovers. Off Providence Road south of Interstate 485, for example, two mixed-use projects are underway across the street from each other. Waverly and a development at the former Charlotte Golf Links course – which has a rezoning hearing early next year – would add hundreds of houses, apartments and more than a million square feet of office, restaurant and retail space to Providence and Ardrey Kell roads.