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Kannapolis discusses uses for Gateway tract and downtown

By Elizabeth Cook

elizabeth.cook@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS — The population around Kannapolis Gateway Park may not be dense enough to attract a supermarket to the city’s remaining 7.25-acre tract, members of City Council learned Monday evening.

But don’t rule out a restaurant.

The council authorized City Manager Mike Legg to list the property with Mark Real Estate Advisors of Charlotte. The firm is owned by Joseph John “Chip” Mark, who worked with the city on the rest of the 85-acre Gateway Park when he was with MarkPiercePoole and, later, Lincoln Harris.

Legg said the visibility and location of the site, priced at $1.5 million, make it well-suited for retail, which is Mark’s specialty.

Mark said a drone’s eye view of the property showed the site has a prominent location. The grocery chain representatives to whom he has shown it — Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Publix — love the access and visibility of the site but would like to see more people living nearby. Currently there are 6,626 households within three miles, Mark said.

Mark suggested Kannapolis leaders keep that in mind as the surrounding area develops. Multifamily housing would help, he said.

“The fundamentals are good in the marketplace,” Mark said. “The market is back. … There’s a lot of demand for this area.”

Mayor Darrell Hinnant said he hears from people who would like to have a sit-down restaurant in the neighborhood. Mark said having information about that kind of demand would help him market the property to restaurant chains.

Council members also discussed grading the property to help it sell more quickly; Legg said the city would likely get the money back in the sale price. No action was taken on that.

Also on the subject of development, the council unanimously adopted five guiding principles to follow regarding downtown property the city purchased this year.

1. Encourage maximum density of downtown uses. Create activity on the street, drive demand for additional activity and capture value.

2. Create a mixed-use district that attracts diverse users and activities. Encourage day to night activity, attract new users, and expand the downtown market.

3. Maximize demand generated by anchor amenities/game changers. Appropriately scale, phase and locate anchors to capture local and regional demand.

4. Respect the historic integrity of downtown. Leverage our unique historic assets to add value and create a sense of place.

5. Seek to maximize value for the Kannapolis community. Leverage public investment to attract private investment that improves the quality of life for Kannapolis citizens.

At its work session in October, the council will discuss what the game changer mentioned in the third principle might be.

Council member Roger Haas said he was probably the most skeptical council member when the purchase first came up because he felt the city should have a plan first.  It’s comforting now to have guiding principles, he said. “I think it’s imperative we stick to them.”

In other business, the council:

• Heard from Legg that the new city hall should be complete by Dec. 1, if not sooner. Council is scheduled to meet there on Dec. 14, and other opening events may be held that day, but the final move won’t come until after the first of the year, Legg said. The first to move in will be telecommunicators and the 911 staff, he said. By the end of February, everyone should be in.

• Briefly discussed the Little Texas Road sidewalk project. Council member Ryan Dayvault said preliminary figures put the installation of sidewalks from Dale Earnhardt Boulevard to the school at $600,000, which could be financed for 10 years at a cost of $84,000 per year. Dayvault said he didn’t think the state was going to come up with the money any time soon, so the city would have to do it. Hinnant said the Department of Transportation had been instructed to take “all the fringes” out of its projects, such as bike paths and sidewalks, and just build roads.

• Heard neighbors Grant Rader and Eric Goode express concerns about dogs in a nearby yard on Chipola Street that bark at all hours of the night. Rader said the dogs’ cage is an eyesore and has an odor, and he would like to see something in the nuisance law to address the problem.

• Was thanked by Terry Stancil for a $3,000 grant the city gave Operation Homeless. Being open only one hour a day, three days a week, the organization has served 17,546 meals through its soup kitchen, Stancil said. Most of the food is donated, though the group usually has to buy meat, she said. The grant money was used to pay two months of bills for power, water and sewer and gas, and one month’s rent. Some was also spent on food and supplies.

• Learned from Violet Mitchell that there had been some near-accidents because of the lack of sidewalks on Little Texas Road. On hearing that the state is bowing out of sidewalk projects, she said she wondered if she would have to start holding yard sales, fish fries and other events to raise money for the project.

• Went into closed session to consult with the city’s attorney.

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