What's In Store

Amelie’s likely to move from original location amid landlord legal disputes

Bakery products line the shelves at the original Amelie’s location.
Bakery products line the shelves at the original Amelie’s location. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Amelie’s, the French bakery known for its quirky decorations and salted caramel brownies, is likely moving from its original spot on North Davidson Street.

The bakery has added five other locations in the decade since it first opened near NoDa. Its original location operates 24/7.

Owners of the squat brick building, which houses the bakery and several other small businesses, are entangled in a legal dispute, and at least one owner wants to sell the property.

Amelie’s won’t say where or when it’s moving yet. But marketing manager Joannah Long told the Observer the bakery and cafe will remain somewhere in the area.

Part of the site, which is in Villa Heights, already is for sale. Real estate brokerage firm CBRE last week listed two parcels adjacent to the Amelie’s building. The Amelie’s building is not included in that sale, but Max Mazzone, part of the Naples, Fla., real estate investment firm that owns the building, said he wants to find new owners for it.

The ownership structure of the landlord group is a little complicated. Mazzone is manager of GCP Apartment Investors, the firm that co-manages 759 Ventures, which oversees 28th Ro Commercial, the group that owns the Amelie’s building.

Mazzone said GCP has been given advice “by some of the leading national commercial brokers in Charlotte” that the Amelie’s building should be sold along with the land around it that’s being sold. That would “complete the assemblage of the Davidson Street frontage for a potential buyer/developer,” he said.

“We would very much like to see the commercial building and surrounding land developed through the most cohesive plan possible,” Mazzone said.

The sale of the site is being handled as an auction, and there is no listing price for the property, Mazzone said. He added that he expects the bidding to be competitive.

28th Ro Commercial bought the property at 2424 North Davidson St. for $2.5 million in 2013, property records show. The property’s tax value rose fourfold following Mecklenburg County’s recent revaluation, skyrocketing to $11,486,900 from $2,823,700 in 2014.

Mazzone said that the plan had always been to redevelop the property.

“The managers of the ownership entity agreed years ago ... that if the property was not developed within a certain time frame it would be listed for sale and sold,” Mazzone said.

Documents filed with North Carolina Business Court show that the ownership group is conflicted over how the business is run, including who can negotiate leases. The lawsuit, first reported on by the Charlotte Business Ledger, dates back to early 2017.

Amelie’s pays about $7,855 a month for its nearly 6,000-square-foot space, court filings show. Other tenants in the building include NoDa Market & Deli, Kure Vape Shop and NoDa @ 28th Creative Arts Studios.

“What we want to make sure everyone knows is that we’re happy to have them on our property until they find a new home,” Mazzone said of the building’s roughly half dozen current tenants.

A neighborhood favorite

Amelie’s opened its flagship store in the NoDa area in 2008. In early 2009, the NoDa Amelie’s started operating as a 24/7 bakery.

Over the years it has become a local favorite for late night coffee dates, breakfast meetings and worksite for freelancers.

Amelie’s has expanded its local footprint rapidly in recent years with stores in uptown, Carmel Commons, Park Road Shopping Center, Rock Hill and Atlanta.

At 11,000 square feet, the bakery’s uptown location is its largest and is where its production kitchen is housed, Long said. She also said that Amelie’s won’t close its North Davidson store until it has fully moved into its new location nearby.

Charlotte, NC recently became the 16th largest city in the US, ahead of Indianapolis. Nearby neighborhoods and towns like North Davidson are seeing major changes because of the growth. Google Street View helps illustrate that change.

“At this moment, we don’t have anything to share, other than we absolutely love being a part of the NoDa community and are committed to staying,” Long said.

The neighborhood surrounding Amelie’s on North Davidson has been redeveloping rapidly over the years.

In addition to the Blue Line extension that started operating a few blocks away last year, almost 500 apartments are underway nearby. A neighborhood coffee bar and bottle shop called The Hobbyist will open soon near Free Range Brewing. Rhino Market recently opened a new location there, too.

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As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
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