Yeargin Potter Smith is a general contractor of choice for a budding city investing in its downtown.
WITH A REPUTATION FOR RELIABILITY, Yeargin Potter Smith has been selected as general contractor for a hefty list of ambitious projects, including the largest residential apartment complex structure on the west end of growing Greenville, South Carolina. On the other side of town, the company is contractor for a unique, 10-building, mixed-use development. “In a way, we’re building bookends – a gateway to both ends of downtown – even though they’re two totally different projects,” Project Manager Bill Connor says.
Building in the company’s home territory, Yeargin Potter Smith is known for staying on time and on budget – and is poised to take advantage of a blossoming southern city, where the number of building permits underway already has surpassed 2014 – a year that saw the most permit applications in the city’s history.
“Greenville is growing tremendously,” Connor says, adding that an uptick in the economy has prompted growth for major employers, such as BMW and Michelin, which have national headquarters in Greenville.
“There are a lot of young engineers here,” Connor says. “It’s a younger market overall. A revitalized downtown and has brought in a lot of people who want to live and work here.”
While other locations are looking for ways to breathe new life into older downtowns, Greenville is ahead of the curve – now hosting officials from other cities who want to emulate what has been done in the South Carolina city.
“It’s a really neat downtown now,” he says. “People want to be here, and they want to live here.”
To accommodate, Yeargin Potter Smith is orchestrating swift construction on two key projects: the Link Apartments West End, a 215-unit apartment complex, and Stone and Main, a 10-structure, mixed-use development.
In a first for the area, the owner – Grubb Properties out of Charlotte, North Carolina – and design team have included two stories of underground parking on the complex. Yeargin Potter Smith broke ground on the project in February and is turning over a floor at a time, starting in spring 2016. The structure encompasses about 240,000 square feet in six stories above the parking garage.
Units range from 600 to 1,600 square feet, a lot of one- and two-bedroom apartments ideal for young workers and empty nesters alike. Most also include a balcony.
“With Link, the size of the building will stand out in the part of town it’s going in,” Connor says. “As far as the building itself, on a concrete podium above the parking garage is a pool and clubhouse center.”
A rooftop terrace also will make the complex distinctive in the market, he says.
“It’s going to be one of the larger apartment complex buildings in the city,” he says.
The first floor is mostly amenity space for tenants – a bike center, leasing office, yoga studio and dog-walk park area on one side of the building. Units will feature granite, higher-end cabinets and luxury vinyl floors.
“They will be very modern-looking, clean-looking with a lot of windows for natural light,” he says.
To stick to time frames and budgets, Connor says the company applies the same techniques that others looked to in slower economic times a few years ago.
“One thing that happened in 2009 and 2010 when the economy took a turn is a lot of people figured out a way to work a lot leaner,” he says. “To differentiate yourself from other contractors, staying on time and budget was critical. Time frames kept getting shortened. Now that the economy is picking up again in construction – the southeast has been growing tremendously – the durations are stretching out a little bit. We did and still do meet deadlines, and we deliver on what we promise.”
The company now is growing and hiring – and maintaining a focus on careful planning for each project.
“We have a lot of coordination and communication in our team – between myself and our people in the field and our subcontractors,” Connor says. “Construction is not perfect; things come up. We do a really good job of addressing issues immediately and coming up with a solution as quickly as we can.”
Stone and Main
Charleston, South Carolina-based The Beach Co., the owner of Stone and Main, selected Yeargin Potter Smith’s efficient approach for what has expanded into a 298-unit, mixed-use development at the crux of two high-traffic locations.
Aside from a four-story garage, the property will have 10 buildings, all three- to fourstories and each unique, essentially a whole block. Nearer to a residential area that fronts some of the buildings are apartments that feature a more cottage-style exterior – to blend smoothly into the area.
Stone and Main also includes about 30,000 square feet of retail space split among three buildings.
Building C, which sits at the corner of two major streets in Greenville – Main Street and Stone Avenue – offers a second-floor clubhouse with a sliding window system. The clubhouse for the pool – central to the buildings and secluded from street traffic – has another clubhouse.
Making a 6-acre site with a variety of simultaneous construction – and 60 to 70 subcontractors and vendors – unfold has been added a layer of complexity to a project begun in December 2014 and set for completion in summer 2016.
“That was difficult,” he says. “We had to get the parking garage done first. It’s in the middle of the site, a pre-cast parking garage. We sequenced it so we are basically working on framing two buildings at once. We are getting a lot done in a short amount of time. It’s a challenge because 5 acres sounds like a lot of room, but right now we’re working on five different buildings at one time, so space can become an issue really quickly.”
Ultimately, it’s that can-do attitude that keeps the company’s work coming.
“I think we’re easy to work with,” Connor says. “We’ve are part of the team from Day 1. We have two very good design teams, two very good owners. We all have a goal of turning this over and making the client happy.”