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Update: Wild Ace owners pursing move to 103 Depot Street

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, December 2, 2013

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Ace Restaurant Group is pursuing a move to property at 103 Depot Street.

Jim Fair

Ace Restaurant Group is pursuing a move to property at 103 Depot Street.



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This parking lot was fenced in by the property owner, two doors down from Wild Ace Pizza & Pub, after contentious meetings with the City Board of Architecture Review.

Jim Fair

This parking lot was fenced in by the property owner, two doors down from Wild Ace Pizza & Pub, after contentious meetings with the City Board of Architecture Review.



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Ace Restaurant Group's Denise VandenBerghe will ask the Board of Zoning Appeals for a parking lot variance at 103 Depot Street.

Jim Fair

Ace Restaurant Group's Denise VandenBerghe will ask the Board of Zoning Appeals for a parking lot variance at 103 Depot Street.

Wild Ace Pizza and Pub is pursuing a move from its Trade Street location to Depot Street as a result of a downtown business owner constructing fencing at two locations that has eliminated over 60 parking spaces.

It appears to be the second business owned by Chris and Denise VandenBerghe to leave Trade Street within the past eight months. Acme General Store abruptly closed on March 20.

Alan Fore, owner of properties at 117 Trade Street (formerly Allen Tate Realtors) and 118/120 Victoria Street (closed Spa at Victoria Street) – had wrought iron fencing installed to prohibit public parking. He told city officials steady traffic was damaging the parking lots and safety issues at Victoria Street were a concern.

Ace Restaurant Group (ARG) closed its Wild Ace Pizza location in Travelers Rest near the North Greenville University campus last March and opened in Spartanburg on W. Main Street in May. Ironically, the Greer and Spartanburg Wild Ace locations formerly housed Justin’s Steakhouse restaurants before it closed both stores.

GreerToday.com has learned Denise VandenBerghe will ask the Board of Zoning Appeals for a parking lot variance for property purchased at 103 Depot Street.

The plan, according to city officials, is for the Ace Restaurant Group to renovate the Depot Street property and receive a parking variance.  Wild Ace customers would also have access to public lots behind Southern Thymes Café and Greer Trading Post, at 219 and 217 Trade Street, respectively.  It has not been determined if ARG would request approval to secure the property at 103 Depot Street with a structure to prohibit parking for non-customers.

Phone calls to VandenBerge the past two weeks have not been returned.

Should Wild Ace leave Trade Street it will deliver a blow to the city and GSA efforts to its continuing vitalization of the central business district. City Council approved $500,000 to Greer Station over the next five years as incentive for residential development in downtown, landscaping and road improvement.

Parking has been a hot-button item for merchants through the years and Fore’s eliminating access to about 70 parking spaces apparently has been the decisive blow for Wild Ace owners move.

VandenBerghe told merchants she cut her lunch shift immediately following the parking lots’ closures and threatened to eliminate lunch service. “Our customers are telling us they only have forty-five minutes for lunch and if they can’t find a parking space they must go elsewhere,” VanderBerge told GreerToday.com earlier this summer.

A 2010 parking study, city officials counting public parking spaces, showed there was ample parking within blocks of central business district merchants. However, it also showed those same merchants and employees commandeered the premium parking spaces.

City Administrator Ed Driggers has directed his staff to produce a current public parking count. “Our study will show the parking trends during three separate times of the day,” Driggers said. “We know lunch is a busy time. We also want to find out where people are parking and what is available during other times.”

The Greer Economic Development Corporation (GDC), which oversees the Greer Station Association, is also conducting an informal parking study asking GSA members to participate in an email survey. The GDC has also messaged merchants to “encourage employees to park remotely so that more immediately parking is available to Greer Station patrons.”

Mayor Rick Danner measures his comments on downtown parking. “We have to be careful to make the difference between perception and reality.”

During one GSA meeting one business owner offered his property for purchase to accommodate more downtown parking. However the location between the railroad tracks on E. Poinsett Street was unfavorable because of liability issues.

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