CHARLOTTE – Signs of what will be the largest mixed-use development in the Mountain Island area are becoming more vivid, as construction associated with the early phases of the project will be completed before the end of the year.
Riverbend Village, the 115-acre development at the intersection of Brookshire Boulevard (N.C. 16) and Mount Holly-Huntersville Road, will eventually be home to a new Harris Teeter, 266 apartments, 105 townhomes and a corporate headquarters for Corning Optical Communications, a structure currently visible from Interstate 485 to the south.
The Simpson Commercial Real Estate development – about a mile east of the Riverbend residential neighborhood – will also bring several restaurants and potentially a movie theater. And it is being built in an area that already faces heavy commuter traffic, which will increase from both its residents and the Corning employees.
There will be turn lanes added to Mount Holly-Huntersville as well as new traffic signal at the intersection with Overlook Mountain Drive, which is scheduled to be completed in the beginning of December. Brookshire’s junction with Mount Holly-Huntersville, a North Carolina Department of Transportation project, will be turned into a continuous flow intersection (CTI).
“It was really important to us and really important to the neighbors to really take care of that,” said Lauten Crow, a partner at Simpson Commercial, which has offices in midtown Charlotte, “and having Corning as a partner, moving down to Riverbend, really allowed us to get the state involved, NCDOT involved to focus on fixing this area of congestion.”
As the state’s first CTI, vehicles will cross Brookshire several hundred feet before making a left turn at the intersection. This implementation will increase the efficiency by up to 70 percent at the intersection that averages 46,000 vehicles per day, according to NCDOT.
“You’ll see dramatic alleviation once that is implemented,” Crow said.
The apartments under construction are slated to be available in the first quarter of 2019, as early as January. The townhomes were sold to Cornelius-based North State Capital Partners, which will start site work construction in the coming months.
Corning is relocating from its current site in Hickory, and its new headquarters will house 650 employees. The company also has fiber manufacturing facilities in Concord and Wilmington.
“It’s been publicized that they’re moving here to attract talent from Charlotte’s pool of young professionals,” Crow said. “They’re excited to add high-paying engineering jobs once they move down there.”
Phase II of Riverbend Village includes an adjacent structure that is similar in size, and Crow said his company is marketing that to another single-tenant user.
“Corning’s plan to locate the headquarters for Optical Communications in Mecklenburg County builds on our 40-plus-year relationship with North Carolina,” Clark Kinlin, executive vice president of Corning Optical Communications, said in a news release announcing the move. “This decision is further evidence of our confidence in our growing $2.7 billion business, and North Carolina as a world-class location for a technology company.”
Beyond offices and housing, Riverbend will also bolster the region’s restaurant options. Establishments already slated for the development include Wild Wing Café, Firehouse Subs, Johnny’s Pizza and Taco Bell, whose mid-December opening will be the first of any tenant.
At 78,000 square feet, Harris Teeter is to open next fall and will have an accompanying 16-pump gas station. Representatives of the Matthews-based grocery store said they do not have any further details to share at this time on the upcoming or existing location nearby.
Crow said the property’s proximity to I-485 and the airport were key factors.
“With the completion of 485, it was natural for Charlotte to kind of press outward and fill out the 485 loop,” Crow said. “It marries in the western side of the lake, the Denver area, back into Charlotte.”