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Kannapolis City Council votes on more downtown changes

KANNAPOLIS — For the city of Kannapolis, 2018 has begun with the promise of changes downtown.

The City Council met Monday to vote on two measures related to downtown development. Both were measures to move current operations out of downtown spaces as new businesses come in.

The council first voted on the renovation of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s new location at 489 N. Cannon Blvd.

The college site will be moved to make way for a sports and entertainment center downtown.

The new location is in the former Three Guys grocery store, said Irene Sacks, the city’s director of economic development.

Council members voted to accept a bid on the building’s renovation, which will include a new roof, signage, and a “living wall” on one side of the building.

The wall will be covered in greenery, which will be irrigated using a cistern that collects rainwater.

An existing shopping center adjoining the 42,000-square-foot building will be made available for business investment.

The council voted to accept a $5,150,000 bid from C4 Builders of Charlotte. It also voted to rename the location College Station.

“I’d say a year ago when we were talking about moving the college, … that was a tough call because it was 300 students. … It really has livened up Kannapolis,” said college President Carol Spalding. “I will say when we had a chance to see it and talk about (it), it was a win-win really.”

Second on the agenda was the acquisition of leasehold interest for the site of Piedmont School of Music and Dance.

The school is currently located at 103 W. B St. and 205 West Ave., occupying 7,000 square feet of space. The school had a long-term lease for the building that would have expired in August 2029.

Kannapolis inherited the lease when it purchased downtown buildings in 2014. In order to terminate the lease, the city settled with the school’s owners for $500,000, the fair-market rent value of the current location for 10 years.

Downtown revitalization agreements require that the West B Street and West Avenue locations be empty before Lansing Melbourne Group will purchase them, said Sacks.

The purchase will lead t0 an estimated $60 million in private investment, officials said.

City Attorney Walter Safrit said the school plans to purchase a new building and relocate. It will be given 30 days to vacate the downtown location after the purchase. Alternatively, the school must vacate the premises by April 9.

City Manager Mike Legg said the $500,000 offered to the school will be covered from the proceeds of the property’s sale.

“We have an agreement to sell the property at $1.6 million with $1.3 million available at closing,” Legg said.

Council members accepted the agreement only on that condition.

“That’s the only thing that is allowing this to be an approval in my category,” said Councilman Ryan Dayvault. “Because if we weren’t able to pay for it with the money that we’re getting to sell that property, I couldn’t support this.”

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