Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The company developing Rosewood Crossing on the site of the old Kmart on Devine Street says construction will start in 30 to 60 days.
"The original Kmart was build 1962, 1963," said Michael Trinkley with the Chicora Foundation.
Trinkley has done research on the site and sent letters to Richland County after he says there's evidence grave sites are under the pavement.
"We've identified oral history from African American's in the community talking about the Hampton Plantation burial ground being on this location, being under the parking lot itself," Trinkley said.
Rosewood Crossing will be anchored by three national retailers Marshalls, Michaels and Petsmart along with a number of smaller brands.
Developer Bright Meyers paid Sailors Engineering Associates to do a geotechnical investigation of the site.
In a letter, the firm says "It is possible that some graves could have been under the existing Kmart building and could have been relocated at the time of construction." The letter concludes, "We do not anticipate grave disturbance during construction."
"Our recommendation is a ground penetrating radar study be undertaken to try and determine if there's any indication that there's something still being here," Trinkley said.
The developer points to a retaining wall as evidence of excavation when the original Kmart was built.
Still, after paying for the engineering work on the site, Bright Meyers says "Our excavation will be limited to shallow utilities and footings, are primarily within the areas previously filled, and should not reach original soil elevations. However, we have hired a registered archeologist who will be on site during these excavations as an extra precaution."