In the early 1990s, the Close family saw how suburban sprawl from metropolitan Charlotte, N.C. was creeping south toward the border between the two Carolinas. They began devising a long-term plan to direct the development and use of 7,000 acres of family land around their Upstate South Carolina hometown of Fort Mill. The Clear Springs Plan focused on guiding the sane and graceful expansion of Fort Mill, blending progress and preservation into a balanced community through integration of smart-growth principles, economic development focusing on quality job creation, and environmental stewardship. To implement their plan, the Close Family formed Clear Springs Development in 1997.
The first step of the Clear Springs Plan established the 2,100-acre Anne Springs Close Greenway, a nature preserve with several lakes, a host of community facilities, and 27 miles of hiking, bicycling and horseback riding trails. The Greenway buffers Charlotte’s metropolitan sprawl and provides a centerpiece for the long-term preservation goals of the Clear Springs Plan.
In addition to the Anne Springs Close Greenway, the Clear Springs Plan includes two light industrial parks (MacMillan Park and Bradley Park) and a Class-A office park (Kingsley Park). By recruiting corporate citizens who believe that business, humans and the environment can exist in harmony, these parks have attracted companies such as US Food Service, Northern Tool, Continental Tire, Domtar, and CitiFinancial among others. Tenants have invested over $700 million to support roughly 6,300 jobs.
Baxter Village, Clear Springs' first mixed-use development was started in 1998. It now includes over 1,400 homes and approximately 450,000 square feet of restaurants, shops, offices and civic spaces, all in a pedestrian oriented village with miles of sidewalks and trails and over 500 acres of open space and parks.
A stone’s throw from Kingsley, Interstate I-77 takes commuters and travelers day and night to and from the growing city of Charlotte, N.C. Kingsley’s complement of workplaces, commercial enterprises, hotel and apartments will make the Exit 85/Hwy 160 interchange the most popular place to eat, work, live and stay overnight anywhere near the North Carolina/South Carolina state line.