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Metropolitan, Midtown Redevelopment


uptownliving

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The redevelopment of Midtown Square, Charlotte's original indoor mall bulit in the 1950s is now back on the front burner. Plans will soon be circulated showing the renderings for Phase 1. On the current site of the dormant Charlottetown Cinemas will be a "double decker" store. The first floor will be a Home Depot Expo. The 2nd floor will be a Target.

This plan will go before the Charlotte City Council at the end of July. The developer, Pappas Properties, will be asking for City assistance in building a public parking deck for the project. This would be a deal similar to the East Park develpment where the city would recoup the cost of building the decks in about 6 years.

Phase 2 will be built on the current site of the Midtown Square Mall and will include some 90 condos and more retail.

Don't have a pic of the rendering, but here is a map of the area. You can see how close this is to downtown.

mapimage.gif

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Midtown proposal needs city help

Target and Home Depot are part of plan

RICHARD RUBIN

Staff Writer

POLL | Should city build parking deck for Midtown developers?

Long-delayed plans to redevelop the Midtown Square area are back on track with a new twist -- a Target store stacked on top of a Home Depot EXPO Design Center.

If successful, the development would fill a prominent but nearly vacant site, attract pedestrians from uptown and redirect shopping patterns toward the center city.

But it comes with a cost.

Developers will ask Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to help pay for two parking decks, according to a memo sent to the City Council late Wednesday afternoon. The exact size and shape of the parking deck request is still unclear, but it should reach the council this summer, said assistant city manager Ron Kimble.

"It's far from determined yet, but it's going to come fast," he said. "And I think they're going to want some answers in the next two months or so."

Midtown Square is the latest in a months-long string of private projects seeking city or county funding, including the redevelopment of Elizabeth Avenue, the renovation of the old convention center, a cultural package from the Arts & Science Council and a Saks Fifth Avenue store in south Charlotte.

Strained by tight budgets but eager to spur development, the governments have wrestled with these requests. They said yes to the Elizabeth deal, approved a smaller-than-asked-for commitment for the convention center, delayed debate on the arts plan and said no to Saks for now.

Developer Peter Pappas told the Observer Wednesday evening that he's not ready to announce a schedule or formally announce that the Midtown project will happen.

"We continue to have very positive discussions with both EXPO Design Center and Target to anchor the project," he said. "What is critical to making the economics work for the project is the public participation on the parking."

A Home Depot spokeswoman declined to comment on future store openings. Target officials did not return a call for comment. Kimble said the stores could open in late 2006 or early 2007.

According to the city memo, the Midtown project would happen in two phases.

The first section would be located north of Independence Boulevard, on the old cinema site. This would be the Target and the EXPO Design Center, which is Home Depot's interior-decorating branch. It would be the first EXPO store in the Carolinas, according to the company's web site.

The rare double-decker big box would give the project a much more urban character than the typical shopping center.

The second phase would happen across Independence, where the aging mall sits now. This side would include restaurants, offices and more than 90 condominiums, according to the memo.

Each phase would have a parking deck, paid for in part by the city and county.

Both governments have already committed millions of dollars to that section of town. Several years ago, the city approved $6.9 million worth of infrastructure improvements, including changes to the Interstate 277 ramps and pedestrian connections to uptown. Those have been delayed along with the Pappas project.

The county has spent money -- including $7.5 million on this site -- to buy land for the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a 15-mile trail that will adjoin the project.

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I think its sorta unique for them to be considering stacked big box stores. Its something unique that you find in limited use around Atlanta and I think Ive seen some in south fl. If it werent for that damned beltloop this would practically be downtown retail. You can spit on downtown from this site.

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well, these are different times with different developments. Theres more urban momentum in Charlotte and this proposal is a complete makeover - not just a bandaid as the other projects were.

Ive lived in Myers Park and most recently in Oakhurst (the original one off Monroe) and it sucks to be an inner city resident and have to drive to Pineville and Matthews to shop.

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Cotswold is the anomaly, really. With all the development that has occurred, that center has somehow remained popular, similar to Cameron Village here in Raleigh.

Yeah Im just old enough to remember the old southpark, with the Woolworths store and coffee shop where the hechts wing is now. Its funny that today, you grow up and feel nostalgic about a shopping mall, not a downtown. It was actually sad to see sears torn down, i even went to driving school in that building.

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The Greenway could also prove to be a giant boost to this project. I would like to see them add some residential and office space to the mix. The Center City is underserved in the area of mundane yet necessary retail. I'm sure a Target store would be both appreciated and well used by area residents as long as it's properly thought out and developed. Dropping a regular big box into what should be developed into a great little urban village would be a terrible mistake.

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I collected different bits and quotes from all over the place on urban targets and home depots. It sounds like the project at the bottom of the post in Raleigh is going to be awesome. I would like to see the Midtown project turn into somthing like Raleigh's North Hill's Mall Project.

"Target's fall opening schedule was less than typical as the chain opened two-story, subterranean and urban stores and unveiled its newest prototype, one that represents the company's look leading into 2004."

Minneapolis

To the Target Corporation it's merely store number T-13-75. But with a three-story glass entrance and a tony brick facade, it barely resembles its big, boxy suburban cousins. The opening is seen as the return of mid-priced retail in downtown.

The Store

target_big.jpg

Chicago

Target's two-level, 160,000-square-foot store will have a brick exterior, atrium with a north-facing view, Starbucks coffee shop and "Food Avenue Express," where people can grab fast food like pizza, sandwiches, soup and ice cream, said Joan Ahrens, spokeswoman for Target's Chicago region.

"The mostly brick exterior design was chosen to complement the local architecture and landscape," Ahrens said. "The atrium gives the store a distinct feature."

The store will have a parking garage with 400 spaces, and a portion of the parking deck will run under the store, with the remainder directly north.

Part of the roof will be "green," an initiative touted by Mayor Daley with turf-like grass on the roof to absorb heat, save energy and reduce air pollution.

A Chicago Home Depot (could an Expo design center look like this?)

homedepot.JPG

Raliegh

The most radical is the proposed makeover of North Hills Mall, where developer John Kane will tuck a Target underneath a cinema and a "main street" plaza lined with stores and offices.

RALEIGH -- John Kane's vision for the redeveloped North Hills never has been an easy one to convey.

He had elaborate models to show tenants. And there were drawings to show the neighbors. But neither was the perfect tool to adequately show the community what was coming, mostly because what he envisioned had never been built in the Triangle.

But in the past few weeks, as the new North Hills started taking its real shape, going from steel beams to actual walls, windows and rooftops, people are finally starting to get it.

"I've watched and wondered for months," said Jennifer Bass, 32, of Raleigh, who's a regular at J.C. Penney, which has stayed open throughout the demolition of North Hills Mall and redevelopment of the new North Hills. "I really didn't know what to expect. But I really didn't expect to see what I've been seeing."

In place of the big, boxy mall, which was one of the first to open in the state in 1967, Kane is building the first mixed-use project of its kind in the area, stacking a 14-screen movie theater on top of a Target, and surrounding them with boutiques, restaurants, offices, a condominium building and a hotel.

Kane said the complex will be pedestrian-friendly, with a fountain near the main entrance off Six Forks Road, and plenty of places to stroll after a meal or benches to sit on to wait for a movie to start.

So far, 35 tenants have signed on, and about 83 percent of the available 730,000 square feet of retail and office space is committed, said Kane, of Kane Realty, the Raleigh-based company that is redeveloping North Hills.

Two of the biggest tenant deals came in the past few weeks. Kane was able to snag the area's first Marriott Renaissance Hotel and lure Jolly's Jewelers & Silversmiths from its longtime home in Cameron Village.

Kane said by having the 240-room hotel, which will start construction in the fall and be completed by late 2005, North Hills will be more attractive to potential office tenants, who want a hotel nearby for visiting clients. So far, the Class A office space is attracting smaller professional groups, including law firms, insurance companies and architectural groups, Kane said.

"The hotel is just one more amenity to the site," he said.

More tenant names should be out soon. Kane just returned from a shopping center convention in Las Vegas, meeting with more retailers and restaurants. Kane said he specifically saved some key spaces for tenants that might have passed on the project early on, either because they didn't understand Kane's vision or weren't sure about the market's demographics.

The tenant list so far is heavy on restaurants and a mix of local and national retailers, such as the wine superstore Total Wines & More, Ben & Jerry's, Frances T. King Stationery and Highsmith Home.

There are familiar names coming to North Hills, too, including Durham restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias, who will open a second Verde Cafe at North Hills, Scout & Molly's, a women's clothing store with a location in Falls Village in Raleigh, and Von Kekel, a salon with a location in Cary.

The project also will has some exclusive tenants. Johnny Rockets, known for its burgers and shakes served in a retro decor, and Mama Fu's, an Atlanta-based Asian noodle chain, both picked North Hills for their first Triangle locations.

The biggest draw, however, likely will be Target, which will open Oct. 10.

Most of the restaurants and stores will open by Nov. 15, in time for holiday shopping. The movie theater and new Gold's Gym likely will open in November.

Most retailers have been drawn to the site because its location has a broad reach.

"To me, that area is the bridge between customers inside the Beltline and North Raleigh," said Fiquet Bailey, the owner of the apothecary Luxe, who was among the first retailers to sign on to North Hills at the Lassiter at North Hills across from the mall. "Location was a huge factor for me."

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I don't think Midtown will have a hotel or movie theatre.

No, but it could, it should have somthing else. It could have a hotel/residential component. A movie theatre, office space or a whole host of things. That was kind of my point, they need to add some different things into the development. It could also tie into the greenway project as a main feature. People can eat on outdoor verandas overlooking the Greenway or they can walk in or ride a bike in from the greenway to watch a movie, go to the gym, go to work, shop. whatever. This project should aid in the further creation of that area as a viable and sustainable neighborhood. If it is just a little bit of retail or just a Target and Expo then I say just get rid of the mall and let the greenway take over that land. Midtown was salvaged from the wrecking ball for a reason. It sits on what will be prime realestate. All of the buildngs along this corridor are being leveled except Midown. It was spared the wrecking ball for a reason, it should be a catalyst for the area. Perhaps a concert hall should also be included to replace Gradey Cole. I don't know what the project will turn out like in the end, I just know what I would like to see.

I just remembered, I believe there is an old movie theatre on the property.

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This is the view of uptown from the site of the future Target/ EXPO. I took this pic on Saturday from the Wendy's Drive Thru lane...hehe.

The building on the right in the foreground is the abandoned CharlotteTown Cinemas. Which has been closed for over 10 years.

midtown.gif

Edited by uptownliving
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Good shot, the new courthouse is really visible, even at just 8 floors. People talk about how downtown wont attract any good retail anytime soon, but look how close this is! The City and the developers need to work on improved pedestrian connections though. Maybe some sort of tunnel under the interstate...this of course, in addition to better sidewalks down Stonewall

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49er...the city is already moving on improving pedestrian access on Stonewall as it goes under 277. They already hired engineers and designers for that project. I think it is budgeted to be built in 2005 or 2006. I can't remember exactly.

monsoon...in my opinion a better explanation of this is "temporary partial tax ememption" instead of "tax handout". The city is not writing any checks to the developers. Instead the developers will get a temporary tax exemption on a public parking deck. If this works out like the recent East Park deal, then the city would recoup the lost property tax revenue in 6 years. That does not include the sales tax revenue this project will generate.

Edited by uptownliving
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It works out well for both that taxpayer and the corporation. The corporation gets to open a new store and reap the profits from it and the taxpayer gets to reap the increase in taxes that the project will generate, which in turn will decrease the goverments dependence on residential property taxes...which is a good thing in my book. I would much rather have the proposed Target/EXPO there than the empty building that is there now. If it takes a little push from the local governement to jumpstart the project now instead of waiting 5 - 10 years for the market to fully support it, then so be it. There is a net gain for the taxpayer from this project. It is designed so the taxpayer can't lose. This is not CityFair.

Edited by uptownliving
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