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How Darnall Kept Charlotte Moving in 2017


To read the full story, please visit the Charlotte Business Journal (subscription required)
— by Jennifer Thomas


Lyle Darnall sees Atherton Mill as the soul of South End.

Work on a nearly $100 million revamp of that site — centered around the historic 1893 mill building — is in full swing.

That new development on the 10-acre parcel will include 346 apartments and 115,000 square feet of street-level retail. It is slated for completion in June 2019.

For Darnall, managing director of EDENS, the coming months will be filled with negotiations to finalize the perfect roster of retail partners. Atherton Mill has been strategically adding key retailers such as Anthropologie and Free People — a retailer under the Urban Outfitters parent brand — as well as eyeglass retailer Warby Parker over the past few years.

“All the retailers here have set the table for other tenants to come,” Darnall says. “It’s just got to fit into the whole fabric of the mix we’re after.”

He’s considering local, regional and national options, including several new to the Charlotte market.

Atherton Mill outside of Luna's Living Kitchen
Atherton Mill ouside Free People

Expect to see fitness, home goods, beauty and fashion. Four new restaurants are planned, including an Italian concept by The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, which operates O-Ku at Atherton Mill and Oak Steakhouse in SouthPark.

Crescent Communities has been tapped for the residential component.

Darnall sees the potential for the site to be transformational for South End. Much of that property fronts South Boulevard.

“We’ve been blessed with a location that is central to everything,” he says. “Certainly this will be a beehive of activity.”

Atherton Not Just Coffee inside photo
Sara Essex Bradley