Developers propose projects to remake part of downtown Kannapolis

Rendering of Kannapolis demonstration project.
Rendering of Kannapolis demonstration project.

Apartments, shops, restaurants, a hotel: Those could be part of a new mixed-use development revitalizing downtown Kannapolis.

The city of Kannapolis on Monday received proposals from two developers interested in partnering to reshape the area. It’s the next step in a process Kannapolis started last year, when the city paid $8.75 million to buy 46 acres of downtown property from billionaire David Murdock, owner of Dole Foods and funder of the N.C. Research Campus.

The city hopes that it can lure people back to what was once a thriving area powered by thousands of workers at the Pillowtex mill, which closed in 2003. Kannapolis leaders envision new development mixed in with the original brick buildings that still line Main Street and surrounding areas.

The proposals are from Florida-based Lansing Melbourne Group and Neyland Associates, from Knoxville. Under their proposed plans, Kannapolis would sell part of the downtown land to the developers, who would then build a first phase of new development. To stimulate interest, Kannapolis has agreed to pay for a new parking deck at the site of the first phase, between Main Street and West Avenue.

Each is proposing multimillion dollar projects on the four-acre site. Lansing’s proposal calls for 271 residential units, 83,000 square feet of retail space and a 116-room hotel, at a total cost of $60.6 million. Kannapolis would pay $12.6 million for a parking deck. Neyland is proposing 252 residential units and 10,000 to 20,000 square feet of retail, with a city investment in a parking deck of $5.7 million to $6.9 million.

Kannapolis will conduct due diligence and select one of the proposals later this summer.

As part of the redevelopment plans, Kannapolis is also studying how to bring the minor league baseball Intimidators team to a downtown ballpark. The 21-year-old current stadium is currently off Interstate 85 at Lane Street. A downtown stadium with room for 5,760 spectators would cost almost $39 million, according to a study presented Monday to Kannapolis City Council.

Building a downtown stadium is seen as vital to completing the plans.

“With no investment in anchors that drive people to the downtown, the developers would not be inclined to invest at this level in our downtown,” said City Manager Mike Legg.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo