A plan to redevelop a full block near the Blue Line light rail in South End could further the area’s transformation from low-slung, low-density industrial buildings to a second skyline of glass and steel next to uptown.
The development would include a pair of eight-story buildings with apartments, office space, a rooftop park for tenants, shops, and restaurants.
“This is a significant development in South End,” said Colin Brown, an attorney representing the developers at a Monday hearing by Charlotte City Council. He said the developers worked with nearby residents to design a plan featuring retail and public open space that wouldn’t face major opposition. “They wanted something mixed-use. They did not want just another apartment.”
No one spoke against the petition during the hearing, and Charlotte planning staff are recommending City Council approve the plan.
The 3.5-acre block is surrounded by South Tryon, Winona, Winnifred and Bland streets. Low commercial buildings, mostly HD Supply, occupy what’s long been an industrial site. Beacon Partners purchased the site in 2015 for just over $10.1 million.
It’s in a part of South End that’s still seeing big changes. A block away, where Tryon Street and Camden Road split, Dimensional Fund Advisors is building a seven-story headquarters building where the Common Market and Food Truck Friday rally were formerly located. A block away from that, a developer is building a new hotel at Tryon Street and Kingston Avenue. And that’s on top of the thousands of new apartments that have opened nearby in recent years.
Beacon’s plan would include buildings up to 170 feet tall, a major addition to the skyline south of uptown. The project would include a pedestrian courtyard facing Tryon Street, with seating and dining options, totaling at least 7,000 square feet.
Developer and architect David Furman is partnering with Beacon on the project. He’s planning to develop 100 apartments wrapping part of the parking deck on the Winona, Winnifred and Bland street sides. Furman and Beacon worked together on Beacon’s previous office project in South End, 1616 Center, a five-story building with ground-floor retail.
The developers have said they expect the apartments at RailYard to be smaller than typical units, and consequently less expensive. Under those apartments, at the street level, Furman wants to create “commercial incubator spaces” that small businesses can use, adding some ground-floor vibrancy in South End.
“Interest is good” for the office space available on the site, Brown said. If there’s enough tenant interest, the buildings could go up to 10 stories.