Plans for a major new development in South End could include a mix of office space, shops, restaurants, residences and more, developers said Tuesday, at their first introduction of the new project on South Tryon Street.
And while they were careful to emphasize that the design isn’t settled and lots could still change, Beacon Partners and the design team they’re working with made one thing clear: They don’t plan to build another block-long apartment building on the HD Supply site.
“The idea is to incorporate as many different uses as makes sense,” said architect David Furman, who is working on the project. “It will be something that’s unusual, unique.”
Charlotte-based Beacon hosted a community forum Tuesday night to see what local residents want in the area. And while land use attorney Collin Brown stressed that it won’t be a development designed by the public, he said the meeting provided a valuable way for Beacon to get feedback before it files a formal rezoning request and commits to a site plan.
Beacon plans to file a rezoning petition to change the land use from industrial to a category that will allow mixed-use by late spring. More public hearings will follow, and Charlotte City Council could vote on the plan this fall. Permitting and construction could then start in 2017.
Beacon bought the 3.4-acre site on Tryon between Winona and Bland streets, which includes warehouse facilities and loading docks, last year for $10.1 million. Its current occupant is industrial distributor HD Supply.
Beacon is largely an office developer and operator – they’re building a large office project in Dilworth at 500 East Morehead, for example, and just finished 1616 Center on Camden Road – so the project that they ultimately build will likely feature a large office component. That means a lot of parking, which Furman said will likely be screened behind other uses, such as the office building or residential.
The developers plan to incorporate retail space – something South End residents have been wanting more of – and public space, such as a park, in the development.
“We’re trying to keep it cool, trying to keep it funky,” said Mike Harrell of Beacon. “We’re trying to fit in with the community, and deliver what the market wants.”
David Walters, an urban planner and designer, asked if the development could include something like the semi-hidden interior courtyard at the Common Market nearby. When he asked how many people in the room used that courtyard, which will be demolished to make way for new development, dozens of hands shot up.
Harrell didn’t commit to including such a space, but he said that sort of feedback is helpful to point Beacon in the right direction.
“When I see people raise their hands about who goes to the Common Market, that’s great,” said Harrell.
South End, site of an intense building boom over the past decade, is set to see more changes. Just down the street from HD Supply, Dimensional Fund Advisors and Cousins Properties plan to start construction later this year on a new office building at Tryon Street and Camden Road. That’s the former site of Food Truck Friday and soon-to-be-former site of The Common Market.
At the vacant lot at Tryon Street and Kingston Avenue, a hotel is planned. Beacon wrapped up construction last year on 1616 Center, a five-story office building on Camden Road next to Price’s Chicken Coop. And the new Camden Gallery apartment building is now leasing next door.