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Kannapolis City Officials Consider First Major Downtown Project

Mar 29, 2016 12:33PM ● Published by Ryan Frisch

The Kannapolis City Council is considering approval of what would be the first major Downtown Revitalization project. In September 2015 the City purchased 50 acres of land and buildings in the downtown core. A master development plan has been underway since that time with the city completing a market analysis, a site analysis and a financial analysis. The complete master development plan is expected to be completed in June 2016.

Monday, the council met with the Development Financial Initiative (DFI) who outlined feasibility data for a residential and retail project – called the Demonstration Project.

The Demonstration Project is the first step in the master development plan. It would be located at the 200 block of West Avenue. The three building complex would include apartments, a parking deck, retail and restaurant space. The marketing and site analysis demonstrated that residential units are sought after and needed to generate a core of people who will then drive more retail and dining growth in downtown. Research clearly demonstrates people are the driving force needed to create economic development in downtown.

The proposed demonstration project would include a range of residential units: studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments. DFI presented data showing the project could potentially support approximately 200 residential units. The square footage and rental rates would be comparable and competitive to others in the region. 

Developers will be sought to purchase the land and to construct the buildings. The City’s investment would be construction of the parking deck. The preliminary financial projections show that once completed the City would generate $236,000 annually in property taxes. Construction could be underway in spring 2017 if council approves the project and a developer is secured later this year.

“Our research has shown this project will be a key igniter for our downtown revitalization. People who are living in a downtown drive the economy by expecting to have shops, restaurants and entertainment options with walking distance,” commented Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “We have already had numerous inquiries developers and businesses excited about the opportunity to be a part of our City’s future.”

Council directed staff and DFI to proceed with preparing a request for proposal (RFP) document to seek a developer for the project. At their next regularly scheduled meeting on April 25 council will decide on approving the RFP document and the preliminary plan for the Demonstration Project. The open solicitation of developers using the RFP would then be done over the next 3-4 months, which is a typical timeline for this type of project.

Proposed Demonstration Project Snapshot

  • Number of Buildings: Three – multistory (4-6 levels)
  • Building Use: Residential, Retail, Restaurants
  • Ownership: City Will Sell Land to Developer - Project will be Privately Owned
  • City Investment: Parking Deck Construction -  $4.1 Million potentially
  • Total Build out Value of Project: $37.5 Million
  • Projected Property Annually Taxes for City: $236,000

The strategic planning process for the Revitalization of Downtown has six key components many of which are completed and are nearing completion as scheduled this summer:

1.    Establishing goals for the Revitalization of DowntownCOMPLETED

2.    Market Analysis – Identifying types of uses for the downtown properties; amount of retail, residential, office space that new markets can support; what properties should be redeveloped first; study other cities which have revitalized their downtowns; analyze “game changers.” - COMPLETED

3.    Site Analysis – Condition of infrastructure, parking needs, traffic flow, green space, public amenities, height/size of buildings desired - COMPLETED

4.    Public Process – The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the results of the market and site analysis and offer their thoughts on the revitalization effort. – SUMMER 2016

5.    Financial Analysis – What investment will developers/private partners bring to the table to participate in the new downtown; what uses will bring the most value and sustainability to the City overall and to the downtown core; and define the financial role of the City and other public and quasi-public entities. – COMPLETION EXPECTED IN JUNE 2016

6.    Demonstration Project – Identify a project which could be done first to maximize the excitement of revitalizing downtown and quick start other development projects. - UNDERWAY

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