Charlotte developer looks south with Rock Hill project

Charlotte's Beacon Partners is venturing into South Carolina for its next development project: 40-acre SouthCross Corporate Center in Rock Hill.

The mixed-use campus will include office/warehouse buildings and retail-restaurant frontage parcels of two to four acres in a 20-acre first phase under construction off Interstate 77 Exit 82.

The remaining 20 acres includes tracts ranging from five acres up for office, warehouse and flex space users, said Beacon's Mike Harrell, who is developing the project.

He said Beacon was attracted to Rock Hill by the undeveloped site next to The Home Depot shopping center in an area known as the "crossroads" of I-77, U.S. 21 and S.C. 161.

SouthCross will be across from River Falls, where the 1,000-acre former Celanese textile mill complex is being redeveloped as commercial, residential and manufacturing space in what could become the region's largest industrial park over 10 to 15 years.

Harrell said Rock Hill's office-warehouse market is growing because of its proximity to Charlotte -- SouthCross is within about 10 miles -- and Beacon saw an opportunity there.

It searched for about two years, he said, to find a prime location for its proven Class A business park product.

The development, leasing and management company's portfolio includes about 4 million square feet of offices and warehouses in the Charlotte area.

At SouthCross, Beacon plans buildings that will have abundant glass to create a two-story appearance, storefront entrances and rear loading doors. Harrell said four-single-story structures, 17,000 to 55,000 square feet, are to be completed early next year in the $10 million first phase.

Smaller buildings are likely to appeal to tenants who want to occupy the entire space and create their own identities within a master planned community, and the larger ones probably will end up with multiple tenants, he said.

The buildings are for sale at $65 to $110 a square foot and for lease at $6 to $14 a square foot annually, Harrell said.

Beacon plans to save many of the trees on the site and create nature trails as an amenity for corporate park tenants, he said.

As the remainder of the acreage in the park is developed, he said, the value is expected to exceed $30 million.

Beacon is working with Bryan Tuttle of The Tuttle Co. to market the project. Merriman Schmitt Architects designed the buildings. Intercon Building Corp. is the general contractor.