“South Charlotte offices” might bring to mind images of sprawling office parks surrounded by acres of parking. The developers behind a new office building on Providence Road want to change that.
The building is part of the Waverly mixed-use development under construction just south of Interstate 485. It’s a part of Charlotte long dominated by single-family subdivisions and shopping centers that’s seeing a big influx of new development.
“It really is about offering something different in suburban Charlotte,” said Paul Devine, a partner with Waverly co-developer Childress Klein. The six-story office building’s steel frame is going up now, and the companies expect to complete construction in May. “What we wanted to do here was create a vibrant, urban experience in the suburbs.”
They’re pitching the 154,000 square-foot building – known as “The Hub” – to potential tenants by using the rest of the surrounding development as a major selling point. A Whole Foods is scheduled to open in March, a slew of other restaurants and shops and a Hilton Garden Inn will all be walking distance, as are the recently opened 375-unit Solis Waverly apartments and townhouses and single family houses by David Weekley.
Devine said more companies now are looking for “some place that does have life after 5 o’clock” to set up their offices. That’s seen as key to recruiting employees. “We feel the vibrancy of this setup is going to attract a broad spectrum of folks who want to recruit and retain the most talented,” he said.
Instead of talking about how many minutes it will take workers to drive to nearby amenities, Devine said they’ve measured out how many steps away restaurants such as Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and Viva Chicken will be from the office building’s doors. Everything in the whole development is meant to be a three-minute walk away, or less.
The office building is being marketed at $32.50 per square foot, Devine said. That’s only slightly less than some new office buildings planned uptown, such as 10 Tryon, a nine-story office building and grocery store at Tenth and Tryon streets being marketed at $34 per square foot. Potential tenants could include businesses from startups leasing several thousand feet to Fortune 1000 companies taking multiple floors, Devine said.
Childress Klein and partner Crosland Southeast aren’t the only developers betting big on mixed-use in the suburbs. Across Providence, Lincoln Harris is starting work on Rea Farms, a 194-acre mixed-use project on a defunct golf course that will also include hundreds of residences and up to 650,000 square feet of office space, as well as shops and restaurants. And Crescent Communities is developing Providence Farms adjacent to Waverly, with residences and shops.
Peter B. Pappas, a partner at Crosland Southeast, said going forward with the office building on a speculative basis, with no anchor tenants, was key to create a complete development on the site. Shops and the hotel will draw customers from the office building.
“It’s so important that we move forward with this office building, even as a spec office building, because it is a key component of this experience,” said Pappas, “Not being under construction two years after the retail.”
Crosland Southeast and Childress Klein plan build a second six-story office building near the one under construction. The timing on that project will depend on market conditions.
The office building does include ample parking: 840 spaces in a four-level deck. That might seem like a contradiction in a pedestrian-oriented development, but Devine said room for cars still a necessity.
“You can’t do this without parking,” said Devine. Most workers will likely drive in, and dashing out to a meeting on short notice requires access to a car for most people. But the idea is that within Waverly itself, people won’t drive from place to place.
“Park once, then walk,” said Pappas.