Jan 29, 2024 - Development

3 Charlotte office transformations that aren't in Uptown

Towers at South Park

The Towers at Southpark. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

While local officials grapple with how to revitalize empty Uptown towers, suburban office parks across Charlotte have been getting makeovers for years as a way to stay relevant.

Why it matters: Changes to these decades-old properties underscore the demands of the market. Companies want offices with state-of-the-art amenities, walkable to restaurants, bars, retail, entertainment and housing.

The big picture: The reimagining of Charlotte office parks pre-dates the pandemic-era shift to remote work.

  • Look at Ballantyne Reimagined. The massive, mixed-use transformation of a sprawling corporate park is years in the making.
  • Other real estate firms have pursued similar efforts on a smaller scale, including the three below office properties that are being modernized.

Of note: This is not a comprehensive list of all office transformations. They are examples of projects that recently went through or are in the city rezoning process.

Towers at SouthPark

Exterior façade work at 6100. Rendering: Crestlight Capital/CBRE

The iconic SouthPark Towers, once the tallest buildings outside Uptown, are under new ownership as of May 2022.

  • Crestlight Capital is investing more than $20 million to modernize the 15- and 13-story buildings.

Details: Work on the newly rebranded "Towers at SouthPark" includes new lobbies and entrances, landscaping, a new 4,000-square-foot lounge with a coffee bar, a 30-plus-person conference space, and a gym with lockers and showers.

  • They're also in talks to bring on "more modern and hip" restaurant tenants, CBRE's Joe Franco tells Axios. A new, upscale retailer will be announced soon.
  • Upon purchase, the towers at 6000 and 6100 Fairview Road were just under 80% occupancy. Interest from prospects is high as renovations near a summer completion, per Franco.
  • SouthPark's overall office vacancy rate is 17%, according to CBRE's latest report.

What's next: There's potential to add other uses to the nearly 10-acre property, Crestlight's CEO John Coury tells Axios.

  • Crestlight is considering adding hundreds of apartments, medical offices and a hotel, rezoning records indicate.
  • The firm could turn the site, located along a future segment of The Loop, into a pedestrian-focused development.

What they're saying: "We believe that people will return to the office in highly desirable locations like SouthPark," Coury says.

  • Crestlight has acquired almost half a billion dollars worth of office space nationally since 2021.

Grubb Properties in Montford

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

What used to be two decades-old office buildings with expansive surface parking lots have turned into a walkable, mixed-use corner of Montford.

Today, where Park Road meets Mockingbird Lane, new apartment residents and office workers mingle in the plaza and order lunch at a nearby food truck.

  • "The experience when you're onsite from where this project was 10 years ago to now — it's just a night and day difference," says Paul O'Shaughnessy, SVP of development for Grubb Properties.

Details: Grubb upgraded the 4601 Park Road building with a new lobby and gym after acquiring the property roughly a decade ago. It spent $25 million renovating 1515 Mockingbird Lane, anchored by Pfeiffer University.

  • Grubb operates its headquarters onsite, too.
  • Next to the offices, Grubb built 288 apartments in 2020 and opened another 265 in 2022 under its Link Apartments brand.

What's next: Grubb is now on its third phase, completing design for about 250 more housing units. To meet the high demand for housing, it sought a rezoning recently to add even more apartments.

  • It plans to add retail to the corner of Park Road and Mockingbird Lane, too.

The intrigue: At Grubb's Montford property, the office and apartments share a parking deck since residents and workers are usually parked onsite at different times.

South End Business Park

South End Business Park
Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

This old business park near the growing LoSo area is on a track to become a "retail destination," as described in rezoning documents.

Details: Ram Realty Advisors seeks to rezone approximately 52 acres off Clanton Road. The vision is for a "dense, walkable neighborhood" with a mix of retail and multi-family, according to the records.

  • New offices, as well as a hotel, could be included in later phases, one document states.
  • When Ram Realty Advisors purchased the park in 2022, the 14 buildings were 85.5% occupied with 53 tenants, CBJ reported.
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