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Charlotte Chamber to renovate uptown HQ; Amelie’s moves out

The Charlotte Chamber plans to extensively renovate its uptown headquarters, changes that will modernize a prominent South Tryon Street building but have caused Amelie’s French Bakery to move out.

The 330 S. Tryon St. site will be called the Charlotte Chamber Building after the renovations. The economic development and business advocacy group has occupied that building for 20 years.

The project, which follows the chamber’s renewal of its lease, will begin in early December. Work is slated to be finished by April. The chamber has reclaimed the first-floor space it subleased to Amelie’s French Bakery and to the Visitor Info Center, part of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

Amelie’s space now sits empty, and the Visitor Info Center has reopened in the Charlotte Convention Center.

The renovation will feature first-floor glass walls, making the main entrance area and staircase visible from South Tryon Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“This is the front door to the business community and, for many, a front door to Charlotte,” said Charlotte Chamber CEO Bob Morgan. “We’re trying to create a world-class welcome.”

Asked what will happen with Amelie’s, Morgan replied: “We would love to see them stay in the neighborhood and in the center city.”

One of Amelie’s owners, to whom the co-owners referred questions, didn’t respond to messages asking whether the company plans to open a new location uptown. In addition to its flagship NoDa café, Amelie’s also operates stores in Rock Hill and Atlanta.

Morgan said that as the Chamber considered potential new sites, it determined early on that it wanted to stay on South Tryon.

“At the end of the day, the building we’re in is very functional. It gives us a street presence that we’re going to do more with. It’s on a part of Tryon that’s only growing in terms of the energy on the street.”

The changes to the building will leave Grubb Properties, owner of the site, with a two-story, 10,000-square-foot restaurant space for lease. The entrance will be on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“We have a couple of national (restaurant) groups that aren’t in the Charlotte market taking a look at it,” said Jonathan Nance, a senior vice president with the firm. “We feel pretty good that we’ll have something finalized in the near future.”

Grubb Properties purchased the building in April for just over $12.1 million, Mecklenburg County property records show. The previous owners were a group of investors led by Robert Stolz, CEO of Charlotte-based Wurth Group North America and chairman of the Charlotte Airport Commission.

South Tryon Street has seen a boom in construction as the effects of the recession fade. A block away from the chamber building, Spectrum Properties and Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers plan to break ground soon at 300 S. Tryon St. on a 25-story office tower that will be anchored by Babson Capital Management.

Crescent Communities plans a 27-story mixed-use tower at Stonewall and Tryon streets to be called Tryon Place, featuring office space, retail and restaurants. And a 14-story office tower is planned for Morehead and Tryon streets, to be developed by Trinity Capital and Honey Enterprises.

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