Charlotte’s Salvation Army command will soon move its headquarters to make way for a proposed centralized home for nearly 600 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees.
Leaders of the nonprofit said they are finalizing a deal to purchase a bigger, more modern building south of uptown that will allow them to leave the Atrium Corporate Center by mid May.
The Salvation Army has leased 13,300 square feet in the corporate park for seven years, but was told last year that CMS had acquired the site near Billy Graham Boulevard and Interstate 77 and would not renew leases of current tenants.
Maj. Bobby Lancaster of the Salvation Army said his agency intends to close a deal in mid March to buy the CBS Radio building at 4015 Stuart Andrew Boulevard, which was formerly the home of stations Kiss 95.1 and FM K104.7.
It’s just three-tenths of a mile down the road from the nine-acre Atrium Corporate Center.
The price: $1,085 million for a 13,300 square-feet office and an 1,800 square-foot garage, he said. Another $100,000 will be invested in renovations on the building, he said.
“We’re paying $11,000 a month to lease the building we’re in now, which is throwing money down a hole,” said Lancaster. “At the new site, we’ll be paying $9,000 a month and that’s to own, which gives us something for our trouble.”
CMS officials said Friday that centralizing operations on the Atrium campus sets the stage for reopening several schools that are currently being used as office space.
District officials said they expect up to 575 CMS staff to be relocated to the Atrium campus by the end of 2015. Plans currently do not call for CMS administrative office staff to be moved from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center’s 5th floor.
The Atrium Corporate Center was first was purchased by Mecklenburg County and then acquired by CMS last March as part of a land-swap deal involving the former Education Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in uptown. There are three buildings on site making for a total of 152,000 square feet.
CMS officials said two months of minor renovations are planned to accommodate the district’s transportation group. That work will begin as soon as the Salvation Army has vacated the building it occupies, officials said.
The district offered tenants in the corporate park a chance to stay through the end of their lease, which in the case of the Salvation Army was April 2016. Six other tenants remain on the site, including one with a lease ending May 1, 2019, CMS officials said.
The Salvation Army has actually been looking for a new headquarters site for years, Lancaster said, but couldn’t find the right fit. The CBS building became more affordable after the price came down about $300,000 from an original price of $1.4 million, he said.
Finding a permanent home for the agency is one of two goals Lancaster had before retiring in June.
The other is to finish a third-floor expansion of the 250-bed Salvation Army Center of Hope shelter for women and children, which has been overcrowded for years, hosting up to 400 people a night.
That expansion is underway and will be finished in June, he said. The agency raised $1.4 million in donations to cover the cost of the work.