Aug 31, 2021 - Development

A developer aims to preserve the old Fourth Ward Bread building in a new Graham Street project

rendering of new multi-use development around the old Fourth Ward Bread Co.

On Graham, between 6th and 7th streets, a developer is proposing a new look that incorporates an old favorite building. Rendering courtesy of Daniel Corp.

Fourth Ward Bread was only open for a year in a nearly century-old converted warehouse on Graham Street, from 2013 to 2014, before a fire wiped it out.

  • Despite that short run, the business and the building have been mythologized by people who were lucky enough to catch a whiff of the bakery and coffee shop.

So it will make preservationists and sentimentalists alike smile to hear this news: The new owners are planning to save the front part of the building and construct a mixed-use development around it. They plan to add apartments plus other commercial space.

Why it matters: Charlotte’s history is forever fleeting so every time an old building feels endangered the preservationist in many of us emerges, ready to fight for the future of a dying breed.

  • This time, however, it appears we can stand by and watch as Birmingham-based Daniel Corporation works on a project to complement the old with the new.

The big picture: Cameron Conner, Vice President at Daniel Corp., originally came to the corner of Graham and Seventh streets wanting to build a high rise.

But after walking around Fourth Ward and taking in the scale and architecture of the historic district, he knew that’d be a mistake. Beyond the scale, in the middle of the site sat this unique 93-year-old warehouse at 312 N Graham St, that cried out to be saved.

  • The property also includes the old home of McCarthy Tire, which closed that location before the pandemic.

The plan: With the goal being saving the front portion of the building, the team at Daniel Corp. and Dwell Design Studio, set about creating a project that would work with the existing building. It’ll include 8,000 square feet of commercial space and have natural gathering spaces created by the mixture of historic and modern setbacks.

  • Plans include a brick commercial and townhouse podium that closely mimics the scale, historic details and design of the warehouse.
  • Above that will be 250-280 apartment flats and outdoor amenities, housed in a building that will be similarly scaled to the other apartment buildings around it, between seven and eight floors.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to take an underutilized block of Fourth Ward,” Conner said, “and create a unique project that not only preserves the Fourth Ward Bread building, but really showcases it as a focal point of the overall design.”

What’s different this time: The folks at Daniel Corp. say they aren’t “velocity developers,” as Conner dubbed it.

Some companies do 15-20 new multifamily projects a year all around the country. But Daniel Corp.’s goal is to focus on creating 3-5 unique projects a year in top tier southern markets like Charlotte, Nashville and Austin. Instead of designing buildings as math formulas, they try to be purposeful and create aesthetics that blend within neighborhoods.

The backstory: Fourth Ward Bakery opened in 2013, offering up European-style bread, terrific sandwiches, pastries and pizza. The Showtime series “Homeland” staged a scene there.

What’s next: Daniel Corp. is having ongoing conversations and workshops with the Fourth Ward Neighborhood Association, and is working with them to create a building that’ll fit in with its neighbors.

  • Daniel Corp. tells me they’re aiming for a summer 2024 completion date.
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