Greenville, with a municipal population of 60,709 and a combined statistical area population of 1,438,550, is the fourth largest municipality and the fastest growing urban area in the state. It is the largest city in the Greenville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the largest MSA in South Carolina.
Greenville is also the largest city in the 10-county region of northwestern South Carolina known as “the Upstate”. The Upstate is the fastest growing region in the state and with its strategic position along Interstate 85, future development and growth prospects are very favorable. Greenville is centrally located along the mega-growth I-85 corridor that connects two of the largest cities in the Southeast, Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. Greenville is easily accessible via air, road and rail and is located 100 miles from the capitol city of Columbia and only 200 miles from the Port City of Charleston.
With more than 250 international firms, the Upstate boasts the highest international investment per capita in the nation and is among the largest export markets in the United States. Greenville is home to such national and international corporations as Fluor and Hubbell Lighting - with BMW and Michelin North America located nearby. Other major industries of commerce in the Upstate include the auto industry which is concentrated mainly along the I-85 corridor near the BMW manufacturing facility, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, private sector and university-based R&D facilities for Michelin, Fuji and General Electric and research centers to support the automotive, life sciences, plastics and photonics industries. Clemson University, BMW, IBM, Microsoft, and Michelin have combined their resources to create the International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), a research park that specializes in the development of automotive technology. The Upstate region was ranked seventh in the nation by site consultants considering the top markets for economic development.
Greenville has gained notoriety in various national publications like CNN Money, which listed Greenville as one of the "Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the U.S." Bloomberg named Greenville the 3rd Strongest Job Market in 2010, voted 2013 Best Towns by Outside Magazine, #1 Overall American Cities of the Future by FDI Magazine and Forbes named Greenville the 13th Best City for Young Professionals. Additionally, the state of South Carolina has been ranked within the top 10 fastest growing states and economies by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The Greenville office market consists of the Central Business District (CBD) and suburban submarkets, which makes up of approximately 25,000,000 total square feet of office space. The CBD continues to be the area of demand for Class A space and comprises approximately 30% of the Greenville office market inventory. The most recent addition to the CBD includes the ONE Greenville, a 385,000 square foot Class-A multi-use project, whose tenants include Certus Bank headquarters, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, Smith Moore Leatherwood, and Clemson University.
The Upstate’s crown jewel is the downtown of Greenville. With wide tree-lined sidewalks, outdoor plazas, art galleries and over 90 restaurants in total with many featuring outdoor seating options, Downtown Greenville offers a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere that has been compared to many European cities. One of downtown's biggest attractions is Falls Park on the Reedy River, featuring two sets of waterfalls. Downtown Greenville has become a favorite destination for Upstate visitors and residents who want to experience a unique variety of dining and shopping experiences unmatched in the region. The other primary retail corridors outside of Main Street consist of Woodruff Road, Augusta Road, Haywood Road, Pelham Road and Laurens Road. Several notable retail announcements include Cabela’s recent revealing that it will open its first South Carolina location and its first location in the Southeast US in spring 2014. The 100,000-square-foot store will become a feature retailer at Magnolia Park, a regional mixed-use project located at the junction of Interstate-385 and Interstate-85 and Woodruff Road. Magnolia Park will be comprised of over 500,000 square feet on its 85 acres, including retail and entertainment icons Costco, Regal Cinemas, Rooms to Go, Toys-R-Us, Babies-R-Us, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and others.
Greenville’s industrial real estate market consists of almost 80 million square feet of space and this sector has seen a significant increase in demand over the past few years. The Upstate market has become a strong warehouse and distribution hub, which will now be anchored by a newly announced inland port. The $25 million center will link two of South Carolina’s biggest engines, the Charleston port and I-85, and will take containers shipped by rail and act as a distribution point to truck and air freight companies. Upstate officials are calling it the biggest economic development news for the region since BMW located here over two decades ago. In addition, a growing manufacturing footprint continues to expand with an aerospace and auto-related sector that leverages Greenville’s strong labor force, superior infrastructure, and critical location to major markets of the Southeast. A pro-growth business environment, the new inland port and strategic position on the I-85 corridor make Greenville an ideal industrial location.