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RiverGate Plans Expansion

RiverGate Fountain(November 20, 2011) Childress Klein Properties, developers of the RiverGate Shopping Center, and Steele Creek 1997 Limited Partnership (the owner of the property next to RiverGate) have submitted two rezoning petitions to allow development of additional office and retail space. Much of the property is currently zoned for apartments.

Rezoning Petition 2011-083 would change the zoning of the land south of Walkers Branch Drive from Multi-Family to Commercial Center and allow up to 155,000 square feet of pedestrian-friendly retail development. This would be an extension of the RiverGate Shopping Center.

The site plan shows three small buildings along Walkers Branch Drive, an additional free standing building at Steele Creek Road, and a row of retail sites with a variety of sizes along the southern edge of the property. Only one of the free standing buildings will have a drive through window, and one must house a medical or general office. Chris Thomas of Childress Klein said that they are in discussions with a variety of retailers that are different from those currently in RiverGate. Potential tenants include an arts and crafts store, a cosmetics store, and a full line department store.

The variety of retail will "prevent you from having to drive into town” to buy supplies for your kids' school projects or for other things currently not available in Steele Creek. "The new retail will be complementary to current RiverGate stores," he said.

The row of stores along the south edge of the property will have a gap where a plaza will be built. This plaza will provide access to a greenway trail that the developers will build to the west approximately 1000 feet to Steele Creek Road. The greenway trail will be built to Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation standards with an 8-foot wide asphalt surface. The plaza will not be a focal point for events at the center. The current fountain area will retain that function.

The new plan also calls for up to 100,000 square feet of office space west of Steele Creek Road. The western edge of this section follows the old alignment of Steele Creek Road, which will be restored up to S Tryon Street/York Road. The plan also calls for an extension of Steelecroft Parkway to Steele Creek Road at Walker Branch Drive.

Part of the area planned for office development currently is zoned for apartments. Rezoning Petition 2011-082 requests a change to make the entire property CC (Commercial Center).

The public hearing before the Charlotte City Council is scheduled for December 12. If the rezoning is approved, Mr. Thomas expects construction on the retail area to begin in spring 2012 with stores opening in 2013. The office section will be built later.

Steele Creek is acquiring more and more retail and other services that previously have only been available to us in Charlotte or Pineville. This expansion of RiverGate will mean that leaving Steele Creek to find specialized goods and services will become less and less necessary.

Steele Creek 1997 Limited Partnership is owned by Mrs. Sarah Belk Gambrell, daughter of Mr. William Henry Belk, founder of Belk department Stores. Steele Creek 1997 Limited Partnership is one of the largest owners of undeveloped property in Steele Creek.

For more information on the project, please review the rezoning petitions.

To comment on this story, please visit the Steele Creek Forum.

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