Let's Keep Knightdale Upscale! (Or, why *I* love this friggin' town, reason #12,154)
West Village Phase II site renderings - Part 2

West Village Phase II site renderings - Part 1

As construction continues all around the old Liggett plants that are part of Phase II of the West Village project, banners on the front of the construction site note that Vanguard Property Group is handling retail leasing while Colliers Pinkard is covering commercial leasing for the project.  (Colliers Pinkard has until recently handled leasing for American Tobacco's first phase, though CB Richard Ellis has taken over this role for some of these buildings now.)

Colliers Pinkard has posted building information and property flyers to CoStar, the commercial property leasing database. Today let's walk through some of the highlights of that material.

First, the master site plan (click on the image for a larger version). Residential spaces are in red, commercial office/lab space in orange, and retail in blue, though there's residential in the Chesterfield building at the bottom left too:


A few things stand out on this plan. First and foremost is the significant attention to parking adjacency in the plan. There's a parking structure rising currently off Morgan St. near the cluster of office space/labs, but at the same time, the plan calls for the lowest level of the Chesterfield factory to serve as parking as well. (I'm not sure if this was extant parking in the factory as built or a conversion of the lowest-floor space.) Additionally, there's significant new surface parking on both sides of the Walker Building, with the western Walker lot circling back through to the lot nearest the train tracks.

It's interesting to see the clustering of retail along Main Street. There's always a challenge of downtown shopping/retail districts in trying to appeal to those who are looking for a leisurely, walk/bike experience to get to a store versus commuters or out-of-town visitors who want to park right near the front door. As designed, the retail space along Main provides a single-strand that can appeal to strollers and is an easy connection from Brightleaf/Peabody Place. At the same time, car-bound visitors have surface parking at Walker, along the train tracks, and on the ground floor of the Chesterfield -- along with a surface lot loop pattern that provides a quick-out connection back to Main Street.

At the same time, the use of the buildings north of Main for office space, along with some mixed retail, makes sense given their proximity to the new structured parking deck. Quick-in/quick-out is not as much a factor for the office drone commuter (wait, creative class office drone -- sorry!), making this a better home for this use. It should be noted that, in the long run, it would be great to see something more creative done with the surface parking lot to the east of the O'Brien building, which (with the DATA station and the abysmal Downtown Loop) contributes to the feeling of 'dead space' between downtown and West Village/Brightleaf.

Today, a look at the key buildings on the south side of Main. Later this week, we'll come back to the north side of the complex.

Chesterfield_crosssxnHere's a cross-sectional view of the Chesterfield. From the leasing flyer: "The Chesterfield Factory is the truest definition of mixed use. It houses 132 apartments, approximately 100,000 square feet of Class A office space, and 8,900 square feet of retail.  At seven floors and nearly 337,000 square feet, it is the largest building in West Village. Because of its large footprint and height, an 90' x 82' light well will be cut through the roof, allowing natural sunlight into the building's interior apartment units as well as the Class A office space." The Chesterfield will have 70 parking spaces in its lower level as well as ceiling heights from 12'-15'.

The CoStar database entry claims that the Chesterfield is already 67.7% leased for office space, though no news yet on who's leased that space.

The Walker building, at the southeast corner of West Village, has been making the rounds in the news as the on-again, off-again site for the new Durham Amtrak station. It's clearly still on the developers' mind, from the building description: "The Walker Warehouse Building will offer a variety of entertainment and retail amenities that could easily benefit travelers, locals, and the residents and employees that live and work at West Village. The Walker Building will continue the retail corridor between Brightleaf Square and the downtown central business district. Restaurants, a coffee shop, or even a small urban grocery store/café are concepts being considered.  The remaining space is being weighed as a location for Durham’s new Amtrak Station which, if introduced, will be up fitted in keeping with the design of other historic train stations located throughout North Carolina."

According to the demographic projections listed, the 3-mile radius population has grown from 101,000 in 2000 to a projected 117,000 by the end of 2008 -- with average household income in that radius increasing dramatically, from $42,000 to $55,000 over the same period.

Walker The site plan as shown here clusters retail in the north side of the building with the train station on the south end. The patio and plazas design does seem logical for the kind of retailers West Village is proposing -- it seems the 6,000 sq. ft. space would be envisioned for the 'urban grocery store' discussed, though it's possible the pending opening of Parker and Otis in the old Fowler's space (which will attempt to at least stock grocery basics) will fill a significant part of that niche. Of course, on the other hand, the Walker Building has far better parking than Peabody Place.

If there is a concern with the design, it's that all the activity from this 'retail center' along Main St. is oriented... well, away from Main St. (In the site plan above, Main Street would be on the right side of the image, running top to bottom in the picture. The train tracks are on the left side of the site plan.) Looks like the one entrance from Main is set to be a service corridor entrance to let shippers cart packages into and out of the space. An ideal downtown streetscape would have activity facing out into the road, rather than segmented off into the parking lots. Still, it's good to see the prevalence of small retail spaces that may be able to draw locally-owned businesses rather than your typical massive chains.

Nothing is posted to Colliers Pinkard's site on the retail building between the Chesterfield and Walker buildings, and naturally, the apartment building's not listed. More on those as information becomes available.



wow, this is exciting, it should be nice. Once Greenfire opens up their part of main street and tobacco III finishes there will be a truly complete downtown, and much more dense and walkable than Raleigh, although I like Raleigh too, but it doesn't have the character in the buildings that Durham does. BTW, when are they supposed to start on the Chesterfield building? It doesn't seem like anything is going on there yet.


Fun fact about the Chesterfield Building: it is the largest in Durham by cubic footage. I have a lot of great photos of the old tobacco equipment that I took during the temporary art installation, I'll try to dig them up and post online. With those 20-ft. ceilings it should make a great loft space.

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