In 2021, Anderson city council stamped its mark of approval, just four months apart, on two of the largest annexations in the city's recent history.
These annexations, along with two others, are planned to cover over 700 acres and bring around 1,300 houses.
Though these developments are in their early stages with no houses popping up yet, that could eventually increase the city population by 10% with around 3,000 new residents.
On top of those planned residential developments, the city's largest brewery and hotel opened this year.
"There's a lot going on right now," said the city's planning director Maurice McKenzie. "We are experiencing extremely significant growth patterns, ones we haven't seen around here in a very long time."
Magnetic South Brewing opens as city's biggest brewery
It's proved to be a family-friendly brewery complete with Skee-ball and claw machines, said Adam "Cuzzin" Willier, a former brewer with Thomas Creek Brewery and one of the trio of owners of Magnetic South Brewing.
"We're just overall surprised," he said of the months-old brewery. "We have regulars that come in, not that we didn't expect that, but shockingly slammed busy."
With the bustle, the brewery decided to stay open for another day and on Wednesdays food trucks park on the side.
For the first couple months of being open, red dirt lined the front as construction of the green space was still underway. That didn't stop people from coming in and recently the brewery finally got to put tables and yard games out on the new grass.
The green space is close to being finished with a few final touches left including a fountain.
Their Detroit-style pizzas have been the top seller since they opened while their popular beers rotate frequently. The brewery has yet to have the same beer on the board twice, which helps them keep something new for everyone, he said.
Paul Cain, the oldest of the three owners at 38, had family at the forefront for the brewery. He has two kids under three years old and wanted the brewery to be a welcoming place for all ages.
"Its more of a community place for people to come and have a good time, then it is just about drinking alcohol," Cain said.
Despite delays brought on by COVID and supply chain shortages, the brewery opened in late September and has been busy since, he said.
Home2 Suites by Hilton opens as city's biggest hotel
Since the Home2 Suites by Hilton opened in downtown Anderson in September, general manager Tracy Brain has seen guests staying for Clemson football games, weddings, memorials, and everything in between.
Anderson locals frequent the hotel's lobby and staff members enjoy showing people what the hotel offers, Brain said.
The new hotel is not the downtown's first, as Bleckley Inn has been around for 10 years, but it is the largest with 87 rooms.
The hotel is operated by Paragon Hotel Company and the general contractors for the build were Van Winkle Construction.
School District 5 expanding to downtown building
A summer purchase of two former bank buildings will allow Anderson County School District 5 to expand its operations downtown.
The $875,000 deal included the former First Citizens Bank at the corner of North Main and East Whitner, as well as the former First Commercial Bank that First Citizens bought out.
District employees should be in the First Citizens building next spring, spokesman Kyle Newton said.
The other building is in a state of disrepair and will be demolished, he added. The school board approved $3,501,833 to renovate, demolish and rebuild the pair of former banks.
The district office on Pearman Dairy Road will remain in use, Newton said, though some of the temporary buildings in the back parking lot will come down as employees in those offices have room inside the main building.
"It's a good opportunity for us to be downtown. For us, it's centrally located because you can go north to Midway or out toward the lake to go toward McLees. Student services and human resources will maintain all their offices on Pearman Dairy Road."
323 acre annexation near U.S. 29 Bypass and Williamston Rd. to bring 620 homes
Anderson city council officials voted unanimously in July to annex hundreds of acres for a development of up to 620 homes.
It’s the largest development in recent history, said McKenzie, the city's planning director.
The council approved the annexation of 323 acres at U.S 29 Bypass and Williamston Road, at Plantation Road, about a half-mile from the Independent Mail building.
More on the annexation: Anderson city council approves one of the largest housing developments in local history
The applicants/developers are E&H Properties out of Greenville, McKenzie said.
203 acre annexation on city's southeast side will add 150 homes, 275 townhomes
Around 203 acres off East River Street and Belton Highway will be annexed into the city of Anderson after getting final from Anderson City Council in November.
McKenzie said the plan includes 150 single-family lots and 275 attached units. The attached units will consist of clusters of town houses with a maximum of eight per block of buildings, McKenzie said.
The property is currently in Anderson County and will be annexed into the city, making it one of the largest developments to ever come to the city, he said.
The annexation went before the planning commission first, then through two readings at city council. The next step would be submission of a preliminary plat that goes back to the planning commission, and then construction will be authorized to begin.
The developer for this project is Liberty Communities, LLC, McKenzie said.
Anderson's overlooked southeast side: Community reacts to hundreds of new homes coming
131 acre annex off Harriett Circle and Crestview Rd will bring 450 homes
In January, city council unanimously voted to annex 131 acres off Harriett Circle and Crestview Road.
The first phase of four, grading the property, has begun with a goal to add 450 homes. The development is for mostly single-family homes but there is potential for townhouses.
The houses will range from 1,500-3,500 sq. ft. and the town homes between 1,000-2,400 sq. ft.
Steve Timmons is the developer for this project, McKenzie said.
50 acre annex near Midway, Crestview Road will add around 150 homes
The annexation of 50 acres near Midway and Crestview Road will bring a maximum of 159 family homes ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 square feet.
The developer of the property told the planning commission at its June 1 meeting the buildout should be completed by 2025.
This annexation did not pass through the first reading unanimously as two council members did not vote yes. Several area residents had concerns about the development, which ranged from traffic to more students in the local schools.
At the second reading, the main topic of discussion was requiring more green space and more traffic improvement measures, such as adding a deceleration lane to Midway Road for easy access into the development.
Former city council member Don Chapman did not vote yes because of the delay of intersection construction, but it passed with a 7-1 approval.
Looking to the future
Annexation is a great tool to predict what's coming but hasn't happened yet, McKenzie said. Schools and businesses know the growth is coming further down the road and can prepare now, he said.
City council has been prepared for this and though it seems rapid, it is planned, McKenzie said of the growth.
Areas that aren't used to seeing development like the Southside are now added in the growing plans. For him, peeking over the horizon at the future of Anderson is bright.
Sarah Sheridan is the community reporter in Anderson. She'd appreciate your help telling important stories; reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @saralinasher.
This article originally appeared on Anderson Independent Mail: Anderson SC adds homes, brewery, hotel, courthouse in 2021