It’s a long game that benefits from analysis, planning—and, it is hoped, a stroke of luck. That characterization of real estate development was illustrated by six developers who discussed their current projects at the 2019 ULI Carolinas Meeting in Raleigh in February. From projects that benefited from forward-looking church leaders, to decade-long timelines for redeveloping moribund sites, to downtowns that blossomed in the period between land acquisition and groundbreaking, the stories highlighted the patience, hard work, and serendipity needed for a project to come to fruition.
Another Charlotte developer benefited from a local church’s prudent decision. In this case, Sharon Methodist Church acknowledged that its membership was declining and issued a request for proposals for its property, ultimately selecting Childress Klein. “They challenged us to create a mixed-use scheme that included the church on a new site,” said Chris Thomas, a partner with the company.
Childress Klein has big plans for the 5.5-acre (2.2 ha) site, which is located across from SouthPark Mall. Along with 350 apartments—a few of which will be rented at subsidized rates—there will be 90,000 square feet (8,400 sq m) of retail, a 175-room hotel, and a six-story parking deck.
“We worked with the city and nearby neighborhoods to address growth-related issues,” said Thomas. And the company consulted closely with the church’s leaders; Childress Klein will build a new home for the congregation, which will be rechristened SouthPark Church.