CHARLOTTE – It’s more than just Taco Bell now.
With the completion of an office building, approval for a hospital and spaces being leased at Riverbend Village, Mountain Island’s marquee mixed-use development is coming to life this summer.
So far, what has been the most prominent structure on the 115-acre Riverbend property will soon officially become the corporate headquarters for Corning Optical Communications.
The $38 million, five-story building was completed in early July, paving the way for the fiber-optic cable company’s relocation of 650 employees from its current site in Hickory. The move will take place starting in August and continue for several weeks, a company spokesperson said.
“They’re moving here to attract talent from Charlotte’s pool of young professionals,” Lauten Crow, a partner at Riverbend developer Simpson Commercial, said last fall. “They’re excited to add high-paying engineering jobs once they move down there.”
Corning, a division of New York-based Corning Inc., also has manufacturing facilities in Concord and Wilmington.
Though not in the development’s original plans, a Novant Health hospital was approved by Charlotte City Council July 15
The health care provider was required to go through the rezoning process, since the building will add 85,000 square feet to the 125,000 initially proposed for a movie theater or bowling-type facility.
Sitting on 5.5 acres between the future Harris Teeter store and Courtyard by Marriott hotel, the hospital is projected to have 50 beds and associated medical office space but not a trauma center. The property was rezoned from single-family residential to neighborhood services and was approved despite being inconsistent with the mixed-use plan.
Justin Harlow, representing District 2 on city council, said he was pleased to have a hospital serving the area.
“The community really supports this,” Harlow said. “I’ll continue to support smart growth and bring jobs to the area out in Mountain Island Lake, which stipulates a lot of other things. I think I’ll move to support this.”
Novant is working to develop two other medical office buildings as allowed by existing zoning on an adjacent parcel, said Keith MacVean of Moore Van Allen, who represented Novant at the meeting.
The next-closest hospitals are the CaroMont Health emergency room 5 miles away in Mount Holly and Novant Huntersville Medical Center 10 miles away. Atrium Health offers urgent care as well as several primary-care facilities on Coul Oak Drive on the other side of Brookshire Boulevard.
Retail & restaurants
Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers greeted customers for the first time in July in perhaps Riverbend’s most visible location.
The next group under construction includes UPS, Viki’s Dry Cleaning and Alterations, Famous Toastery, Johnny Brusco’s Pizza and AT&T, according to MPV Properties.
Businesses recently signing leases were Chicken Salad Chick, Jersey Mike’s Subs, The Joint Chiropractic, Heartland Dental and Riverbend Orthodontics and Oral Surgery. Those will be joined by Wild Wing Café, Great Clips, and E Life Nail Spa.
MPV also announced the Chick-fil-A on the other side of Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road will relocate to Riverbend, though a time table was not specified.
The development is also home to the Riverbend Apartments, and 105 townhomes by Ryan Homes are scheduled to be ready early in 2020.
The construction for the first phase of Riverbend is nearing completion with most of the tenants scheduled to open by this fall. The second phase of retail shops will begin next year, and pre-leasing has begun. Completion for the entire project is on schedule for later next year.