$60M mixed-use project planned for 2017 completion
Stone Avenue is set to become Greenville’s fastest growing new corridor with a $60 million mixed-use project called NorthPointe, to include a 53,000-square-foot grocery store, 282 apartments and roughly 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at the vacant corner of Stone Avenue, North Church Street and Wade Hampton Boulevard, across from Canal Insurance.
Rece Morgan, president and CEO of Central Realty Holdings, which is owned by the same family that owns Canal Insurance, said they expect to be in a position to announce the grocery store tenant in mid-summer. Several other sources say it’s a Harris Teeter but could also be a Lowes Foods, Publix or possibly a Wegmans.
“This will be a true mixed-use development,” said Morgan. Residents will be able to walk to grocery shopping, restaurants and other retail. Some restaurant space will have outdoor seating. Plans are to attract a “best in class” mix of fast-casual, sit-down and takeout restaurants and boutique retail, he said.
Building on current success
Bill Runge, partner with Collett, a commercial real estate company that will be handling marketing and leasing for NorthPointe, said the general strategy will be to complement the North Main neighborhood by providing a balance of best-in-class boutique retail and restaurants.
“The project will be an integral part of Stone Avenue and we want to build upon the success of what is already there – a prime example being the Universal Joint,” he said.
Specific uses and categories of retail and restaurants are yet to be defined, but Runge stressed the team has taken considerable time to analyze “what’s there and what will be a complement to the overall neighborhood and market.”
Interest in the project has been high and energetic, Runge says, and he hopes to be able to make some definitive announcements in the near future.
He also said on-site parking is an important piece in the development and the goal is to create a place where “folks will want to come, park and stay for a while.” He sees a growing trend to try to create more reasons for shoppers and people to stay on site.
“A critical gateway”
A 2014 Wade Hampton Boulevard survey conducted by the Greenville Planning Commission shows that 1,600 respondents in neighborhoods such as North Main, Overbrook, Stone Lake and Vista Hills want additional retail and restaurants, including national brands, along with a high-end grocery store and pharmacy nearby.
In addition to the 10-acre site at Wade Hampton Boulevard and Stone Avenue, the planned development that Central Realty will present to the city includes the former Capri’s restaurant location on Stone Avenue (across the street from the proposed development) and two buildings that contain a frame store and music shop on Wade Hampton Boulevard.
Central is teaming up with ECI Group, another family-owned company out of Atlanta, to develop the apartment portion of the project. Central Realty and ECI Group are already co-developing another apartment complex in Savannah, Ga. Apartments will be predominantly studio, one and two bedrooms with some three-bedroom units available, said Morgan. Apartment amenities will include two courtyard areas, a swimming pool and a skybridge that will connect upper parking levels to apartments.
The project has taken about a year since the concept was first discussed and is “about 95 percent done” as far as pre-construction activities that need to take place, said Morgan. Discussions are ongoing with city officials and the state Department of Transportation about the repositioning and closure of roads and meetings with neighborhood associations, which will be held in June and July.
A major piece of the project will be the closure of Column Street between Stone Avenue and Wade Hampton Boulevard and realignment of the road, traffic signals and crossings at Wade Hampton Boulevard and Stone Avenue. Morgan said several traffic studies have been done and he believes the changes will increase traffic flow in the area. “We are going to be sensitive to the roadwork and site construction to have the minimal impact on traffic,” he said.
“Our commercial partners understand good urban design, and we will work with their design team to provide neighborhood access to the many surrounding neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Doyle. “This density in housing is needed to bring the mixed-use retail on to Wade Hampton Boulevard and the North End. The developers have worked with the city for several years to find the right anchor tenant for the neighborhood.”
NorthPointe will also be easily accessible for walking traffic with the new street crossovers, said Morgan. The developers are also looking at accommodating bicycle and golf cart parking, having valet parking options and possibly even a trolley stop and a connection into the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail system.
The parking deck will rise six stories, but Morgan said due to the elevation changes of the property and taking advantage of grade drop, it will “seem more like three stories” without going underground.
Central Realty will work with the city to create “a gateway point” at Church Street and Wade Hampton Boulevard.
“All along we have stayed focused on the Stone Avenue Master Plan and fitting the design in with the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Morgan. “We want people to have a comfortable place to come shopping, eat lunch and dinner, and live.”