PITTSBORO — While talk in Pittsboro has revolved around Chatham Park and its plans for tree protection, one of the development’s first major projects has gotten underway.
Clearing on the first phase of Mosaic, an entertainment and lifestyle center located at the entrance to the park, began last week, with vertical construction expected to begin later this year, according to developer Kirk Bradley.
Bradley said that the latest developments on the site are exciting and come three years after beginning conversations with Chatham Park developers Preston Development, led by co-owners Tim Smith and Julian “Bubba” Rawl.
“We started talking to Tim and Bubba three years ago and made a deal and started working on it,” Bradley said. “To see all those ideas and community input come together is always very exciting. We’re ready to move and looking forward to creating a great project that will be complementary to Chatham Park, Pittsboro and Chatham County.
(Bradley is a part of the News + Record’s ownership group.)
According to the Mosaic website, the total project will encompass 226 acres and cost $500 million to build. The first phase will consist of 44 acres of restaurants, stores, a gym and a movie theater. Developers estimate that the project will bring around 1,000 jobs to the area and $1 million a year in revenue to the town of Pittsboro.
Bradley said that 63 percent of the initial lots have been leased, mainly to retail and restaurants, but some office as well.
“The next six months will be buttoning that up,” he said. “I don’t know that we will be, but ideally we’ll be fully leased by the time we finish up every building.”
There likely won’t be an announcement on what will be taking up the spaces until the summer, but Bradley said there will be restaurants with local operators and “maybe a couple franchises” with various types of foods. Tenants will be able to move into the spaces in the third quarter of 2020, he said, while the movie theater should be completed in 2023. Chatham County currently does not have a movie theater.
Rawl said he feels Mosaic’s impact won’t be limited just to Chatham Park or even Pittsboro or the county.
“The project they’ve put together is fabulous, and it’s not just going to have Chatham Park appeal, it will have regional appeal,” Rawl told the News + Record. “There will be people coming from miles to enjoy the services and the entertainment that will be available at Mosaic. We’re thrilled and we’ve worked closely with them in what they’ve tried to develop.”
Rawl said Preston was approached by “five, six or seven” developers that wanted to do a “protoypical” center anchored by a grocery store, but the Mosaic proposal was different and unique.
On the topic of tree protection, Bradley has spoken multiple times at town of Pittsboro meetings about his development’s efforts to retain tree coverage. He said Mosaic will have “well in excess of 50 percent” tree canopy over the 65 total acres of the first phase, including 21 acres to be purchased for open space and parkland, in addition to the primary 44-acre tract.
“These projects will have a much broader footprint because of those parkland and open space requirements,” he said. “The 22 acres that we’re actually building buildings and parking lots on, if you were in any other municipality, we could probably build this project on 30-35 acres. Because of the environmentally-sustainable mandate and agreement between the town of Pittsboro and Chatham Park, we’re going to purchase 65 acres. We’re not going to develop a big chunk of that 65 acres.”
Bradley said he and his Mosaic partners have had a positive relationship with the Chatham Park developers.
“We think Chatham Park is going to be a great thing for Pittsboro, Chatham County, the region and the state,” he said. “We’re grateful to be a part of it.”