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Bobbie Schultz, Keller Williams

Bobbie Schultz

Keller Williams


What Makes Greenville, S.C., a Best Place to Live

Great amenities, vibrant economy and focus on authenticity make this city outstanding

The secret of Greenville, SC’s success is simple: balance. Balance between the old and the new. Between growth and quality of life. Between economic vibrancy and day-to-day livability.

As one of’s Best Places to Live, this energetic city has much working in its favor, from an enviable location in the booming Charlotte-Atlanta corridor and a welcoming cultural mix of urban sophistication and traditional Southern charm, to its talented young workforce and diversified economy.

“It’s all about getting the balance right,” says Knox White, a Greenville native who has served as mayor since 1995 and overseen the city’s emergence as one of the nation’s most saluted places to live. “You want a robust local economy that creates jobs and opportunities, but at the same time, you need to balance growth with a strong quality of life – you want to have a place people love, lots of activities, lots of green space, a lot of attention paid to walkability.”

Reviving Main Street

Like many cities, Greenville experienced difficulties in the 1970s as the local textile economy faltered, and the downtown core was becoming deserted. Unlike many cities, though, Greenville got on top of the situation quickly, becoming one of the first to revitalize its downtown – it was an early Great American Main Street community – and actively working to diversify its economic base.

“When I came along 20 years later, my job was to jump-start the downtown with mixed-use development, making sure we had not just office, but also residential and retail – whatever it took,” White says. “We had success. Today, we have a strong 3,000 to 4,000 person residential sector, and downtown activity almost 24/7. It’s the place everyone in the area wants to go.”

Many Amenities

Greenville offers a wonderful variety of amenities, from first-class museums and other cultural opportunities to a very active restaurant scene, hiking and biking trails, music of all kinds, and award-winning parks and green space. The biggest achievement, the “center of gravity” of the changes in downtown Greenville is the reclamation of the city’s riverfront.
For many years, a bridge and highway had covered a magnificent 40-foot waterfall in the middle of downtown. After much controversy and compromise, “the perfectly good bridge” as it was known was torn down to unveil an urban jewel, now the centerpiece of Falls Park (2005) and a spur to re-energize the entire riverfront into a favorite spot for living, dining, entertainment and shopping. 

These attractive amenities complement an array of housing options, from million-dollar riverfront condos to affordable housing, an important city focus. A highly ranked consolidated public school system includes both city and county students, and is enriched by a number of colleges and universities, among them Furman University and Clemson University’s four-year school of medicine.

Focus on Authenticity

Looking ahead, White says Greenville’s challenge is to “focus is on authenticity, to keep what gives us our unique personality.”
Expanding green space even further is a priority as is additional attention to the river, including a 100-acre park in the works that will help provide new opportunities to grow the river corridor.

“Any river gives your community a certain uniqueness and character, and we want to preserve that,” White says. “Being on I-85 between Atlanta and Charlotte, we are going to grow. So the key is growing the right way.”





Greenville Makes Top 10 for Low Cost Cities - Retire to a Good Life for Less

Greenville, S.C.: Big-City Buzz Meets Southern Ease

Population: 628,600
Median home price:
Median mortgage payment:
Median property tax:
State tax on Social Security:
State tax on pensions:

Great eating: Munch on a petit pain for 65 cents at Legrand Bakery.

Catch a game: For $7, watch the Greenville Drive, a Boston Red Sox affiliate, at Fluor Field. On Thursdays, beer costs a buck.

Favorite freebies: Parking on Main Street, trolley rides, downtown Wi-Fi and admission to the Greenville County Museum of Art

As Caren and John Maietta sized up retirement, they knew they'd have to leave their home on New York's pricey Long Island. John, now 60, is disabled, and Caren, 61, was working as a teaching assistant in the local school system and tutoring on the side.

One visit to Greenville clinched their decision; they moved south in 2010, buying a lovely home (five bedrooms, three and a half baths) for half the price of their former place. Though they're not mortgage-free, their monthly payment is less than a quarter of what it was before. Instead of New York's sky-high property taxes, the average here is $753. (Yes, per year.) Their car insurance also fell by half. Gasoline prices are much lower. "Even utilities are cheaper here," Caren says. In New York, the couple spent about $650 a month; in Greenville, "our bills range from $80 to $190."

Those savings enabled her to stop working, and the two live comfortably on savings and disability payments. Still a few years away from collecting Social Security, they are committed to keeping their costs low while living large.

"It's even a little decadent," Caren says. "I play tennis four to five days a week at the Green Valley Country Club. It costs $150 a month for a family sports membership, which includes social events, the pool and tennis facilities."

by Sarah Mahoney, AARP The Magazine, October/November 2013




An article in the lifestyle section of Sunday's Boston Globe spotlights the city of Greenville, describing three days of dining and downtown highlights.


Diane Daniel's article introduces the city, saying: "This city of 62,000 halfway between Charlotte and Atlanta took a huge hit when its bustling textile manufacturing industry moved overseas in the 1960s. A decade later, then-Mayor Max Heller, a Holocaust refugee from Austria, set about infusing downtown with a European flavor, encouraging foot traffic, shops, and sidewalk cafes. The revitalization started in the 1980s with the construction of a Hyatt Regency and hasn’t stopped since. In fact, the Hyatt just underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation.


"Today visitors will encounter a bustling center with scores of shops and restaurants and anchored by a stunning waterfall park. Meanwhile, global employers BMW and Michelin have attracted thousands of workers to the area, while Tour de France veteran George Hincapie has lured a growing community of cyclists to his adopted hometown to play in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains."


Highlights in the article include Greenville History Tours, the museums at Heritage Green, Falls Park, Michelin on Main, Pedal Chic, the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the Christopher Park Gallery, the West Greenville arts district, The Handlebar, Horizon Records, Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery, Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library and Fluor Field -- a replica of Boston's Fenway Park.

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