Local builder Lee Kimrey confirmed for The Alamance News this week his plans to build a three-story mixed-use development at 106 North Marshall Street, at the edge of Graham’s downtown business district.
The development, which Kimrey has named 106 North, will have four commercial storefronts on the ground floor and 24 loft apartments on the second and third floors, Kimrey said Wednesday in an interview with The Alamance News. The appraised value of the project is $3.4 million, he said.
The four commercial spaces on the ground floor will range between 2,200 and 2,500 square feet; and the loft apartments will range between 650 and 800 square feet, Kimrey elaborated. Once complete, the commercial and residential spaces will have a total of approximately 30,000 square feet.
The loft apartments will be one-bedroom, with flex space that could be used to work from home, Kimrey explained in the interview. “There will be high-end upgrades that will be very appropriate for loft-style living, with nine-foot ceilings,” he said, adding that the exterior will be built of brick masonry/hardi-siding construction. The loft apartments will feature open floor plans with enormous windows; and each of the four commercial units on the ground floor will have glass storefronts, the contractor confirmed for the newspaper. The plans do not currently include an elevator, he said.
Plageman Architecture of Burlington is the architect for 106 North; and Kimrey’s company, Lee Kimrey Construction, is the builder, he said Wednesday.
Each of the loft apartments will have a balcony, while corner units will have covered exterior porches. The first floor will have a front entry with a residential lobby that will provide secure access to the residential units on the second and third floors, Kimrey told the newspaper.
The builder and former Graham city councilman acknowledged that it’s been a lengthy process to bring his vision for the property to life. Kimrey purchased the property – which consists of two adjoining lots that span about a third of an acre – in September 2019 for $170,000, as the newspaper has previously reported. The property had two one-story houses, which Kimrey estimated had been built in the late 1930s and had been used as rental properties by the previous owner.
“There’s been a delay in the process with COVID and with lenders,” Kimrey explained. “During that time, I took advantage of the opportunity to put in some of the due diligence to make sure this particular location would be suitable.”
Kimrey has since cleared the land and completed the environmental surveys needed to begin construction, he said. The existing zoning designation, B-1/central business district, allows for multiuse buildings with a residential component on the second floor or higher, Kimrey said. Because the site plan conforms to the existing zoning, it eliminated the need to secure additional approval by Graham’s planning board and/or city council before the project could proceed.
Kimrey said he hopes to start construction in early spring 2021 and is targeting completion for late spring 2022, depending on weather and other variables.
“What makes this attractive is the proximity to downtown and all of the amenities, but also the walkability, from a residential and a commercial standpoint,” Kimrey told the newspaper Wednesday. The proximity to existing residential homes and access to good parking were also pluses in considering the site for this type of development, he said.
In addition to being unique to Graham, Kimrey said that 106 North will be the largest project he has built thus far. He said he plans to work with a broker to handle the residential rentals and commercial leases, but wouldn’t elaborate on who he has in mind for that aspect of the project, since those details are still being finalized. The loft apartments will be offered for rent at market rates but specific price points are still being worked out, said Kimrey.
The builder plans to target a wide range of prospective tenants for both components of 106 North. Kimrey said he has received considerable interest in his plans for the loft apartments from young professionals and older prospective tenants looking to downsize (i.e., empty-nesters) but has probably had the most inquiries from empty-nesters.
“It makes this very attractive from a commercial standpoint because the site is not directly within the interior four blocks in the downtown central business district but enjoys all of the benefits of being downtown,” Kimrey said. “We believe the scarcity of this product – and this is pretty unique for Graham – is going to drive the desire. This is a perfect opportunity for restaurants and retail.”