Nexton development team looks ahead

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 8, 2014

Progress is being made on Nexton, the large mixed-use development that will likely transform part of the Summerville region over the next few decades.

The Charleston region is expected to reach 1 million residents by 2027. Growth from the city epicenter is heading inland along Interstate 26, said Brent Gibadlo, real estate development director for MeadWestvaco Community Development and Land Management.

Office space, restaurants and retailers will be within walking distance in Nexton. (Rendering provided by Nexton)
Office space, restaurants and retailers will be within walking distance in Nexton. (Rendering provided by MeadWestvaco Corp.)

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As the Nexton community builds out over the next 30 years, it will include 10,000 homes, 6 million square feet of commercial space, several schools and hotels, and 50 miles of bikes and trails. Roughly 2,000 acres of the 4,500-acre campus will remain green space or wetlands.

Office space, an elementary school and a hotel are under construction currently. Gibaldo expects that Nexton’s mixed-use commercial and retail space will create jobs.

“We really think that this will be a job center for the region,” said Gibadlo to more than 100 attendees at the Greater Summerville & Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce's Power Hour this morning.

The Nexton team wants to build a frontage road for the community at exit 197 off I-26. Berkeley County and the S.C. Department of Transportation are readying a permit to submit to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District for the road. Gibadlo said he expects it to be completed by 2017.

“The road aims to create a new gateway entrance for the Charleston entrance and for the Nexton community in Summerville,” Gibadlo said.

Nexton is being built in seven phases. The first phase includes mainly commercial space, the second is mostly residential, and the third is focused on a “jobs center.” The remaining phases will be mixed-use with a focus on residential.

The 148-acre phase one features 750,000 square feet of office space, including MWV Community Development and Land Management’s 100,000-square-foot building and SCRA’s new 75,000-square-foot office that are both under construction. A Courtyard by Marriott hotel is also under construction. A Residence Inn Marriott, Carolina Ale House and The Parks apartments will also be in Nexton’s first phase.

The phase will include other smaller retailers or boutiques, such as a shipping store and a nail salon, Gibaldo said. The Nexton development team is still seeking a developer for phase one’s retail space before committing to other retailers.

The second phase, coined Brighton Park, will include 675 homes and an elementary school, which is under construction. It is set to open in August 2015. Phase two will also include a 30-acre regional park geared toward youth sports. This will be one of seven large, regional parks throughout the community.

Over time, the community is likely to include two elementary schools, a middle school and possibly a specialty high school, focused on math or science, for example. A conference center with meeting and performance space has also been in discussions. Gibaldo also expects grocery stores and big-box stores to be a part of the community, once houses are being built.

During the planning phase, the Nexton team traveled to study other communities. It drew some of its inspiration from downtown Summerville, Daniel Island and Ion in the Charleston area, and especially from Baxter Village in York County.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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