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14 story tower for Ballantyne


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This was printed in the Charlotte business Journal. Looks like Ballantyne is becoming the next South Park, anchoring upscale retail tennants, office space, and residential density.

Ballantyne towers in plan

Project shift adds condos reaching $1M

J. Lee Howard

Senior staff writer

Sheild Property Co. is revamping plans for its Ballantyne mixed-use project with the development now expected to include two midrise towers topped by condominiums priced up to $1 million.

The bulk of the $125 million Ballantyne Village project, at U.S. Highway 521 and Johnston Road, will be an L-shaped single building, sections of which could reach 14 stories. Retail space will be positioned on the ground floor, followed by two levels of parking, five stories of office space and six stories of residential condominiums.

"We've always embraced the idea of a truly mixed-use development in that area, with residential mixed in with offices and retail," says George Sheild, company president.

The project, like The Bissell Cos.' Ballantyne office park and The Lichtin Co.'s Toringdon, is playing off easy access to destinations both local and regional via Interstate 485 and the recently connected junction at U.S. 521 and Johnston.

"People are moving there," says Charlotte real estate analyst Frank Warren. "It's a great location with true four-way access. They can now tap into a broader labor pool than they could before."

The 450,000-square-foot Ballantyne Village will incorporate about 160,000 square feet of retail space leasing in the low $30s per square foot. Leases for the 135,000-square-foot office component will start in the mid-$20s per square foot.

Recently added to the project is the residential space, 110 condominiums totaling 160,000 square feet. Condos will range from 800-square-foot studios to penthouses of 3,000 square feet and up. Prices will range from a low of about $350,000 to as much as $1 million.

A courtyard area is designed to pull together all the component parts, says Bob Bruner, Sheild's Dallas-based partner in the project. "The courtyard is really where the mixed-use mixes throughout the day and throughout the night. Charlotte really has nothing like this."

Construction of the first phase is scheduled to start Dec. 15. It will be a 38,000-square-foot retail building with vaulted ceilings fronting U.S. 521. It's one of two buildings of about equal size laid out to create an avenue-like environment. Stoney River Legendary Steaks, a subsidiary of Nashville, Tenn.-based O'Charley's Inc., will anchor the first building, taking 6,500 square feet. Panera's Bread Co. will also lease space in the first building.

It should be finished by the fourth quarter of 2004. The whole of Ballantyne Village should take two to three years to complete.

Sheild is combing the country for retailers with national name recognition. High-end kitchen and housewares chain Williams-Sonoma has signed a letter of intent. Charlotte-based Under the Grape, a specialty wine shop that already has a store in SouthPark, is also in line for space, along with a J. Crew apparel store and a Coldwater Creek women's fashion boutique.

An Orvis outdoor outfitters is also in negotiations on a letter of intent, and so is a national bookstore chain. Incato Gelato ice cream is in the mix, and Sheild is also negotiating between Starbucks and Caribou Coffee for a coffeehouse.

A salon and spa is in the works, as well, in addition to other specialty tenants, he says.

"We want to make sure we focus our presentation on the highest possible quality tenant," Sheild says. "We hope to take Charlotte to a new level with something that has never been done before."

A key anchor in the 10-acre development will be an arts and independent-films theater.

Sheild is in negotiations with a theater company in Los Angeles called Landmark Theatres, and the development team hopes Landmark will agree to build a 1,000-seat, five-screen movie theater. Landmark has built similar theaters in major cities across the country, including St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Washington. "It will be a completely first-class build-out," Sheild says. "They will show premium films, which symbolizes what we want to do with the entire project."

The revised development is a step up from Sheild's original plan for the property, which was known as The Terraces at Ballantyne.

Sheild has retail and office centers branded with the "Terraces" name around Charlotte, including The Terraces at University Place, off North Tryon Street and Mallard Creek Road, and The Terraces at Cheshire Place, on West W.T. Harris Boulevard at David Cox Road.

The $75 million Terraces at Ballantyne, unveiled more than two years ago, would have consisted of four buildings with 160,000 square feet of retail space and 135,000 square feet of offices.

The merits of adding a residential component became apparent as the Ballantyne area continued to shine even during a down economy, Bruner says. "Ballantyne has been so successful because of all the preliminary planning and hard work that went into it."

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