Beacon Partners' latest mixed-use development in South End has reached a big construction milestone.
The RailYard, which includes two, eight-story buildings with 300,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, on Friday officially topped out, signifying the completion of vertical construction in a real estate development. The project is now about halfway finished and remains on schedule for completion in the first quarter of 2019, said Steve Piermattei, senior project manager at Edifice Inc., The RailYard's general contractor.
Piermattei said from a construction perspective, The RailYard is unique because of the physical elements being used to pay homage to the site's former use as an actual rail yard — in 1852, the first train that traveled between Charlotte and Columbia, S.C., passed through the site, said Matt Lucarelli, director of project management at Beacon. Today, the 3.5-acre block is bounded by Tryon, Bland, Winnifred and Winona streets in booming South End.
"Sometimes projects are just projects, but this one is important to Charlotte and to South End," Lucarelli said.
Beacon and architect RBA Group are incorporating dark colors and specific materials into the building design. Instead of a wall of precast concrete, for instance, The RailYard will have 150 feet of brick, which Piermattei said is unusual in construction today. A lot of visual emphasis is being put on the steel and brick elements of the project, he continued.
"They're going for a specific look with the masonry," he said. The site also includes a 15,000-square-foot brick public courtyard, called the Yard, between the two buildings.
And in keeping with the theme, instead of the traditional beam that gets hoisted up and placed during a topping-out ceremony, a railroad tie was signed by the construction crew and other team members. It will eventually be displayed in The RailYard project.
Construction on the parking deck will begin in the next few weeks. Apartmentsby David Furman will eventually wrap the deck. Piermattei said that piece of the project is in design today and should be under construction once the deck is erected, estimating work on the apartments to begin in the fall. The RailYard broke ground in November and today has about 180 construction workers employed on the site, according to Edifice.
The RailYard has already attracted tenant interest from some big names. EY is leasing about 30,000 square feet at the project for a new innovation center. Allstate is also said to be a major tenant at the project but neither the insurance provider nor Beacon Partners has confirmed whether a deal has been signed or how much space Allstate could take at The RailYard. Allstate is planning a large expansion here, bringing new 2,250 jobs over the next few years to Mecklenburg County.
Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is providing construction financing for The RailYard.