If you’ve driven by the Riverbend Village site in northwest Charlotte recently, you’ve probably noticed it doesn’t look like construction will be done within a year, as was the original plan.
Behind the holdup? Permitting and road improvements, according to Simpson Commercial and Landmark Development Partners, the two firms building the project.
“We are excited to be out there. I know the residents are probably not seeing much machinery moving, but everything is still very much on track,” said Lauten Crow, a principle at Simpson.
When construction began on the massive mixed-use development at Brookshire Boulevard and Mount Holly-Huntersville Road, the builders hadn’t known that Corning Optical Communications would be a major tenant, the builders say. The plan had been to open the development in summer 2018.
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Corning Optical, a division of New York-based Corning Inc., announced in June 2016 that it had selected the spot at Riverbend for a new $38 million, 182,500 square-foot headquarters. The fiber-optic cable maker said it would be relocating offices there from Hickory. The new office will employ up to 650 workers, Corning says. The manufacturing plant will remain in Hickory.
“We are nearing the end of the permitting process, and once that’s complete, we expect construction to begin shortly thereafter,” Corning said in a statement. The headquarters will include a six-story building, walking trails and Corning’s cabling for an all fiber network.
To have such a large tenant on the site required major upgrades to the surrounding roads, including widening Mount Holly-Huntersville Road and creating a feature called a continuous flow intersection, which is supposed to improve the movement of traffic through the area.
Such major road improvements mean a lot of permitting, which has been done in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the builders say.
“It’s certainly nothing sexy. There are so many moving parts related to permitting,” Crow said.
The Riverbend development will also include a 78,000 square-foot Harris Teeter, more than 500 residences and 330,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. Several tenants, including Firehouse Subs and Dunkin’ Donuts, have already been signed.