Kannapolis considers demo project of apartments, parking deck and retail

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, March 29, 2016

KANNAPOLIS – The Kannapolis City Council is considering approval of what would be its first major downtown revitalization project since the city bought 50 acres in the heart of the city last September.

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 demonstration project.

The project, to be located at the 200 block of West Avenue, would be a three-building complex of apartments, a parking deck, retail and restaurant space.

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.

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. Preliminary financial projections show that, once completed, the project 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,” said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “People who are living in a downtown drive the economy by expecting to have shops, restaurants and entertainment options with walking distance.”

Legg said the city had received inquiries from developers and businesses excited about the opportunity to be a part of Kannapolis’ future.

Council directed staff and DFI to proceed with preparing a request for proposal document to seek a developer for the project. At the next regularly scheduled business meeting on April 25, council will decide on approving the  document and the preliminary plan for the demonstration project. The open solicitation of developers would then be done over the next three to four months,  a typical timeline for this type of project.

The strategic planning process for the revitalization of downtown Kannapolis has six key components, many of which are completed and are nearing completion as scheduled this summer:

  1. Establishing goals for the revitalization of downtown – Completed
  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. – Under way