Jan 26, 2023 - Development

Yet another office tower planned along the light rail line in South End

205 E Bland. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Developer Cousins Properties is planning an office tower at 205 E. Bland St., a property that’s currently a surface lot adjacent to the light rail and across the street from All American Pub, Slate and Hot Taco.

It’ll be a “smaller scale boutique office building,” about 200,000 square feet, John McColl, Cousins’ EVP of development, tells Axios. The building will include ground-level retail and some sort of rooftop amenity, per McColl.

  • Cousins has not yet determined the height of the building.
  • The property is about three-quarters of an acre and is surrounded by Bland and College streets, behind Mosaic South End Apartments.
  • Cousins bought the property in 2020, county property records show.

Why it matters: Cousins’ planned development is the latest step in South End’s evolution. The neighborhood, once a manufacturing hub, has been transitioning from a trendy, hip neighborhood filled with local bars/breweries and apartments into one of the hottest office submarkets in the country.

Of note: Cousins is building the Bland Street property without a tenant lined up. Even in the new work-from-home/hybrid work reality many employers are embracing, Cousins is confident about demand for office in South End, McColl says.

“Companies want to be located where the talent pool is, so they can compete for that talent. We’re seeing that across our portfolio, and Charlotte is no outlier,” McColl said. “We remain bullish that the cultures that companies need … happen by people being together.”

Zoom in: If you’ve driven through South End recently, you know parking is increasingly hard to come by — due in part to the fact that developers are buying up surface lots in prime locations. In other parts of the neighborhood, such as on Camden, the city has started charging for parking.

Zoom out: Cousins has been investing in South End for years. The Atlanta developer is part of the team that built Dimensional Place, the development where Common Market South End once was that’s home to Dimensional Fund Advisors.

  • In 2021, Cousins bought the RailYard on South Tryon for $201 million, setting a new per-square-foot record for office building sales in the state, as CBJ reported.
  • A year before that, Cousins acquired the 3.4-acre property on the rail trail in South End that includes Slate for $28.1 million (in a deal that included the Bland Street site). It’ll be some sort of mixed-use project — but Cousins is still figuring out what it’ll ultimately look like, per McColl.
Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
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