Developer to start shopping center project in Union Co., N.C.

May 13--Charlotte's JDH Capital LLC is the latest commercial developer to follow strong residential growth into Union County.

It plans to break ground within the next 30 days on The Shoppes at Wesley Chapel, a $23 million, 98,915-square-foot shopping center at N.C. 84 and Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road in Wesley Chapel.

Winston-Salem-based Lowes Foods will be the anchor with a 49,495-square-foot FreshSmart supermarket.

The grocery is expected open in spring 2009. JDH anticipates full occupancy of the center by the summer of 2009.

So far tenants have signed for about 80 percent of the space, said Alan Marshall, JDH's northern region vice president of leasing and sales.

Housing development, high per-capita income levels in the immediate area and the prime north-south/east-west intersection attracted JDH, said development vice president Mark Ball.

The project has been in the works since 2005 but the construction start was slowed by Union's sewer capacity issues.

Future residential growth in the county might not be as robust. Building permits, a key indicator of future sales, declined 65 percent in Union during the first quarter.

Developers and retailers in Union are building and renovating to capture shoppers who typically have driven to Mecklenburg for goods and services.

Charlotte-based Belk, for example, disclosed plans Monday for a $6 million expansion of its store at Monroe Mall, part of mall owner Madison Marquette's $20 million renovation.

At The Shoppes at Wesley Chapel, street frontage parcels will be occupied by a McDonald's restaurant, a Walgreens and a Bank of America branch.

Carolinas HealthCare System will have medical offices in a 10,000-square-foot office building behind the center.

Other signed tenants include Anytime Fitness; Studio U Salon & Spa; Anzi Pizza, Pasta & Grill; The Coffee Table; Wesley Chapel Cleaners; Nail Spa; and Hot Wok.

Thomas H. Hughes Architecture designed the center, and Sexton Construction Co., Inc. will build it.