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Beacon Partners starting work on seven-story office and retail building

By Will Boye  |  Senior Staff Writer  Charlotte Business Journal

Beacon Partners is breaking ground this week for 500 East Morehead, a seven-story office building with ground-floor retail on East Morehead Street, next door to the Dowd YMCA.

The commercial real estate firm expects to start demolition today on a vacant, 44,000-square-foot building at the 2.5-acre site. The demolition process will take six to eight weeks, says Mike Harrell, a partner with Beacon, and will be followed by vertical construction of the building, which will total 180,000 square feet and will feature 15,000 square feet of retail space. The development, at the intersection of East Morehead and South Caldwell streets, is expected to be complete by November 2016.

Beacon is moving forward with 500 East Morehead on a speculative basis, meaning it has no tenants signed prior to construction, but Harrell says interest in the development among office users has been strong.

“We think the timing is right for new product at this location,” he says. “There’s lots of interest.”

Beacon is targeting an on-site coffee shop, casual lunch spot and upscale restaurant for the building’s retail space. Plans for the building also include a conference center, workout facility with locker rooms, three outdoor terraces and a 1,000-square-foot rooftop terrace with outdoor seating and views of uptown, South End and Dilworth.

With a planned $20 million renovation, the Dowd YMCA is planning some major construction work of its own next door, starting in late 2015.

Beacon is also building the 1616 Center building in South End, which is approximately 50% leased and scheduled to be complete in November of this year. With the addition of 500 East Morehead, Beacon’s office portfolio in midtown Charlotte would total more than 700,000 square feet. Beacon and Morehead Properties merged their office holdings into a single portfolio earlier this year.

The Charlotte market is seeing a resurgence of office development: The 500 East Morehead project would deliver around the same time as 615 South College, a 19-story office building that Portman Holdings plans to build next door to The Westin Charlotte, with work expected to begin there shortly. 300 South Tryon, a 25-story tower that broke ground at the end of 2014, is expected to be complete by the spring of 2017.

And Crescent Communities expects to break ground on Tryon Place, a 27-story office tower at the intersection of Tryon and Stonewall streets, in the fourth quarter, with completion slated for the second quarter of 2018.

Charlie Swanson and Kristy Venning with Beacon are handling leasing for 500 East Morehead. Balfour Beatty is the general contractor, and BB+M is the architect.

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