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Kannapolis council hears proposals for downtown development, update on ballpark study

KANNAPOLIS – The City Council received two proposals Monday for a downtown residential and retail development and heard presentations on a potential downtown ballpark and uses for the current site of the Kannapolis Intimidators’ stadium.

Both potential projects are part of the council’s effort to revitalize the city’s downtown, which it began last year with the $8.75 million purchase of land and buildings.

The proposals received Monday are for what city leaders call a “demonstration project,” which is meant to kick-start redevelopment of the rest of the property. The firms submitting the proposals are the Lansing Melbourne Group, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Neyland Associates of Knoxville, Tenn.

Lannsing Melbourne’s proposal includes 271 residential units; 83,000 square feet of retail space (19,800 new construction and 63,000 existing); 506 parking spaces and a 116-room hotel. The firm estimates its investment in the project would be $60.6 million. The city’s investment would be $12.6 million and includes a parking deck.

Neyland Associates proposes 252 residential units; 10,000-20,000 square feet of retail and 378-462 parking spaces. The company proposes investing $28.7 million with the city’s investment at $5.7 million to $6.9 million, which includes a parking deck.

In a news release, City Manager Mike Legg said both developers submitted their proposals based on the fact that the city has proposed anchors such as a sports and entertainment venue and a performing arts center in its Downtown Master Plan.

“With no investment in anchors that drive people to the downtown, the developers would not be inclined to invest at this level in our downtown,” Legg said.

On Monday, the council also received information from Brailsford & Dunlavey Venues on the second phase of a study on a downtown ballpark for the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators.

The first phase of the study was presented to council last year and dealt with potential attendance figures at a downtown stadium.

The second phase of the study focused on the programming of a new sports and entertainment venue, the cost of construction and the return on investment for the venue. Jason Thompson, with Brailsford & Dunlavey, said the Kannapolis Intimidators rank among the best of the 30 Class A Minor League markets in the U.S. With the right stadium and marketing, he said, the potential to double attendance exists.

The Intimidators Stadium is currently located off Interstate 85 at Lane Street and is over 20 years old. No major renovations or improvements have been made to the structure since it was built in 1995.

Thompson said a new venue should have a capacity of 5,760 and include suites, club and lodge seating. The sport and entertainment venue could be used for multiple purposes such as concerts, community events and conference and meeting space.

The estimated cost to build the venue would be $38.8 million. Research shows that a minor league stadium in downtown Kannapolis could generate approximately $26 million in adjacent private development such as retail shops, restaurants, office and hotel space and residential units, according to the city. The economic impact of the venue would create 248 jobs and result in approximately $274,243 in local sales, food and hotel tax revenues annually and $926,012 in state sales, food and hotel tax revenues annually.

City Council also heard a presentation from Robert Van Geons of Rowan Works Economic Development, who has analyzed the redevelopment potential for the current Intimidators stadium site. Van Geons studied the current 55-acre site, which is in a watershed. Watershed regulations restrict the amount of land that could be used on the site.

Van Geons researched current properties available in the Charlotte metropolitan region and determined that the site would generate the most value if used for office or medical purposes, although light industrial could also be incorporated into the site. His analysis demonstrated that if used for this purpose, an office or medical facility could generate $375,000-560,000 in annual property taxes.

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