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Construction starts on biggest private project at BullStreet so far

Construction is underway on the largest private development project to date at BullStreet — the $30 million, 196-unit Merrill Gardens senior living complex.

The site is being prepped for construction, which should begin mid-summer, said developer Clayton Mozingo of the Charleston-based Second 50 Communities.

At 130,000 square feet, it outpaces the three-story, 105,000-square-foot First Base Building, which is incorporated into the $37 million Spirit Communication Park, home of the minor league baseball Columbia Fireflies.

"This is the largest third-party project at BullStreet so far," said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corp. of Greenville, which serves as master developer of the sprawling 181-acre former S.C. State Hospital campus.

The development, open to residents 55 and older, is a joint venture of Merrill Gardens and Pillar Properties of Seattle, Wash., and Mozingo’s Second 50 Communities of Charleston. The companies also are developing Merrill Gardens at Carolina Park in Mount Pleasant.

The project is being built on 2.66 acres of property at Freed and Gregg streets, which the partners purchased for $3.25 million, county records show. It should be finished in the last quarter of 2019, Mozingo said.

The complex will provide upscale, three-tiered senior living: independent senior living, assisted living and memory care, he said.

“Our concept is connected senior care,” Mozingo said.

The complex will feature such amenities as rooftop terraces and gardens, spas and fitness centers.

“We are providing the amenities that residents are looking for but the market is not providing,” Mozingo said.

It is the second residential development going up at BullStreet. The Terranova group of Greenville is building 28 luxury town homes along Calhoun Street.

BullStreet is considered the biggest land deal in modern Columbia history. It is zoned for 3.3 million square feet of commercial space, which is roughly the size of Greenville’s central business district.

Merrill Gardens at BullStreet will be located near the third-base line of the mostly taxpayer-funded ballpark. It also will be across the street from a 20-acre city park along Smith Branch creek that bisects the campus.

Mozingo said those two amenities make the location ideal for seniors.

“Seniors are the No. 1 purchasers of minor league baseball tickets,” he said. “You don’t get many opportunities to build on a 20-acre park and connect it to a ballpark.”

Merrill Gardens currently has 28 operating communities in six states with five new communities under development, including Merrill Gardens in Mount Pleasant.

The company’s website is www.merrillgardens.com.

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