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DigitalSky

Matthews Plaza

17 posts in this topic

This shopping center at 485 and Independence has been sitting vacant for years, unfortunately. There seem to be changes on the hoizon. Here is a photo of the former Kmart at Matthews Plaza I took over the summer.

kmart5po.jpg

DEVELOPMENT

Store to help revive Matthews Plaza

Ashley Furniture will be anchor tenant at long-vacant location

DOUG SMITH

Ashley Furniture HomeStore will be the anchor tenant in a revival of long-vacant Matthews Plaza on East Independence Boulevard in Matthews.

New South Properties of the Carolinas acquired the 26-year-old shopping center recently with an investor group that expects to spend $10 million on land and renovation.

Kmart, the original anchor, vacated Matthews Plaza -- between Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Interstate 485 -- more than a decade ago. Other tenants trickled out over the years.

Will Whitley, a partner in New South, credits Jonathan Ishee and Jackson Moore, co-owners of the Charlotte-area Ashley Furniture stores, with initiating the project.

Said Ishee: "We were driving down Independence Boulevard and talking about how you see development at almost every I-485 interchange, but we didn't see it near this one," he said.

Whitley said the site had been tied up for years due to Kmart's long-term ground lease agreement with a developer and failed rezoning attempts.

But Ishee's question prompted him to check on its status. When Whitley learned the 140,000-square-foot center was available, Ashley Furniture was eager to commit to slightly more than half the space.

Ishee said the Matthews Plaza location will give the company a greater geographic spread in Mecklenburg. The first Ashley Furniture HomeStore opened nearly two years ago in Pineville, and the second opened just over two weeks ago at the Grande Promenade in the University City area.

"Charlotte has been a great market for us," Ishee said. "Both locations we've opened have exceeded our expectations."

This project is succeeding where previous redevelopment proposals failed because no zoning changes or site expansions were required, said Matthews Planning Director Kathi Ingrish.

"Specifically, they are using the existing footprint," she said. "They are not looking at changing the layout or the exterior, other than facade improvements."

Whitley said the makeover, to be completed this summer, will include improvements to storefronts, interior areas, signage, landscaping and parking.

The remodeled center will retain the Matthews Plaza name.

Whitley, who is handling leasing, said New South is seeking to fill roughly 70,000 square feet with tenants that complement the furniture store.

Space is available in blocks ranging from 1,500 square feet to 50,000 square feet. Annual lease rates range from about $10 a square foot for a large block to about $20 a square foot for small-shop space, Whitley said.

The average annual lease rate in the area around the shopping center is $17.33 a square foot, according to Karnes Research Co.

Overcash Demmitt Architects designed the renovation. Myers & Chapman Inc. is the general contractor. New South partner Dale Hall represents Ashley Furniture in its Charlotte area site selection.

Ishee, who met Moore at Vanderbilt University's business school, said they are looking west for their next store -- possibly in Gaston County in 2006.

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Thank god! This is one of the uglier developments in the area. It's been sitting unused for a while now and when it was used, it wasn't in the greatest condition, not much better than it's current condition. But then again, that's the way most K-Mart centralized developments are. I'm glad to see an Ashley Furniture coming closer to me. I bought my bedroom furniture from there about a year ago and was pleased with them.

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This was an excellent idea to revamp and rework this Matthews eyesore off of Independence right before 485. Ashley Furniture should do some good business in this area, considering the last big furniture store (of any quality) around here was Rhodes and they just closed. Don't know what will become of the old Kroger/Bi-Lo that was next to it. The plaza defineitely needs a new paving job and needs to be leveled out. Also, either decide what to do with the old McDonald's or level it! Maybe if that plaza gets some business again, then they'll come back. Doubt it though... What about the old Lowe's building (or Carolina Lanes as it is called today) over off of Brigman Rd? Maybe the bowling alley should move to the Bi-Lo building to gain more exposure. Just an idea. This plaza is looking better, it just needs to stay on track and not stall out. There's also a Comedy Zone sign across the street at the old New York, New York restaurant building. All these signs signal good news for the plaza, one that was on the verge of collapse just last year. Besides, that Sub Station place is the best place to get a sandwich and most affordable. (Plug for Jerry)

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I'm not as familar with Matthews Plaza as you are, but any redevelopmnent out that way would be appreciated. That place has gone down a lot over the past few years.

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I have a newer pic of Matthews Plaza here http://img184.exs.cx/img184/6208/inde123ke.jpg

but anyway, I just don't know if there's enough space where the old Bi-Lo was to move Carolina Lanes there even though it would grant the bowling alley more exposure.. but still i think most people know where it is. Leveling the McDonalds may be ideal to gain parking lot space though

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so the K-Mart closed down around or prior to 1995? It looks like they gave it a little facelift b4 they closed it, I mean rounding off the area above the entrance....

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so the K-Mart closed down around or prior to 1995? It looks like they gave it a little facelift b4 they closed it, I mean rounding off the area above the entrance....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There's two closed down K-Marts within a few miles of each other around there. One there, and one at Crown Point. Whether Crown Point was supposed to replace the one at Matthews Plaza is beyond me.

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so the K-Mart closed down around or prior to 1995? It looks like they gave it a little facelift b4 they closed it, I mean rounding off the area above the entrance....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I t looks one of Kmart's early '90s remodels. It probably got the updated K with the "mart" in the middle as well.

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There's two closed down K-Marts within a few miles of each other around there.  One there, and one at Crown Point.  Whether Crown Point was supposed to replace the one at Matthews Plaza is beyond me.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Crown Point store was never meant to replace the Matthews Plaza Kmart, seeing as it originally opened as an American Fare store and then became a Super Kmart which stayed open til 2002 i think.

I t looks one of Kmart's early '90s remodels.  It probably got the updated K with the "mart" in the middle as well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, it had the K with mart in the middle.. never saw the "Big Kmart" era though.

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Has anyone seen this plaza lately? Wow! It looks great! Now all they need to do is knock down the old McDonald's and level/repave the parking lot.

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Has anyone seen this plaza lately?  Wow! It looks great!  Now all they need to do is knock down the old McDonald's and level/repave the parking lot.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

yeah the facade is looking good

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I hear the new Ashley furniture homestore is open!

Yes, along with some Grill restaurant coming in between the old Bi-Lo and Ashley Furniture. The old McDonald's/Mi Tierra is also set to become a South 21. Maybe replacing the South 21 express in Indian Trail.

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Any word about the old Bi-Lo though?

Not as of yet, though if you look inside the windows, the y are doing some remodeling, they removed the old Bi-Lo customer service desk at the front.

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Not as of yet, though if you look inside the windows, the y are doing some remodeling, they removed the old Bi-Lo customer service desk at the front.

So is it possible someone may lease the space or the owners could be subdividing it for lease?

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