BY PAT KIMBROUGH
ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
Surveying lot lines. Engineering and architectural plans. Utility easements.
The ongoing work in preparation for development projects around the city’s stadium is far from glamorous.
But for Tim Elliott, managing partner of Elliott Sidewalk Communities in Maryland, it’s an essential part of the groundwork for a hotel and mixed-use building expected to break ground in the coming months at N. Elm Street and Church Avenue, just beyond the stadium’s outfield wall.
“We’re kind of in what I would call the banal phase of development — a lot of the stuff that nobody actually sees, but takes time to get done,” said Elliott, whose firm was hired by the city last year as “master developer,” tasked with designing and developing the area around the stadium, now under construction and scheduled to open in May 2019 with an Atlantic League of Professional Baseball team as primary tenant.
In May, he announced $80 million of projects will be coming within the next three years: a 120-room hotel, a 120-unit apartment building and two mixed-use buildings with retail, office and residential space, for a total of about 505,500 square feet on 4 acres around the stadium.
Things are still on the schedule laid out then, with the hotel and one of the mixed-use buildings to open in time for baseball opening day in spring 2020, he said.
Details of any of the projects — such as commitments for who’s going to build what and who the tenants will be in the retail and office buildings — can’t be firmed up until certain technical matters related to the building sites are worked out, he said.
For instance, Elliott said, “We are in the middle of working with the city to take a large parcel and get it into smaller parcels that are recognized by the city as a legal lots — and to survey each lot.”
This is one of the legal aspects of the process that has to be complete before the specifics of each building — design, square footage, cost, and so forth — can be nailed down and shopped to prospects.
“We’re meeting, as we speak, with possible partners to develop with us,” he said. “Some things we’ll do on our own. Some building we’ll have partners with.”
Another developer in the mix is The Carroll Cos. of Greensboro, which announced last September that it will build a hotel “in the downtown stadium area.”
Chairman and CEO Roy Carroll said Thursday that representatives from his company have been in regular contact with Elliott’s team, but that he’s waiting on specifics.
“We’ve been waiting for Mr. Elliott to show us exactly where the site is for the hotel. I don’t think we’ve made any strides in the last six to nine months,” Carroll said. “We would not be looking to do a partnership. I assume they would identify the site, we would reach an agreement on the price, and we’d buy the site and build the hotel.”
He said there is a meeting with Elliott’s team scheduled for early September.
“I wish we were further along,” said Carroll. “I still believe in the project. I think it would be great for High Point.”
Forward High Point Executive Director Ray Gibbs, who’s working closely with Elliott’s team, said a lot of developers have expressed interest.
“Once he’s done his market analysis and financials and cost estimates to share with them, then they have to make a real decision — can they make those numbers fit with their financial program?” Gibbs said.
City Councilman Jason Ewing said of Elliott’s plans: “One of the things we had talked to him about in one of the last meetings we had was that our preference would be for this to be developed by a local developer. But we also understand that he’s on a certain schedule to get these buildings coming out of the ground, and if local developers aren’t ready to move as fast as he needs to be, he’s going to have to go to ‘Plan B.’”
In an interview Friday, Elliott offered some new details of his development plans for the plaza entrance to the stadium at Church Avenue and N. Elm Street between the planned hotel and first mixed-use building.
“The Church Street promenade into the stadium will become the focal point of retail and festival activity in the future, and we are finalizing the plans for that,” he said. “That’s going to be a very, very exciting space for the city. It’s going to have a brewpub and will have two restaurants, and an open marketplace that will have food stalls.”