Charlotte City Council will hold a public hearing Monday, Feb. 8 to discuss the potential establishment of an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act District (OPRA) for properties located at 339 and 401 N. Cochran Avenue.
Anthony Faulkner, local entrepreneur and president of Precedent Properties, has requested the designation for the two properties of which he has worked to redevelop over the course of the past year. Faulkner, who has recently purchased a number of properties within the city for redevelopment said he sees a lot of opportunity for mixed-use retail, restaurant and housing space in addition to manufacturing and warehouse potential within the 57,000 square feet between the two existing buildings.
“I want to start partnering with the City of Charlotte,” Faulkner told Charlotte City Council on Monday, Jan. 25 during a presentation the outlined the rehabilitation work that has already begun. “This has to make sense for everybody; not just me, not just the city. It has to be a win/win for both of us.”
By granting the OPRA designation, the City of Charlotte would agree to freeze the current property taxes on both buildings for a period of up to 12 years. Faulkner would continue to pay property taxes at their current level and not have to pay for the increase in value while the OPRA designation exists.
“We can’t move forward, and it doesn’t make sense to go forward with a lot of investors unless I can have the OPRA to be able to suspend (the tax) going forward,” Faulkner said.
Bryan Myrkle, Community Development Director for the City of Charlotte said OPRA designations have been available in Charlotte since the city was designated a Michigan Core Community close to five years ago.
“We really look at it as an incentive to entice developers to do projects in the city,” Myrkle said. “Sensations Memory Care was actually the first project to use it.”
Faulkner said complete plans for the property include an investment of $2.75 million, which he said would create a number of jobs and additional housing.
“I’m excited about it, I’ve put a lot of money into this thing,” Faulkner said. “This is not just talk, I’ve put my money where my mouth is not only buying the buildings but in fixing them up.”
Faulkner has already had to re-mediate a number of issues with the two properties.
“The rumors were that it was contaminated, condemned, had hot spots for oil spills,” Faulkner said. “It was a lot worse than you thought it was. Because it had been so neglected, it became a blighted property by definition.”
He said the problems with the building did not outweigh the potential he saw for both buildings. The 401 N. Cochran property, the former Dennis Distributing building, he said, has 24,000 square feet of potential mixed use retail, restaurant and housing space in addition to 7,000 square feet of warehouse space. The 339 N. Cochran Property possesses 5,500 square feet of manufacturing space and another 14,000 square feet of warehouse space.
“Manufacturing and retail are two things that make sense there,” Faulkner said. “I’ve thought this through. I’m looking for investors, I’m looking for grant folks, I’m looking for people to help me make this a reality and the first step is to be able to partner (with the city).”
Faulkner said if he gets the ok from the city, he plans to work with investors to get the project rolling as soon as possible. He said work on the roof has already begun and would continue this year. The Monday, Feb. 8 Charlotte City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in council’s chambers on the second floor of City Hall.