Laurens, South Carolina – Laurens City Council was set to meet for its regular monthly meeting this week, but it also needed a special called meeting last Tuesday to tie up some loose ends on several key issues.
The city will eventually be getting a new stand-alone Starbucks restaurant in the location of the former Gwinn’s Siding after council approved second reading on the annexation of the 914 East Main Street property.
Council member Johnnie Bolt confirmed speculation that the chain was opening a full restaurant there. That property had always been part of a “donut hole” of county properties surrounded by the city.
When the new Laurens Starbucks opens, it will join a Starbucks kiosk at the Laurens Ingles grocery. Starbucks is also served at the Springs Food Court on the Presbyterian College campus.
The called meeting of city council, however, was primarily in order to complete needed business ahead of a scheduled property closing for the future subdivision behind The Ridge at Laurens.
Laurens City Council gave second reading on an amended ordinance that allowed for the final sell of 56.7 acres by the city to SK Builders Inc.
The transaction and planned subdivision was first announced late in 2020 and, at the time, the plans called for 130 lots on 66 acres. This recent amended ordinance became necessary, however, when the developer’s engineers determined that the slope of the land on a portion of the property would be too steep for their purposes, and so the city decreased the total acreage sold to 56.7 acres, for 126 lots.
The city earned $300,000 for the acreage, which had been part of a large tract called Pea Ridge the city purchased in the 1940s.
“This property had remained dormant since 1948,” said Mayor Nathan Senn, prior to the construction of The Ridge at Laurens on a portion of it.
Under former Mayor Sharon Brownlee, council approved The Ridge, which was built as a headquarters for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Accommodations tax funds, reserved for tourism-related projects, is covering the cost of the majority of The Ridge.
Senn said the city has begun discussions on some possible plans for use of the $300,000 earned but council is not yet ready to make any announcements.
Council took up one item of new business at last week’s meeting, and that was to pass first reading on an ordinance to rezone property at 375 Exchange Dr. From R3 to B4.
“That’s the Dominick property,” Senn said, referring to a tract near Aldi which the City of Laurens traded last year for the downtown property of Dominick Motors. “It is bringing the site in line with the surrounding property and formalizing what council agreed to and intended when we approved the exchange of the property.”
Council held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
This story originally ran Page 1 of the Wednesday, Jan. 19 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.