Beacon Partners launching construction on South End office building

Beacon Partners said Tuesday that it will break ground on a five-story mixed-use office building in South End, hoping to attract companies drawing from the area’s young talent pool of workers.

The new building at 1616 Camden Road, dubbed the 1616 Center, will house 10,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor with 65,000 square feet of office space on the four floors above.

Demolition of two existing buildings at the site will begin this week, with construction on the new building likely starting next week, said Mike Harrell, who oversees Beacon’s office development and acquisitions program. The site sits next to Price’s Chicken Coop.

Harrell hopes the building taps into the area’s demographics, attracting technology companies, engineering firms and other would-be tenants with a young adult workforce.

“We just like the area ... and see a lot of companies wanting to move (there) to take advantage of all the young people moving to the area,” he said.

Plans call for 1616 Center to open by third quarter next year when it will be part of the planned “Rail Trail,” a 3-mile public park connecting several Charlotte neighborhoods.

The steel building fits with the area’s “industrial history,” said David Furman of Centro Cityworks, the architectural firm that designed the center. It will house a visitors’ center, public meeting areas, wide sidewalks and artwork in the lobby.

Camden Road, Furman said, is emerging as the “downtown of South End.” In designing 1616 Center, he envisioned creating an urban office building for tenants with contemporary workers.

One such tenant is Adam Boatsman, founding partner of the Boatsman Gillmore Wagner accounting firm in SouthPark. The first tenant of 1616 Center, he signed a 12,000-square-foot lease.

“We hire five to seven brand new college grads every year, and where do they want to live?” he said. “They want to live (near) uptown.”