By DAVID BORAKS
Demolition and construction are expected to begin soon on Mooney’s Corner, a $2.7 million mixed-use building on South Main Street next to Davidson Town Hall that has been on the drawing board since 2004. When it’s completed sometime early next year, the building will join Stowe’s Corner across the street in creating a new “gateway” to downtown, its developer said this week.
The 4-story, 14,458-square-foot project will be at 212 S. Main St., on the site of a current vacant one-story building built in 1955 to house the public library. Developer Brad Remmey said this week the existing building would be demolished as early as next week. Construction would begin shortly after.
Local architecture and planning firm The Lawrence Group designed the project and shepherded it through a variety of public meetings and workshops over the past few years. While town rules allow four stories on Main Street, some residents had expressed concern at the size. So the architects incorporated a stepped design, with three stories up against the street, and four stories in the rear. It will be “perceived as shorter than the Stowe building, and at its highest point no taller than the Stowe building,” according to architect Dave Malushizky.
Mooney’s Corner will be the second major redevelopment on South Main Street in recent years. The three-story Stowe’s Corner building was completed in 2009 on the site of the old Stowe’s Exxon, at South Main and South streets. This project will continue the transformation, according to Mr. Remmey.
“I hope it’s the continuing of a renaissance for South and mid-Main Street, with the Stowe building there … it has done wonders for downtown,” Mr. Remmey said in an interview. “I think this building will just add to that. … These two buildings can present a nice little gateway.”
Mr. Remmey acknowledged that the project “has been a long time in coming,” after first being proposed in 2004. The project had gone through various design revisions, and then had been on hold in recent years amid the real estate slump.
Mooney’s Corner, named for a hardware store that once occupied the site, received all the necessary approvals from the Town Board and Design Review Board over the past few years. Those include an easement allowing the building footprint to cover its lot, and Design Review Board approval to demolish the existing building. The developer also has hired a tree service to save and protect an old oak just south of the building.
The only question that remained was when the work might start.
Mr. Remmey said the final pieces fell into place when local insurance firm J.J. Wade & Associates agreed to lease the entire building. The Davidson-based firm will move from offices right next door, at 208 S. Main St. J.J. Wade will take the whole building, although there’s a chance another local business could wind up sharing the ground-floor retail space, Mr. Remmey said.
The developer has financing from Bank of North Carolina in Charlotte. Heard Ratzlaff/HR Construction of Charlotte is the general contractor.
Demolition could happen next week, and construction would begin soon after. During construction, about half the parking lot at Town Hall will be closed. The project is expected to be completed by February 2013, Mr. Remmey said.
See previous coverage under the Mooney’s Corner tag.