Edison Plans Scaled Down, but Inching Forward

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A renderig of the original vision for "The Edison" towers.

Plans for the $400 million  mixed-used development downtown known as “The Edison” are moving forward, but on a much smaller scale.

In 2006, Edison Land, LLC developers purchased about four acres in the block bordered by Wilmington, Martin, Blount and Davie Streets. Developers envisioned four towers soaring as high as 38 stories.

Instead, Phase One of the project will be a $30 million six-story residential mixed-use development with 239 units and 18,000 square feet of retail space. The Edison Apartments will be constructed on the southern side of the block.

Edison developer Gregg Sandreuter confirmed the scaled-back scope of phase one this week, but did not say what his plans are for the remaining part of the property.

For now, the recession has reduced the likelihood of taller office building construction.

“It is dramatically scaled back from the original plan for that block,” said City Manager Russell Allen.

A rendering of the possible Edison Apartments along Davie Street. Site plans have not yet been submitted to the city.

City councilors Tuesday agreed to sell 300 downtown parking spaces in the Blount Street parking deck to Edison Land LLC for $8.2 million. The spaces will accompany the first phase of the project. Per the agreement, Edison Land will lease-to-own the spaces at $27,000 each during the next 20 years.

Edison has until Jan. 1, 2013 to begin construction. Developers have not yet submitted the phase one plans to the city for approval.

“But, the parking is a critical component for the developer to be successful in getting their financing and starting the process,” Allen said.

The proposal includes razing Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue, which has been in its Davie Street location since 1938. Cooper’s Owner Randy Holt said his plans for the eatery are up in the air until the developer’s plans are settled.

“If we did move we would try to stay in the same general location,” he said.

Per the agreement, Edison has the option to purchase the two empty retail spaces within the Blount Street deck at a minimum cost of about $426,000 — the city’s build cost. Allen said that one of the empty retail spaces could be a potential storefront for the displaced restaurant.

Allen told members of the Budget and Economic Development Committee the parking lease is a win for both sides: Edison Land can begin building and the city can recoup the deck cost. Construction the parking deck cost the city about $17,000 per space.

A rendering of the possible Edison Apartments along Davie Street. Site plans have not yet been submitted to the city.