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Don Peebles May Try And Lure Amazon To Charlotte

One of the East Coast's most prominent developers has a great place in mind for Amazon's second U.S. headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Peebles Corp. CEO Don Peebles

Peebles Corp. CEO Don Peebles is looking to lure Amazon to consider the Charlotte area for its massive HQ2 requirement that could reach 8M SF. And he has a site already in mind: a 17-acre mixed-use project in Mecklenburg County called Brooklyn Village.

Peebles reached an agreement earlier this summer with Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte sits, to develop the site that was one of the city's oldest black neighborhoods before being razed in the 1960s, according to the Charlotte Observer. The agreement calls for Peebles — in a partnership called BK Partners along with Charlotte-based Conformity Corp. and Stantec — to spend more than $680M to create a two-part Brooklyn Village development that will include office, retail and apartments, as well as two hotels.

The partnership purchased the site for more than $50M, according to reports, and tapped InterContinental Hotels Group to flag both hotels.

Rendering of Brooklyn Village in Charlotte, N.C.

Peebles said the site could accommodate up to 5M SF, and that is for a variety of uses, not just office. That would make it a little short of Amazon's ultimate wish for what it has dubbed HQ2. But there is potential around the site.

"We plan to develop the uses and plan we submitted," he stated in a follow-up email. "Given the Amazon option, we are considering further expanding the site. However, we are not going reduce the uses we proposed. We also will have the option to increase density in other ways. I think attracting Amazon would be a tremendous opportunity for Charlotte," he said.

The Mecklenburg site is close to a Charlotte Area Transit System station, another feature that would be attractive to Amazon.

“It's an urban center," he said. "That's just a tremendous location for them."

But Charlotte may not be the only city where Peebles, who has developed, or is developing, more than 6M SF and $5B in assets in major gateway cities in the U.S., will throw sites in the ring to grab Amazon's grand prize.

“We're going to look at every market that we're already in on the ground,” he said.

Those markets could include South Florida — where Peebles developed both The Lincoln mixed-use office project on Miami Beach and The Royal Palm Hotel (now called The James Hotel) — New York, Philadelphia, Boston, California and Washington, D.C. 

“Definitely, I think Washington, D.C., would be a good potential option,” he said, noting that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is owner of the vaunted Washington Post. “It's one that our company is going to look at.”