Written by David Bracken | TRIANGLE NEWS & OBSERVER
RALEIGH — A Texas developer plans to invest $90 million transforming a 10-acre site along Glenwood Avenue into a mix of high-end restaurants, retail shops and apartments.
Fort Worth-based Trademark Property Co. unveiled plans this week for Carolina Row at Crabtree Valley, which is expected to include between 125,000 and 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and as many as 175 apartments located above the shops.
Carolina Row would be directly across Glenwood from Crabtree Valley Mall, and the plans call for a pedestrian bridge to connect the two shopping destinations.
“Basically, this will be the expansion and evolution of the Crabtree Valley district,” said Terry Montesi, Trademark’s CEO.
Trademark has put the land under contract and expects construction to begin in the spring of next year. It is expected to open in late 2016.
Carolina Row is one piece of a 30-acre master-planned project that also involves EYC Companies, a South Carolina apartment developer, and Rockbridge Capital, an Ohio private equity firm that bought the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley in September.
EYC owns a 10-acre site behind where Carolina Row will be built that includes the 71-unit Richmond Hills Apartments. EYC plans to eventually tear down Richmond Hills and replace it with a new apartment complex with up to 530 apartments. Last year, EYC successfully rezoned its property and the Carolina Row site.
Rockbridge is planning major renovations to the 10-acre site that includes the Marriott. The private equity firm has hired Raleigh-based Concord Hospitality Enterprises to manage the hotel.
Montesi said the three owners are working in concert on the parking and road infrastructure of the project, and plan to coordinate the branding of it.
“We’re all working together,” he said. “We’ll be doing the retail and commercial mixed-use piece up front on Glenwood.”
Montesi said Trademark got involved in the project after Ellis Coleman, EYC’s founder, contacted the company to see if they were interested.
Carolina Row will be Trademark’s first project in North Carolina. The Carolina Row site plan shows walkable areas around a centralized public space, with the street grid snaking throughout the development.
The company has developed similar shopping and retail centers in Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee and currently has projects under construction in Napa, Calif., and elsewhere. Montesi said Trademark was drawn to Raleigh by both its demographics and growing population.
“Raleigh is a great market from a macroeconomic standpoint,” he said. “Crabtree Valley is a very, very successful mall and retail place, and there are still a number of retailers that would like to be in that area.”
Carolina Row will be targeting luxury retailers, ones that sell higher priced goods than you’d typically find in a mall such as Crabtree. Trademark describes the project on its website as being a “development where southern sophistication meets contemporary main street.”
Trademark executives are headed to Las Vegas next month to meet with several retailers it is targeting for Carolina Row.
“Our very preliminary analysis is there are a lot of voids,” Montesi said. “Given the size of the market and the success of Crabtree Valley, there are a number of tenants that want to be there. We’ve talked to a few and gotten good preliminary feedback.”
Trademark estimates its portion of Carolina Row will cost between $90 million and $100 million to complete. The company finances its projects individually, with some money coming from institutional investors and Trademark itself providing some equity.
Traffic is always a concern when any new project is proposed in the Crabtree area, and Trademark plans to conduct its own traffic study. But Montesi said, based on the initial studies conducted by EYC, the property owners are confident they can make it work.
“We’ve studied it ... we think it can work out very nicely,” he said.