Asana Partners



Asana Partners to acquire retail portion of 3 Crescent Communities projects

December 6, 2017

Two Charlotte-based companies said Wednesday that they’ve reached a deal that is expected to bring more shops and restaurants to a trio of major new developments.

Crescent Communities will sell the retail space at three new projects – one in NoDa, two in uptown – to Asana Partners, which will own, lease and manage the space.

Except for Whole Foods, under construction uptown, no tenants have been announced at the new developments, meaning Asana Partners will be charged with bringing a lineup of new retailers and restaurateurs to the prominent locations.

On Stonewall Street alone, Crescent Communities is building 459 apartments, a 26-story office tower, a 300-room hotel, the Whole Foods and additional retail space.

“The Stonewall corridor in uptown Charlotte is primed for retail and restaurants that will fully complement the growing residential and business communities,” said Sam Judd, Asana’s managing partner. “There is big opportunity to do something special here.”

Crescent Communities is one of Charlotte’s biggest developers. Asana Partners is a newer company, founded in 2015 by three former executives from shopping center owner and developer Edens. They’ve already spent about $85 million in Charlotte buying buildings such as the Design Center of the Carolinas, the former Phat Burrito building and the former James, McElroy & Diehl building on Stonewall Street.

The price Asana Partners and Crescent Communities agreed to for the purchase of 120,000 square feet of retail space was not disclosed, and real estate records were not immediately available Wednesday. Here’s a breakdown of what Asana Partners is buying:

▪ Stonewall Station: Asana Partners’ acquisition includes the 38,000-square foot Whole Foods Market under construction at Novel Stonewall Station and 22,000 square feet of additional ground-floor retail. Tenants haven’t been announced for that space, next to the Blue Line light rail. Whole Foods is expected to open in 2018.

The store, uptown’s first full-scale grocer, had been the subject of a lawsuit from a Florida company, which claimed Crescent Communities tried to squeeze it out of a deal. Regency, a real estate firm, said it had an agreement to buy the store from Crescent Communities for $17.25 million, which Crescent countered was preliminary and non-binding. The outcome of the lawsuit wasn’t immediately known.

In addition to the apartments and retail space, separate developers are building two 10-story hotels on the Novel Stonewall Station site.

▪ Ally Charlotte Center: At Stonewall and Tryon streets, Crescent is developing a 26-story office tower anchored by Ally Financial, which is expected to start construction in the first quarter of 2018 and open in 2021. Asana Partners is buying 25,000 square feet of shops and restaurants at the development. The ground-floor retail space will front Stonewall, Tryon and Hill streets. No tenants have been announced.

Asana Partners spent $6.4 million this summer to buy the historic building occupied by James, McElroy & Diehl at Stonewall and College streets, on the same block as Crescent Communities’ development. The law firm is relocating, and Crescent Communities said its Ally Financial development will “seamlessly” connect to the additional retail being developed by Asana Partners.

Brian Leary, president of commercial and mixed-use development at Crescent Communities, said he expects Asana Partners to use their chef and restaurant connections to lure high-quality tenants. “Asana Partners has proven to be a catalyzing force raising the bar with regard to retail and restaurants in Charlotte,” Leary said.

▪ NoDa: At the 36th Street station of the Blue Line light rail extension, Crescent Communities recently opened an apartment building called Novel NoDa. Asana Partners is buying the retail portion of that development, which includes 7,600 square feet on the ground floor of the apartment building and 22,000 square feet in a separate, adjacent building.

That second building should be complete in summer 2018, with retail and restaurants. No tenants have been announced for the space.

“We’ve long-viewed a street-level experience alive with shops and restaurants as a most-complementary amenity,” said Michael Tubridy, managing director of Crescent Communities.

SOURCE: The Charlotte Observer, Ely Portillo