A national mattress retailer and a cell phone dealer are coming to former fast-food spaces on Cherry Road, said developer David Hendrick of New South Properties.
Hendrick said his company has reached an agreement with The Mattress Firm to build a 6,000-square-foot store at 2564 Cherry Road, the former site of Bucko's barbecue restaurant, next to Queen City Appliances. Hendrick said the restaurant building has been demolished and a new build-to-suit facility will be constructed for The Mattress Firm.
The Houston-based mattress retailer has almost 500 stores in 22 states. The nearest location is in Pineville, N.C.
Down the street, a Verizon Wireless dealer has signed a lease with New South for the former Long John Silver's restaurant in front of the Northeast Plaza, Hendrick said.
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The seafood restaurant closed last year, and Hendrick said the cell phone store will be open next year.
"They're already in there scraping around and doing what they need to do to upfit the restaurant space," he said.
Tenants sought for Bi-Lo space
The arrival of Verizon and The Mattress Firm signal the first visible progress for New South's multimillion dollar plans to rejuvenate the north end of Cherry Road and the Northeast Plaza.
The Herald recently reported the company's intentions to renovate storefronts, pave the parking lot and fill empty shops. Hendrick said Tuesday that meetings are scheduled with prospective tenants for the old Bi-Lo store, which moved to a new location on Cherry Road a few weeks ago.
Hendrick said New South is targeting home furnishings, sporting goods or a discount clothing or department store to anchor the plaza.
Renovations are slated to begin next month, Hendrick said, and likely will be completed by summer 2008.
The plans are welcomed by area businesses that have watched traffic dissipate as many Cherry Road businesses have moved to Dave Lyle Boulevard and other parts of town.
"From the plans I've seen, it looks like it will really help out business," said Teddy Simpson, owner of Better-Pak shipping service. He said walk-in traffic has slowed down since Bi-Lo moved, but seeing improvements under way has been encouraging. He's hoping plans to modernize the late-1970s look of the plaza will be a boon to his business.
Hendrick believes recent city improvements to Cherry Road, paired with his remodeling plans, will re-energize one of the busiest roads in town.
"We're doing everything we can to fill that big box," he said. "We're excited about Cherry Road. The worst is behind us."