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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Peace Center's Project Amp

Sep 14, 2022 03:34PM ● By David Dykes

Local Music Scene Set to Soar

(Pictured: Coach Music Factory entrance. Image credit: Peace Center.)

The Peace Center on Sept. 13, 2022, announced a major renovation project designed to diversify Greenville’s live music scene. 

Dubbed AMP (A Music Project), the Peace Center plans to repurpose three buildings on its campus for a flat floor music club, an intimate listening room, a podcast and recording studio, and artist dorm.

Peace Center officials said AMP is an important progression in fulfilling the performing arts center's central vision to build the local music scene, create connections, and expand the reach of the performing arts in the South.

Said Peace Center President and CEO Megan Riegel: “AMP is the Peace Center’s answer to the Upstate’s hunger for more live music. By repurposing existing real estate assets on our campus into mission-centric music venues, we will broaden the Peace Center’s scope of live entertainment offerings and allow more people than ever before to experience the arts.”

Peace Center officials said that once complete, the project will effectively achieve their longstanding goal of realizing a fully-functioning, 10-venue arts and entertainment campus by or before 2030.

The estimated cost of the project is $36 million.

The project elements are:

Coach Music Factory

The historic Roe Coach Factory flanking the east side of the Peace Amphitheater will be repurposed into a flat floor music club. Featuring a broad diversity of musical genres, such as rock, jazz, techno, country, pop, R&B, and electronic dance, the Coach Music Factory will have a club vibe to satisfy those who want to experience music while dancing in a fun, casual environment. 

Similar comparisons are The Orange Peel in Asheville, the Fillmore in Charlotte, and the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.

The three-tiered club will feature a patio, an outdoor balcony off the second floor, and bars on each level. A visually attractive entrance with glass walls will be accessed from Graham Plaza between the Coach Music Factory and Gunter Theatre. Maximum capacity is estimated at 1,300.

The Mockingbird

Named as a nod to Nashville’s famed Bluebird Café, The Mockingbird will be a listening room situated inside the historic Gullick and Markley buildings on Main Street next to the Gunter Theatre. 

With capacity estimated at 250, the casual, intimate setting will create a space for artists and their audiences to closely connect. The venue will feature a bar, with hardwood and tile floors, tin ceilings and a lounge. A particularly unique feature will be a glass wall behind the stage where artists perform. This will provide a visually interesting “window” for audiences as well as passersby walking down Main Street, Peace Center officials said.

Artist Dorm

The space directly above The Mockingbird will become a modern, three-bedroom suite for the use of artists performing at any Peace Center venue. The artist dorm will accommodate performers who want a bit of privacy from their public life on the road or simply a convenient place to stay before or after their gig. 

The fully furnished, three-bed/3.5-bath suite will feature a common living area and kitchen, with views of Main Street and the Reedy River. 

The Studio

The space next to the artist dorms will be turned into a professional podcast and recording studio. Managed and operated by the Peace Center, the studio will be available for booking by artists in need of professional recording, mixing, editing and related audio services. It also provides the Peace Center opportunities to produce original content. 

The Wyche Riverwalk and Gardens

A final element of the AMP project is to elevate the Wyche outdoor event space with a distinctive urban design. 

Using natural foliage and re-routing pathways leading to and from the open-air structure, the Wyche will take new root in a garden-like setting. 

Designed to complement nearby Falls Park, patio gardens will be situated on either end of the building with a riverwalk overlooking the banks of the Reedy River. ADA-compliant semi-circular paths will provide access into either side of the building with subtle landscape lighting illuminating the way.

Building designs for AMP were developed by local Greenville architectural firm Craig, Gaulden, Davis (CGD) with landscape design from the local office of MKSK. CGD designed the original Peace Center campus that opened in 1990 and has extensive renovation design experience with historic buildings.

Construction is expected to begin in February 2023 and is estimated for completion in late 2024.

Great Southern Homes to Become a Public Company

Great Southern Homes, Inc. said it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with DiamondHead Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: DHHC), a special purpose acquisition company.

Upon the transaction’s closing, GSH will become a publicly traded company, and DiamondHead Holdings Corp. will be renamed United Homes Group, Inc.

DiamondHead is expected to remain listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market and is expected to trade under the new ticker symbol “UHG.”

GSH is one of the largest homebuilders in the Southeast. The company builds homes in South Carolina and Georgia, focusing on the entry level and first time move up home buyer segments.

Through organic growth, GSH has become the 25th ranked starter-home builder and the 41st ranked single-family detached home builder in the United States, respectively, based on 2021 home closings according to Pro Builder’s 2022 Housing Giants Report.

The transaction values the combined company at a pro forma enterprise value of approximately $572 million, as of Dec. 31, 2022. The board of directors of GSH and DHHC have approved the transaction. 

As part of the transaction, all of GSH’s existing shareholders will roll 100 percent of their shares into shares of the combined company and, assuming no redemptions from DHHC public shareholders, will hold approximately 51 percent of the shares of the combined company on closing.

Greenville Chamber Celebrates 10 Years of Minority Business Accelerator

The Greenville Chamber hosted the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) Tenth Anniversary Celebration, presented by Bank of America, at the Peace Center’s Huguenot Loft Sept. 8, 2022, in honor of the program’s 10th anniversary.

Since the MBA’s creation in 2012, the program has supported high-potential minority-owned firms and helped them grow and scale their businesses by providing targeted training, access to business coaches, and access to large corporations.

Throughout the evening’s 10th anniversary celebration, MBA program alumni shared the transformative impact of the program on their businesses. Local business owners and fellow program alumni, James Jordon and Ebony Sullivan, served as emcees for the evening. 

“While the Minority Business Accelerator is most definitely about financial improvement, the true gems of the program were the elevating of my knowledge base, the cultivation of my skill set, and the connections I made with some of the most brilliant minds in the Upstate,” said Sullivan.

The Minority Business Accelerator was created in 2012 with a vision of helping more segments of the community grow and develop new business opportunities to better position Greenville as one of the world's premier business communities.

Over the past 10 years, more than 120 participants have graduated from the program. The MBA has created 250 new full-time jobs and generated a combined $26 million in new revenue.

“We commend the visionary leadership exhibited by the Chamber, Board leadership and business community ten years ago,” said Carlos Phillips, Greenville Chamber president and CEO. “I would especially like to thank former Chamber President, Ben Haskew, 2012 Board Chair, Mike Riordan, as well as Nika White, Senior Advisor to the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Economic Inclusion Initiative.

"The foresight they displayed then has shaped our region into one of the best places to start and grow a business.”

Headlining the anniversary celebration event was featured speaker, Jewel Burks Solomon, an Atlanta-based entrepreneur and speaker, most well-known for co-founding Partpic, which was acquired by Amazon in 2016. 

Stacy Brandon, president, Bank of America Upstate South Carolina, also joined the celebration to congratulate MBA program alumni.

In 2021, a $500,000 grant from Bank of America enabled the MBA program to expand to the Midlands and Lowcountry markets, with cohorts now hosted by the Columbia and Charleston Chambers of Commerce.

“Our longstanding partnership with the Greenville Chamber leads the way in supporting minority-owned businesses and creating pathways for their sustainable success,” said Brandon. “Bank of America remains committed to helping advance economic opportunity and racial equity in local communities. Our investment to help expand the MBA program across markets in South Carolina is creating a more prosperous state through inclusive economic development and job creation.”

Recruitment is underway for the 2023 MBA Cohort. Participants undergo intensive training for the first six months then work closely with mentors, coaches and MBA peers on their three-year Strategic Growth Action Plans and implementation of learnings for the last six months.


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TreesUpstate to Reach Milestone of 30,000 Trees Planted, Given Away

On Sept. 23, 2022, local nonprofit TreesUpstate will reach the milestone of 30,000 trees either planted or given away since 2005.

Since inception, TreesUpstate has planted 12,276 trees in schools, neighborhoods, and parks throughout the five-county region of Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg. It has given away 17,621 trees in that same time period.

Of the 30,000 trees, over half are from the Energy Savings Trees Program presented by Duke  Energy.

TreesUpstate and its volunteers have planted and given away 189 different species of trees in the past 17 years, ensuring its officials say that the region remains beautiful, that we have better air quality, and experience less storm water damage and runoff.

The milestone will be reached during a tree giveaway on Sept. 23 between 3 p.m.– 6 p.m. at Furman University that is sponsored by the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD Synnex.

During the giveaway, one unsuspecting local homeowner will receive the 30,000th tree and the opportunity to have TreesUpstate plant the tree for free in her or his yard.

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