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Major RAD apartment complex moving forward

The River Arts District’s first major residential development will break ground in August or September, said Harry Pilos, the developer who put together the $60 million plan for RAD Lofts. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

After more than a year delay, the River Arts District’s first major residential development will break ground in August or September, said Harry Pilos, the developer who put together the $60 million plan for RAD Lofts.

The mixed-use project will go up on the site of the old steel mill plant at Roberts Street and Clingman Avenue. Pilos said he bought the lot in 2014 for more than $2 million.

The site is three acres and stretches the length of three football fields. “It’s a full city block,” Pilos said.

There were delays last year when loans were restructured.

“We will have an organic grocery going in. We’ll have at least two restaurants, probably more," Pilos said.

The project has been Pilos’ baby and one he’s worked on for four years. “This is the largest project I’ve ever done.”

But it’s clear he’s excited about the prospects. Especially with the $50 million RAD investment coming from city and federal funds for infrastructure improvements.

Pilos’ complex will have 235 apartments, ranging in price from $700 for a small group of apartments earmarked specifically for affordable housing applicants to 90 workforce housing apartments at slightly higher prices. The rest, he said, will rent starting at $1100.

“It’s been a long haul. We've got local government, city government. This is a brownsfield cleanup, so we had the state of North Carolina involved,” Pilos said.

Pilos said the complex will be like Biltmore Park, only on a smaller scale. But it will have a similar mix of restaurants and retail on the ground floors. The plans have already been approved by the city. Pilos said any delays beyond his targeted ground breaking would be because of delays in building permits.

Paul Branks and his wife own a house just across from the project. He has the home he’s lived in for more than 50 years up for sale.

“I’ve been waiting for it to go,” Branks said. “I’m hoping it's going to get more people interested in buying my property."

Pilos is focused on his own project and making sure the renderings come to fruition.

“Downtown's now this big tourist center,” he said. “And, to me, it just makes sense that the RAD can not only be a great place to visit, to drink, eat, shop and watch artists at work, but also to live.”

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