A big box store vacant more than a year is about to get a new look and new uses along a busy Beaufort corridor.
The shell of a former Kmart building on Boundary Street in Beaufort is set to undergo extensive changes starting this winter. The 94,000 square-foot building in Beaufort Town Center on Boundary Street will be transformed inside and out to accommodate several new tenants, including a distillery, restaurants with some outdoor seating and specialty stores.
Plans have received final design approval from the city. Construction could begin this winter and businesses ready to move in by the spring, according to a recent newsletter for the shopping center.
New storefronts, interior walls, steel-framed porches and metal awnings will be included in the renovation, plans show. A sidewalk will be widened along the parking lot-side of the building and more parking spaces are planned on the south side of the building off Boundary Street, according to plans.
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RLB Distillery, Cracked Egg and Hank’s Lowcountry She Crab Soup will offer new food and drink options.
Wild Birds Unlimited and Grounded Running are other businesses planning to occupy the space.
Beaufort officials are deciding how to spend $5 million generated by a special tax district for use in the Boundary Street area remaining from a major road project. The money could in part go toward plans for a new parallel road north of Boundary Street officials believe would improve access and spur business.
Numerous Boundary Street businesses have undergone changes since major road work added a median, new lighting and buried utility lines along a key commercial stretch.
The owner of a building vacated by Applebee’s during the road work is meeting with a real estate agent this week and expects to have a new restaurant in place. In the meantime, owner David Burre has cleared trees to open marsh and water views, added a new driveway and is in the process of replacing the roof to appeal to the next tenant.
The building also now boasts access from Robert Smalls Parkway from behind Beaufort Plaza shopping center. Burre declined to cite specific businesses that could lease the space but said a national brand similar to Olive Garden or Longhorn Steakhouse is the goal.
Burre said he spoke his real estate agent and local officials about what people might like that would keep residents from leaving town to eat somewhere else.
“I want to be put somebody in there who’s good for the community,” he said. “I’m not trying to go out and do what I want to do, I’m trying to go make sure whoever I’ve put in there is going to be a success.”