Industrial site in South End to become office space for small businesses

A rendering of the adaptive reuse project at 224 West Tremont Ave.
A rendering of the adaptive reuse project at 224 West Tremont Ave. Courtesy of Trinity Partners

A pair of industrial buildings in South End are getting new life as office space, as companies start to move into an area that was once mostly warehouses.

Boulevard Real Estate Advisors, a Charlotte-based developer, announced plans Wednesday to turn a site once home to businesses like Carolina Foundry into 15,000 square feet of office space for smaller tenants. The adaptive reuse project, at 224 West Tremont Ave., is across from The Common Market, Bang Bang Burgers and Zeppelin, a restaurant and cocktail bar.

Boulevard plans to keep the walls, but redo the inside of the buildings. They expect to break ground on the project in May.

The project is part of a shift in South End, a neighborhood that was largely apartments and retail until recently. According to a report from real estate services firm JLL, just under 600,000 square feet of office space is under development in South End and midtown.

Last week, LendingTree announced it will move into one of a pair of office towers underway on South Tryon Street at Carson Boulevard. Ernst and Young also plans to open an innovation and technology center in the nearby RailYard project, which will bring almost 300,000 square feet of office space to the area.

And the latest project is part of a trend toward adapting former industrial facilities into creative office space. At Optimist Hall, a former pantyhose factory at Parkwood Avenue and 16th Street, Duke Energy recently opened an innovation center, and Ally Bank opened a similar facility at the Camp North End project, a redevelopment in Druid Hills off Statesville Avenue.

But Boulevard said its project is geared toward small and medium-sized businesses, rather than large corporations.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for the entrepreneurial ventures that pioneered South End to remain in the neighborhood and continue to generate the vibe that makes this area unique,” Chris Branch, principal of Boulevard, said in a press release.

Trinity Partners, a commercial real estate firm, is in charge of leasing the office space, which is expected to be complete at the end of the year. The two buildings, which will be connected by a lobby, are designed to accommodate up to seven tenants, with spaces ranging from 2,000 square feet to 9,400 square feet.

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Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.