By ANTHONY WARREN
Senior Staff Writer
The Jackson Planning Board will likely decide on August 22 the fate of a major development planned for Belhaven.
Developer David Turner and Baptist Health Systems are expected to appear before the panel next week to ask for properties along Manship Street, Jefferson Street and Carlisle Street to be rezoned.
The rezoning is needed to make way for the Belhaven Town Center. The development will include approximately 120,000 square feet of mixed-use space, including retail, residential and office.
For that project to move forward, the planning board will have to approve Baptist Health Systems’ request to rezone three small tracts of land within the project’s footprint.
Subject properties include 807 and 809 Manship St., 1119 and 1121 N. Jefferson St., and 824 Carlisle St.
Baptist is asking that the property be rezoned from R-4, high-density residential, to CMU-1, community-mixed use.
“We have a contract to sell (Turner) the property. Since Baptist still owns it, we have to be the ones on the (rezoning) application,” said Mike Stevens, vice president of business development with Baptist. “We’re very supportive of the project, or we wouldn’t be selling them the land.”
Baptist also had to get approval from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, because several historic, but abandoned and dilapidated structures are located there.
“We purchased the land a long time ago in hopes of seeing it get developed,” Stevens said. “We’ve been sitting on it for the right time for someone to come around (with the right project).”
The project will be bordered by Poplar Street to the north, Jefferson to the east, North Street to the west and Carlisle Street to the south, with Manship Street running through the middle of it.
“We started working on this property about six years ago this month. We were vision-casting for Baptist Hospital – deciding what could be done on the property, and I envisioned a town center,” Turner said.
The project will feature multiple buildings that will be designed to create a buffer zone between North Street, a commercial corridor, and North Jefferson, which turns into single-family residential.
“Baptist … has a big hospital, parking garages and institutional buildings on North State. You go two blocks over to Jefferson and you have single-family stock,” Turner said. “This was a good transition corridor to bring the hospital to mixed use and to scale down as you go through.”
Turner envisions between 11 and 13 multi-story buildings, which will include retail and restaurants on the first floor, office and professional space on the second floor and loft apartments on the third.
The project will be built in multiple phases, Turner said.
The first phase will likely run from Manship to Jefferson, with Manship being considered the development’s “main street.”
“It will be a cohesive main street with mixed uses all over but more residential-focused on the Jefferson Street side and more office-focused on the Baptist side,” he said.
Early tenants include a Campbell’s Craft Donuts and a Coffee Roastery.
Work on the first phase should wrap up in the second quarter of 2019.
The Greater Belhaven Foundation (GBF) recommended Turner to Baptist after working on Lost Rabbit and other New Urbanist projects.
New Urbanism is development based on having “walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity and accessible public spaces,” according to the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU).
The initial concept for the area was drawn up in 2012, with the help of a national land planner, Turner said.
“It took a while with Baptist going through a merger and (the downward) economy, but I feel like we’re moving up to the starting gate.”
The planning board meets at 1:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Warren Hood Building.