Hickory is getting what City Manager Warren Wood calls a “first-of-its-kind downtown development” — One North Center, a $19 million, six-story apartment project. The apartments will range from 589 square feet to 1,206 square feet and lease from $925 to $1,650 monthly. The project reflects an increased dynamism for the city 60 miles northwest of Charlotte that took its lumps as furniture and textile industries faded in recent decades. The apartments are expected to open by early 2021.
Hickory has recovered with key corporate employers including Corning, Transportation Insights, CommScope and Shurtape helping lead a resurgence. We asked for comment about the project from developer David Looper, who is based in Hickory. His emailed comments are edited for clarity and brevity.
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Why did you think now is the right time for this project?
Hickory celebrates the completion of its Union Square downtown renovations this month, at the same time it officially breaks ground on a 10-foot-wide City Walk that will run along Main Avenue for approximately 1.7 miles through downtown Hickory and connect with Lenoir Rhyne University. One North Center will be built at the intersection of North Center Street and Main Avenue — less than a quarter mile from the multiuse City Walk.
Hickory offers wide appeal to those seeking a well-rounded community, short commutes, great educational institutions, excellent healthcare and more.
What makes you optimistic about Hickory’s future?
Hickory continues to evolve and reinvent itself, capturing the attention of new businesses and residents with great parks, recreational opportunities, outdoor adventures on Lake Hickory, eclectic downtown shops, a growing craft beer scene and an arts and cultural community that rivals cities twice the size.
Will One North Center attract more Millennials or empty-nesters?
One North Center is designed to appeal to both the younger demographic and empty nesters who value a walkable community, polished new construction and the inclusion of modern amenities.
Is the city of Hickory contributing money to the project?
The City of Hickory’s participation in this public/private venture is $3.5M and addresses unsuitable soils and unusual development conditions on the site and other economic development goals for the city.
Tell us a bit about your company.
For more than 26 years, David E. Looper & Company and sister company Delco Development Services have created a portfolio of design/build projects including multifamily, retail, mixed-use, healthcare and industrial properties. The company has offices in Hickory and Charleston, S.C., with employees working with clients in the Carolinas and Florida.. One North Center, LLC involves architectural services from BB+M Architecture and property management services by Lat Purser & Associates, Inc., both Charlotte companies.