photo by James Nix, Independent Tribune
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The City of Kannapolis is buying two more properties in a move to gain more control over the development of the downtown area.
The city has negotiated to purchase the former K-Town Furniture site at 136 Oak Ave. and a property located at 206 S. Main St. The Kannapolis City Council will consider authorizing a formal contract to purchase the properties at its April 13 regularly scheduled meeting
The K-Town Furniture site is 2.85 acres and has a 48,818-square-foot facility that was formerly used as a furniture showroom. The city will pay $875,000 for the property that has been appraised at $1,125,000 and is owned by the Uwharrie Bank. The house, located at 206 S. Main St., is owned by RJL Properties LLC and has been used in the past as a home and most recently an office. It will be purchased for $325,000 and is appraised at $365,000. Both properties are currently vacant.
“The properties are integral to our strategic plan to revitalize downtown,” said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “Both properties are in our target redevelopment area. It makes sense to gain control of these sites now in order to ensure the properties are developed in the most appropriate way possible to benefit our entire revitalization plan.”
In July, city officials announced that David Murdock was willing to sell some of his downtown properties, which are operated by Castle & Cooke. Murdock’s company has owned much of downtown Kannapolis since Murdock bought Cannon Mills in 1982. Murdock also created the North Carolina Research Campus, which opened in 2008. The two properties being purchased will also be owned by the City of Kannapolis to help build on that plan.
“We believe these two additional pieces of property are key to our plan, especially the K-Town site which links the North Carolina Research Campus property to the downtown core properties,” said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant. “It is crucial that we find the right partner to develop the site in the best possible manner to benefit the campus and our revitalized downtown.”
In March the city announced a strategic revitalization plan that included the purchase of eight blocks of buildings located on Oak Avenue, West Avenue, South Main Street and West First Street. This property includes the former Cannon Village, the Gem Theatre, the current Kannapolis City Hall offices, Wells Fargo Bank, the current Kannapolis Police Department and the former Plant 4 site. The buildings have a total of 653,395 square feet. The city is now in the early stages of developing a long-term strategic revitalization plan for the properties.
Murdock has agreed to sell those properties on about 46 acres in downtown for $5.55 million. The property is valued at $23 million.
The city began exploring the possibility of acquiring the property last summer after completing studies on economic development, transportation, infrastructure and parks and recreation. The studies focused on how to best create economic development and jobs throughout the city, the downtown core and to capitalize on one of the city’s primary assets – the North Carolina Research Campus.
The two additional properties will be added to the inventory that will be shopped out to developers by an expert group charged with revitalizing downtown Kannapolis.
The city is contracting with the non-profit Development Finance Initiative, at the UNC-CH School of Government to assist in the revitalization of downtown Kannapolis. The Development Finance Initiative partners with local governments in North Carolina to attract private investment for projects including building reuse, community development, downtown revitalization, economic development and neighborhood redevelopment.
Once the strategic plan is in place, the city and Development Finance Initiative will work to attract developers who will purchase the property for a mix of residential apartments, offices, retail stores and restaurants. The city and Development Finance Initiative will also develop a plan to invest in attractions such as a baseball stadium or a performing arts center. The city anticipates this will take a minimum of 10 years to reach a status of significant redevelopment. However, the city has already begun working to attract development activity.
Two public informational meetings on the purchase of the downtown properties are scheduled for April 15 and April 20 from 6-7 p.m. at the Kannapolis Train Station. The train station is located at 301 S. Main St., Kannapolis