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New downtown plan puts hotel at north end of Cannon Village

Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. Photo by Marty Price

Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. Photo by Marty Price

June 17. The Kannapolis City Council has unanimously endorsed the “North Option” for the redevelopment of downtown. It places a sports and entertainment complex in the north section of downtown, a hotel on Main Street, and a performing arts center on West Street. Residential development will be located in the historic district of the City as well as on the former Plant 4 site.

“The plan demonstrates that we can accomplish our goal of revitalizing downtown and create significant new tax revenues for our entire city. Yes, we will need to invest in our city. We must have skin in the game in order to make the revitalization plan a success,” said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg.

The City Council was presented with two options for the Downtown Master Plan; the  “South Option” would have placed the complex at the former Plant 4 location.

The North Option calls for 1.7 million square feet of new residential space; 50,000 feet of new retail space; a 70,000 square foot hotel; and a 90,000 square foot office building.

The next steps in the Downtown Master Plan process will be public information meetings June 20 and June 29, at Kannapolis City Hall, with both meetings starting at 6 pm.

The City Council is expected to approve the Downtown Master Plan in late July. City Council is already accepting proposals from developers for the first project in downtown. Known as the Demonstration Project, the residential/retail development would be located near West C Street.

The proposals are due later this month; City Council is expected to choose a developer in July.

Kannapolis purchased 50 acres of downtown property and buildings last year from billionaire David Murdock, the founder of the North Carolina Research Campus and a former owner of Cannon Mills. As such, he acquired acres of commercial and residential properties. The city has spent about $8.75 million purchasing the Murdock/Cannon properties.

The next step is approving a the downtown master plan which will guide the decision-making process for projects and investments.

“Step by step we have worked to thoroughly understand the property we have purchased, research the market for what we need in our downtown, develop a plan to revitalize the downtown over the next decade and analyze the financial costs for our vision of downtown,” said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant.

Development Financial Initiative, a non-profit from UNC-Chapel Hill, developed the master plan.

The plan outlines a number of significant “big ideas” which research shows are needed and are viable in order for Kannapolis to have a prosperous and vibrant downtown within the next decade. The ideas include:

  • A sports and entertainment complex and a performing arts center. Anchors are projects that bring significant numbers of people to an area – consistently. Anchors also stimulate spinoff growth in the restaurant, retail and residential sectors.
  • A boutique hotel would be used by visitors to the area, conference attendees, the North Carolina Research Campus, sports teams.
  • Multistory office complex to create more job opportunities in downtown.
  • Condominiums and apartments woven throughout the entire downtown with the highest concentration on the former Plant 4 site.
  • Historic preservation includes saving the most historic block of buildings in the downtown such as the Gem Theatre.
  • Retail and restaurants in small and large spaces that create entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.
  • A water feature—a unique aesthetic that creates a healthy living environment.
  • Plazas with large green spaces that would flow from the north to the south end of downtown.
  • West Avenue would be reconfigured with a curved tree lined design that creates more outdoor dining and green spaces. Trees would be preserved and additional trees added.
  • Connectivity and livability, with sidewalks, bicycle lanes and adequate parking that allows seamless movement between the anchors, office, hotel, campus and residential areas. This creates a feeling of healthy living, community and neighborhood.

The Downtown Master Plan includes a financial analysis which shows the city and its partners investing in the sports and entertainment complex, the performing arts center, and infrastructure. Private investors would be sought to invest in the office, residential, hotel, and retail/restaurant portions of the plan. The financial analysis suggests that for every dollar the city invests, it would see a return of $3 in private investments.

Discussion

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