MLK Investors I, a partnership between Neyer Properties and Kulkharni Properties, recently released updated development plans for “the node,” a mixed-use development in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. The development will be located on the northeast quadrant of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Reading Road intersection by the new I-71 interchange.
The development’s name, the node, stems from the idea that it will be a point of connection where different people and ideas interact. The goal is to create a community-driven, welcoming environment that brings people together.
According to Chris Dobrozsi, CCIM, Vice President of Real Estate Development at Neyer Properties, the node will be an 18-hour development with 130,000 square feet of office/research space, a 160-room hotel, market-rate residential, retail and outdoor green space. It’s the first development in the Corridor to include retail space in its first phase, which will provide amenities for those who live, work and visit Uptown, such as bars and restaurants.
“We’re excited to offer a truly mixed-use development providing the residential and retail experiences that businesses and top talent are looking for,” said Dobrozsi. “From our perspective, the area around the new MLK Interchange is the greatest opportunity to be the region’s center for job attraction and retention for the next 50 years.”
Development plans include a green activation space that will function as a community gathering area next to the development’s residential component. Dobrozsi hopes that the space will eventually include a bike path—potentially an extension of the Wasson Way—to increase connectivity with the surrounding community and other developments in the Corridor.
“Master plans for the Uptown Innovation Corridor include walkable, pedestrian-friendly developments and streetscapes that connect new buildings with the surrounding neighborhood,” said Beth Robinson, President and CEO, Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI). “The node will help support the environment we’re trying to create in the Corridor.”
UCI is working with the MLK Investors I team to ensure that the community is part of the conversation. Representatives from the Avondale Community Council, Avondale Development Corporation and Uptown anchor institutions even participated in strategy sessions that led to the development’s name and branding to make sure it aligned with the community’s vision for the neighborhood.
“One of our guiding principles is ‘enduring vibrancy,’ and part of that is giving back to the community more than we take,” said Dobrozsi. “We know that our development, as it grows closer to the heart of Avondale, needs to fold back in to the neighborhood.”
In addition, MLK Investors I signed a preferred developer agreement with UCI and is working with WEB Ventures, UCI’s economic inclusion consultants, to meet goals for minority business enterprise, women business enterprise and Uptown resident inclusion. WEB Ventures helps introduce the development team to potential partners and tracks progress towards inclusion goals.
“We look forward to working with MLK Investors I to bring the node to life and help integrate the new development into the Avondale community,” said Robinson. “The node will provide more opportunities for small and large companies to engage with the anchor institutions, organizations and community members already in Uptown.”
The node is just one of the developments planned at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Reading Road in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. In addition, Terrex Development & Construction and Messer Construction are developing the Uptown Gateway on the southwest quadrant, NIOSH is building its consolidated research facility on the northwest quadrant, and Queen City Hills, LLC entered into an LOI for land in the southwest quadrant for another mixed-use development.
MLK Investors I hopes to break ground on the node by the end of 2019.