Ending months of speculation surrounding one of Charlotte’s most popular spots, Amelie’s French bakery is finally ready to announce plans for its flagship site.
The decision to walk away from the Villa Heights spot, where Amelie’s started 11 years ago, was not made easily, Long said. “There is a lot of emotion around this building. It’s our home and it’s our heart.” The original location will remain open until the bakery moves.
The owners are not being forced from the Villa Heights location as recent rumors have indicated, Long said. The land listed for sale on the property at 2424 N. Davidson St. does not include the building itself, but rather a gravel lot on the edge of the property closer to Free Range Brewing and another undeveloped spot near the back of the property.
While the Amelie’s building is not included in that sale, The Charlotte Observer previously reported that Max Mazzone, part of the Naples, Fla., real estate investment firm which owns the building, said he wants to find new owners for it. Mazzone said redeveloping the property had always been part of the ownership group’s plan.
However, “this building is not going away at this time,” Long said. “The tenants are not being kicked out. Everyone is so concerned.”
Ensuring a spot in NoDa
“We are announcing (the move) this very early because there’s so much speculation. But people still think our building is being taken away because they saw the site was being changed,” Long said.
Staying in the area is important to the Amelie’s ownership group, Long said.
“Knowing the landlord is selling portions of this, we just want to ensure we are in NoDa, where people loved us and helped us grow and allowed us to give back to the community. We don’t have any intentions of leaving (the area) and we have been able to find a spot that’s not far away.
“In some ways, we’re not really leaving, we’re just moving down the street,” she said.
“We have been in the North Davidson location for almost 11 years and the community has supported us, always pushing us to be better,” owner Bill Lamb said in a statement. “We are thrilled to continue to be part of this neighborhood for many years to come.”
The Amelie’s team is working with its current landlord on a smooth transition, so that it can move from one spot to the next without any break in service.
Expanding NoDa retailers
Amelie’s will be on 36th Street, near the intersection of Tryon Street. The building is about a quarter-mile from NoDa’s “Main Street” intersection of 36th and Davidson streets, and a few minutes’ walk from the 36th Street Station light rail stop. Plenty of parking will also be available, Long said.
The original location occupied 6,800 square feet, and the new space is bigger. Amelie’s has leased 7,800 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot building, leaving plenty of room for other retailers to move in.
Aston Properties, a Charlotte-based commercial development, management and leasing firm, purchased the building, which belonged to Hart Witzen Gallery, and three adjacent parcels this summer.
The bakery’s move will likely wake up a previously sleepy section of NoDa, which was closed off from the rest of the neighborhood for four years amid light rail construction, until it reopened in October. The location will also easily serve residents of Sugaw Creek, the neighborhood directly across 36th Street from the bakery, and visitors traveling along North Tryon Street.
Additionally, Aston is planning improvements to the property, including a new exterior facade, renovated parking and updated landscaping. In addition to leasing the remaining space, the firm is considering development options for the adjacent parcels.
“Amelie’s has an incredible following, and we are absolutely thrilled to welcome them as our first tenant,” George Dewey, president and CEO of Aston Properties, said in a statement.
New building, new features
The space will allow for new features, including an expanded patio. “We have a little patio (in Villa Heights), but we are excited to create an outdoor enclosed urban oasis,” Long said.
Within the new space, the team will also create a more functional event space and will be able to develop an area that will offer more cooking classes and meeting spaces. The space will accommodate both smaller and larger events.
An extra espresso machine will be added, technology will be used to help people get through the line faster and more natural light will be incorporated into the design.
Expect to see work stations, similar to the ones at the Park Road Shopping Center location, with a row of seating designed for laptop work and including plenty of built-in power.
“People are coming at all hours, and all have different reasons,” Long said. “They may come to work, to write, to meet with someone, to enjoy and have a coffee and a pastry.”
The interior will also include more seating, including some booths. Amelie’s interior designer Brenda Ische will put the bakery’s signature touch on the new space, as she has at all of Amelie’s locations (six total; four in Charlotte, one in Rock Hill and one in Atlanta). The iconic blue striped walls will make an appearance. The OG’s famous Mona Lisa with sunglasses will move into the new place.
The bakery’s menu will stay consistent, including four seasonal menus. Amelie’s is known for its pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads as well as espresso and coffee drinks, and loose-leaf teas.
Perhaps the most important detail from the original location will also remain: The new space will remain open 24/7/365, just like the original.
We’ll see you in the macaron line at 3 a.m.