South Charlotte

Proposed complex gets a new start

The Howard Hughes Corp. has formed a partnership with Childress Klein Properties that could put The Bridges at Mint Hill back on track.

"Partnering with Childress Klein on The Bridges at Mint Hill enables us to build from their knowledge in the local market and add value to the opportunity," stated David R. Weinreb, chief executive officer of The Howard Hughes Corp. "The joining of our two properties will ensure that this becomes the most attractive retail development site in the Charlotte area."

The proposed shopping complex on 210 acres at the Lawyers Road interchange of Interstate 485 would be 1.3 million square feet with retail, hotel and commercial development.

Grading at the site started in 2008. The work halted abruptly in 2009 during the economic downturn when General Growth Properties filed for bankruptcy.

At that time, General Growth owned 75 percent of the land; Childress Klein Properties owned 25 percent.

As part of the bankruptcy settlement, General Growth's incomplete projects were sold to Howard Hughes Corp. Now, Howard Hughes and Childress Klein have decided to put their land together and have agreed to a development partnership.

"We will work together to pursue the development," said Childress Klein Retail Division Partner David Haggart.

"We are very excited to be partners with (Howard Hughes Corp.), and we think the team that will be working on the project will provide focus on the project which has been lacking the last two years."

There's been activity at the site lately, but Haggart says bulldozers are only clearing dirt so the land will be ready when construction starts again. Haggart says they are keeping an eye on market conditions to determine when to break ground.

"We will start the project when market conditions are ready for the project to be started. There are definitely some positive signs in the market right now. Looking at the 24-36 month time-frame, we're optimistic that the market is going to improve," Haggart said.

Mint Hill Town Manager Brian Welch says he's been told work will begin early next year.

"The town has been told to expect additional site work to begin in the spring of 2012. We know for a fact that they are continuing to work with N.C. Department of Transportation to finalize road plans including acquisition of additional rights-of-way," Welch said. "They are also continuing to work with Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities on plans and scope of the sewer lift station that they are required to install."

Welch says that, when compete, the project should add approximately $100 million in value to the town's tax base, an increase of about 5 percent.

That increase would bring in an additional $270,000 in town property tax revenue.

The town also can expect additional stormwater revenue, as well as a significant increase in the tourism tax based on the prepared food tax and the hotel/motel occupancy tax.

"We've been anticipating this development for many years. We're looking forward to the economic impact it will offer both with the additional tax revenue as well as employment and shopping and entertainment opportunities for our residents," Welch said.