Crescent Communities selling Tryon Place with chefs, high culture

Brian Leary, Crescent’s president of mixed-use and commercial development, addresses the crowd at Crescent’s event Wednesday.
Brian Leary, Crescent’s president of mixed-use and commercial development, addresses the crowd at Crescent’s event Wednesday.

Charlotte-based Crescent Communities is on track to start site work later this year and deliver its Tryon Place office-restaurant-hotel-retail project in 2018, said Brian Leary, Crescent’s president of commercial and mixed-use development.

But until that work starts, the company is using the defunct Goodyear auto shop at Tryon and Stonewall Streets to drum up interest and buzz about the site. Art exhibitions and cultural events are scheduled through September at the shop (where I used to get my oil changed), but the plan is still for the overhauled Goodyear to be demolished before too long.

Crescent is planning for Tryon Place to be 27 stories, with 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The development will also include a separate hotel tower.

On Wednesday, Crescent used the Goodyear for its latest event: A discussion with prominent chefs from Charlotte and Atlanta about the local food scene, featuring samples of their dishes and local beers. Noticeably absent was any hard pitch for office tenants – Crescent seems to be following the mantra of “If you make it hip, they will come.”

The company hasn’t announced what restaurants are headed to the development, and Crescent didn’t make an announcement Wednesday. The company has said it’s looking for high-end, “curated, chef-driven restaurants.”

For those of you who are into speculating, Charlotte chefs Bruce Moffett (Barrington’s, Good Food on Montford, Stagioni), Jay Pierce (Rocksalt), Joe Kindred (Kindred in Davidson) and Matthew Krenz (The Asbury at the Dunhill Hotel) were there.

The company is still seeking an anchor tenant for the office tower, which is set to total about 700,000 square feet. An estimated 4,000 workers will use the office tower daily, Crescent said.

Wednesday’s chef panel was the company’s second such event. In April, Crescent held a party at the Goodyear with drums, murals and other funky art to discuss culture and art space in Charlotte. And Crescent is sponsoring an artist-in-residence program at the building through September, featuring different local artists.

The Tryon Place project is part of an explosion of development along Stonewall Street. Nearby, Portman Holdings is building a 19-story tower called 615 South College, adjacent to the Westin Hotel. Crescent also plans to build 450 apartments, two hotels and a Whole Foods at the Stonewall Street light rail station, in a development scheduled for completion in 2017.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo