Winter may have staged a comeback Wednesday, but it's golden shovel season again in Charlotte, as developers broke ground on the newest office building in the fast-growing midtown area.
The Charlotte Regional Realtor Association's new headquarters is expected to be complete in just over a year, behind its current building on Kenilworth Avenue. The 58,000 square-foot, glass-sheathed building will replace the tan brick, mostly windowless building occupied by the CRRA and the Mingle School of Real Estate,
The new building will house the Carolina Multiple Listing Services, the Mingle School and the Housing Opportunity Foundation, which is the association’s charitable group. They'll move in once the new building is finished in March 2019, and the current building will be torn down.
It's the first phase of a large new mixed-use development planned by Pappas Properties.
The association has agreed to sell its holdings to Pappas for a total of $20.1 million. So far, Pappas has already spent $14 million assembling land for the planned mixed-use development around the Realtor association building. Previously approved plans show the development would include about 200 apartments, additional new office space, a hotel with up to 150 rooms, shops, restaurants and changes to Pearl Street Park.
But CEO Peter A. Pappas said at Wednesday's groundbreaking that those plans are still in flux. Now, in the next phase, Pappas is planning to build a 215,000 square-foot office building, shops, restaurants, a parking deck and a full-service hotel, followed by another office building.
Apartments are still possible, but Pappas said his company is responding to strong demand from potential office tenants and changing market conditions. There are more than 600 apartments already under construction across Kenilworth Avenue, in addition to 500 more on Morehead Street which have opened in the past few years.
"It's market-driven," Pappas said of the shifting plans. The full development will take about four years to build. "We've gotten a lot of interest from office users."
The area around the intersection of Kenilworth Avenue and Morehead Street is growing rapidly, poised to add hundreds of new residents. Lincoln at Dilworth, a 379-unit luxury apartment building, is under construction at the intersection, with plans to open in the coming months.
Atrium Health is building a $125 million expansion of the Levine Cancer Institute on the opposite corner. And at Harding Place, 225 more apartments are under construction in a separate development.
The new Realtor association site will be built by general contractor Myers & Chapman, and Little Diversified Architectural Consulting is the architect.
"I've been begging our architectural community to push the envelope on building design," said City Council member Larken Egleston. "I believe this building will do that."