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Developer Targets Millennials With Downtown Kannapolis Project

Illustration of the downtown Kannapolis redevelopment, including apartments and shops (bottom) and a future baseball stadium.
City of Kannapolis
Illustration of the downtown Kannapolis redevelopment, including apartments and shops (bottom) and a future baseball stadium.

A Florida developer hopes to lure millennials to downtown Kannapolis within a few years by building a hotel, apartments, shops and restaurants. It's the first step in the city's plan to redevelop 50 acres it bought last year. 

In July, the Kannapolis City Council chose Lansing Melbourne Group for the first in a series of developments the city hopes will transform the old mill-centered downtown.

Developer Peter Flotz said the $60 million project will start with apartments aimed at younger residents, including workers at the nearby North Carolina Research Campus.

“We're going to try to attract the millennial market downtown, because those are the customers for entertainment uses and restaurant uses and the like. They're the first sort of pioneers, usually, in a redeveloped downtown,” Flotz said Tuesday on WFAE'sCharlotte Talks.

Flotz said the city has already pulled off the hardest part - buying the land.  Kannapolis paid about $8.75 million last year for about 50 acres of aging buildings and vacant lots last owned by David Murdock, who developed the N.C. Research Campus.

“This is absolutely a once in a lifetime opportunity to have somebody in government who's taken the bold step of buying an entire downtown and controlling their destiny,” Flotz said.

The city’s downtown master plan includes a variety of future projects such as an entertainment center and stadium for the Kannapolis Intimidators minor league baseball team, and a performing arts center.  The baseball stadium could be built by 2020, City Manager Mike Legg said on Charlotte Talks.

Legg says the goal is “entertainment, people downtown at all hours of the day and night into the weekends. The foot traffic is really critical. That's what we want to see.”

The city hopes this first project, on 4 acres between Main and West streets, will spur future redevelopment downtown. Kannapolis will sell the land to Lansing Melbourne.

Construction on the first phase - a hotel or apartments - could begin next summer. The city also plans to build a $12.6 million park deck as part of the project. 

You can listen to the full interview on the Charlotte Talks page at WFAE.org

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.