A $330 million uptown mixed-use project long in the making was formally opened with great fanfare on Thursday morning.
At 300 South Tryon and Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, two connected buildings that wrapped up construction over the past few months, an aerialist from The Nouveau Sud Project dangled from a ribbon high above executives from Barings, The Spectrum Cos., Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and other groups. The executives cut a (separate) ribbon on a project that includes a 630,000-square-foot office tower and 217-room hotel developed over three years in uptown Charlotte's Third Ward.
The office tower, at the corner of Tryon and Third streets, is anchored by global investment management firm Barings, which has moved into its new headquarters space on the top eight floors of the building. Other signed tenants at 300 South Tryon, currently more than 50% leased, include King & Spalding, Winston & Strawn, Elior North America, CapTech, FCA Partners, Knoll and The Spectrum Cos.
The 1.6-acre site where 300 South Tryon and Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel are now open has long been planned for development, said Darryl Dewberry, chairman and CEO of The Spectrum Cos. In fact, grading had begun on the site for a different project in 2007. But in January 2008, that mixed-use development featuring office, retail and residential condos was halted.
Though the original project didn't come to fruition, Dewberry said a better project was ultimately developed following the recession in partnership with Barings, on behalf of MassMutual; architect LS3P Associates; and builder Balfour Beatty.
“It really fits, to me, Barings’ personality,” he said. “It’s very upscale. It’s modern. It’s people-centered.”
As part of the ceremony, Dewberry announced that Spectrum co-founder Jim Dulin will be retiring from the company at year's end after more than three decades. Dulin started Spectrum in 1982 with partners Bill McGuire and Bob Street.
“I’m very proud to have been his partner for 30 years,” Dewberry said, adding that Dulin helped drive Spectrum’s success and the company’s growth from three to 100-plus employees in the past 35 years.
300 South Tryon marks what Dewberry called possibly the most meaningful project in Spectrum’s portfolio.
Tom Finke, CEO of Barings, said an “army of people” allowed the vision of 300 South Tryon to be realized. Barings, with about $300 billion in assets under management, made a significant commitment to Charlotte in 2014 when it announced it would anchor the office building.
Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, said the 2010s began with an absence of uptown office development, which changed when Spectrum and Barings broke ground on 300 South Tryon in late 2014. It was the first office tower to come out of the ground following the recession.
Since then, several new office towers have begun construction or completed — and center city Charlotte will see north of 5 million square feet delivered in this decade, Smith said.
“Office space is the infrastructure for job growth," said Smith. "Job growth and new office space are almost perfectly correlated. This decade’s 5 million square feet should translate into another 20,000 jobs for our center city.”
A public piece of the project is a linear park developed along the edge of the office tower and hotel. Michael Kirschman, deputy director at Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, noted that Romare Bearden Park, which opened five years ago, has become an economic driver for Third Ward and a "centerpiece" for the city. The park now continues to Tryon Street, with a promenade developed along Third Street as part of 300 South Tryon that has the same color palette and materials used in Romare Bearden.
Parliament Espresso & Coffee Bar, a concept by 300 South Tryon tenant Elior North America, is expected to open in the office building next month, with an opening onto the promenade.
The other component of the overall mixed-use development is Charlotte’s first Kimpton hotel: Kimpton Tryon Park, at the intersection of Third and Church streets. San Franciso-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has 64 hotels and 75 restaurants and bars, with its boutique aesthetic and chef-driven venues key themes of the hotels — though no two Kimptons are alike, said Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.
“After one development is done, we rip up the blueprints and start the next one anew,” he said.
Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel includes 217 rooms, more than 9,000 square feet of meeting and events space, rooftop bar Merchant & Trade, and an Italian-inspired restaurant called Angeline’s, among other amenities.
DeFrino said the staff at Kimpton Tryon Park recently ensured a guest who requested a blanket fort as part of his reservation had a blanket fort waiting for him when he checked in last week.
“That’s some of the attitude that we bring to the hospitality business — a little bit of irreverence and off-script work,” DeFrino said.
Rob Hannigan, general manager of the Kimpton Tryon Park, said the Kimpton and Charlotte were a “natural match,” noting that the company aims to be part of the community through partnerships with nonprofits like Read Charlotte.
Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said having a Kimpton hotel is a big deal for Charlotte. Murray was formerly an executive with InterContinental Hotels Group, the parent of Kimpton.
“I can tell you in my 35 years there was not a hotel company I respected more or looked at more than the Kimpton hotels,” he said. “When I heard that we were getting a Kimpton hotel, I knew that this was a special moment for us as a city.”
Cooper Carry out of Atlanta was the architect at the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel. Balfour Beatty was the general contractor on that project as well as 300 South Tryon.
Charlotte Business Journal