Another adaptive-reuse project will soon commence in lower South End.
Charlotte-based White Point Partners will begin work on the Bowers Fiber Inc. building, at the intersection of Yancey and Old Pineville roads, in the coming months. When upfits are finished, the site will offer roughly 73,000 square feet of leasable retail and office space across the three buildings that have housed Bowers’ fiber-processing operations for more than 70 years. The leasing for this space will be handled by Childress Klein.
To pay homage to the building’s history, White Point is calling the project Bowers. Harry Lee Bowers launched his textile business at the site in 1946. In those days, the area that is now called South End was an industrial hub with a two-lane road, rail cars and warehouses scattered throughout pasture land. One Bowers employee rode a cart-and-mule from his home in Second Ward to the mill on Yancey Road.
Today, the site is positioned in a burgeoning entertainment district in Charlotte. In close proximity to the Bowers site are Queen Park Social, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Sugar Creek Brewing Co., Great Wagon Road Distilling Co., GoodRoad Ciderworks and Doc Porter’s Distillery.
“It’s a gateway to the brewery district,” said Jay Levell, partner at White Point. “We benefit from everybody having to go past this. The big building on the corner is prime retail real estate.”
The Lynx Blue Line also sits at the front door of the site, in close proximity to the Scaleybark Station.
White Point is targeting retail tenants for the site’s 28,000-square-foot, bow-and-truss building and office tenants for the remaining 45,000 square feet, where there will also be opportunities for “unique” retailers, according to White Point.
The $16.5 million Bowers project is expected to begin in May, with delivery in late 2017. White Point Partners is under contract to purchase the site and expects to close next month. Levell said they are “very close” to inking deals with a few tenants and expect to be about 50% pre-leased by the time work begins on the site. White Point won rezoning for mixed-use development on the site in December.
White Point is betting big on adaptive reuse. In addition to the Bowers project, the firm is working with Atlanta-based Paces Properties on the Tompkins Hall project in Optimist Park. That development is expected to include nearly 135,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space, including a 20,000-square-foot food hall.
“There’s demand for it,” said Erik Johnson, partner at White Point. “People get upset when stuff is torn down. We’re trying to fill a niche there.”
Levell said White Point is pursuing other adaptive-reuse opportunities around town and expects to have a few other project announcements before the close of the year.
“It’s the employee base,” Levell said. “Right now, people are trying to attract kids out of college to people in their mid-30s. We can argue the merits of the buildings but they’ve gotten very strong demand.”
Bowers Fiber still has operations at the Yancey Road building but will soon consolidate at its South Carolina center.
Scott Wilson at Childress Klein is leasing the retail and office portions of the project. Levell said asking rates are about $26 per square foot modified-gross for office and about $27 per square feet modified-gross for retail.