John D. Hollingsworth, Jr., the Verdae Master Plan + a new vision for Laurens Road in Greenville, SC

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A future vision of Laurens Road | Renderings by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners

Yesterday, we teased the new vision for the Verdae Master Plan, which calls for the redevelopment of 90 acres in the Laurens Road corridor into “a next-generation district.”
What made this master plan possible? Enter John D. Hollingsworth, Jr. — the businessman + inventor who, after death, left ~$290 million in monetary + real estate assets to his foundation, Hollingsworth Funds, which has joined forces with Verdae Development to bring a new vision for Laurens Road to life.

Let’s look back on some key moments in the life of John D Hollingsworth, Jr. that led to today’s vision:

1917: John Jr. is born in Atlanta, GA and later moves to Greenville, where his grandfather started a mobile textile machinery business in 1894.

1919: His father takes over, and John Jr. begins to help with the business at 10 years old.

1930s: He attends Furman University for one year.

1942: His father dies and John Jr. takes over the mobile textile machinery business (which his father took over from his grandfather in 1919). He calls the business John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels. He goes on to become a world leader in fiber processing equipment, owning patents for various inventions. As he amassed a fortune, John Jr. was known to purchase large amounts of undeveloped land often.

1976: John Jr. establishes the Hollingsworth Funds, a charitable organization with the mission of supporting local organizations + nonprofits.

1994: John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels lands at No. 208 on Forbes’ 500 list of private companies.

2000: John Jr. dies at 83 years old and donates portions of his ~$400 million fortune (including real estate) to Furman University, the YMCA of Greenville, and other local charities through Hollingsworth Funds.

Hollingsworth Funds real estate assets have also been sold + developed into properties like CU-ICAR, The Shops at Greenridge, and the 1,100 acres known as Verdae today. The land that remains in the area will be the focus of the updated master plan.

Learn more about the new vision for Laurens Road by clicking here.

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