HIGH POINT — One of the developers involved in the city’s downtown catalyst project area says a new incentives policy is helping compensate for a downturn in the commercial office market.
Tim Elliott, managing partner of Elliott Sidewalk Communities, said his firm is in “active negotiations” with three prospective office tenants for space at 275 North Elm, a mixed-use building under construction outside Truist Point stadium.
With the demand for office space dropping in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as people work from home, Elliott said he hopes possible cash grants, rent reimbursements and other incentives from the city will help him lease the 36,000 square feet of space on the second and third floors.
“If we can provide ‘Class A’ office space for ‘Class D’ prices, that makes a huge difference,” Elliott said. “Prior to that (policy), we literally had zero tenant interest. Now, we have lots of interest and we look forward to more.”
He said the policy, approved by the City Council in July, could lower the rent from around $26 to $5 per square foot for an office tenant in the first year, with smaller reductions to follow for a period of time.
The other incentives — up to $50,000 for new office construction or major renovations and up to $3,000 per job created — also offer significant financial advantages for a tenant, he said.
“We’ve seen and been told by our private partnerships from multiple investors that this incentive has actually gotten traction going pretty quickly,” said Councilman Chris Williams.
Elliott said 275 North Elm will open this summer with a food hall on the first floor. He said five food vendors so far are signed and he expects the other half of the venue to be leased soon.
The concept of the project remains the same as what organizers unveiled in the spring of 2019 — local food vendors operating during High Point Rockers games and throughout the year as a key component of downtown revitalization.
“You can walk in and get whatever you like — these are gourmet burgers, executive chefs, high-quality food truck operators that are (offering) a really unique menu,” he said.
Elliott, who was hired by the council in 2017 as the city’s “master developer” to oversee growth in the immediate area around the stadium, reiterated his firm’s commitment to the project, which paused construction in March due to the pandemic, but has since resumed.
“We’re going to have this building. It’s going to be a $12 million investment,” he said.
He added that his company is also committed to future projects, which include a building with parking, retail and hospitality uses, a condominium project and an apartment building and parking deck.
In a few weeks, he said his company will be buying the land for the second mixed-use building, including the Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics property.