Sep 10, 2023 - Business

A Starbucks will open on a fast-changing stretch of North Tryon

A new Starbucks will open next year on a rapidly changing stretch of North Tryon.

What’s happening: Construction is underway on a freestanding 2,500-square-foot building at 1901 N. Tryon — near WSOC’s studios in a stretch between Uptown and NoDa. The cafe will have a full indoor dining room and a drive-thru, says developer Matthew Browder, who owns the property.

  • “Starbucks is certainly a high-profile use,” Browder says of the site.
  • The plan is to deliver the property to Starbucks in December; the cafe will open in early 2024.

Why it matters: The appearance of a new Starbucks underscores how dramatically North Tryon, previously a quieter stretch filled with small local businesses and a smattering of used-car lots, is changing as new investment pours in.

Between the lines: This is one of Starbucks’ so-called Community Stores, designed to provide economic opportunity in “underserved communities” across the U.S.

  • Per the company, Starbucks prioritizes areas with high youth unemployment, low median household income and population stability.
  • It also prioritizes locating in Opportunity Zones, which are state-designated areas in which developers get federal tax incentives to build. The North Tryon corridor corridor is in an Opportunity Zone.
  • A Starbucks representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Zoom out: North Tryon looks a lot different now than what it looked like five years ago.

  • For instance, the city has invested in major infrastructure improvements along the corridor— from streetscaping to new sidewalks. The $20.3 million project “created new opportunities for redevelopment through the corridor by installing infrastructure improvements along property frontages that would already be in place to meet future development requirements,” per the city.
  • A few gas stations have closed and been torn down along the corridor — including at the Dalton and Matheson intersections.
  • Closer to NoDa, the developer Flywheel Group is planning a 19-acre project called Queens Park Commons filled with residences, retail, restaurants and green space.
  • A 302-unit apartment community is underway at North Tryon and Matheson.

Last spring, Browder’s firm bought Foundation Supply, a sprawling brick property near the Starbucks formerly called City North Business Center, with plans to add tenants like an event space and gym.

  • The former owner, an Austin developer called Artesia, had purchased the site in 2018. About 120 small local businesses, many of them Black-owned, lost their space when Artesia didn’t renew their leases, as the Observer reported in 2019.
  • Artesia spent years overhauling the property with plans of filling it with office and retail tenants until the pandemic hit. The property sat vacant for years before Browder bought it.

What he’s saying: Local developer Chris Dennis, a longtime Lockwood resident and community advocate, says he’s optimistic about new development along North Tryon and throughout the Lockwood community. But he’s cautious about what it could mean for longstanding residents and small businesses, like the ones pushed out of Foundation Supply.

  • “My concern is making sure we’re intentional about development from a sustainability and upward mobility standpoint,” Dennis tells Axios.

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