Like many warehouses in Charlotte, the walls of this North End gem have weathered a lot of change in the city over the years. Built in the early 1950s, The Shop was originally used as a restaurant and blacksmith shop. By the 1960s, Big Bertha Service Station, an auto repair facility, had opened and would operate in various forms for decades.
When Ascent Real Estate Capital first heard about the project, there was one small auto repair shop still in service, but the majority of buildings were either empty or being used for storage.
Ascent’s vision was to refurbish the three buildings on the site and keep the 1950s-era service station aesthetic that had come to define the property. Some appendages had been added over time — metal awnings over the windows and service bays for cars — but the buildings’ bones had potential, like the metal trusses that created high, barrel-vaulted ceilings.
The property was essentially three buildings that had amalgamated over time. Opening up some walls allowed for more pedestrian and car accessibility and created the potential for some spacious patios. (The Shop’s first tenant, Petty Thieves Brewing Co., is making good use of its space, with a 5,000-square-foot brewery and a large outdoor patio with stunning skyline views.) The development is also home to long-time Charlotte design innovation firm, BOLT Group. The result is a mixed-use site that balances modern utility while weaving itself into the fabric of the neighborhood.
The Shop’s iconic rotating sign is the finishing touch on the project and a nod to the buildings’ storied past. Dating back to the middle of the last century, it’s a landmark of the neighborhood. Ascent made it a requirement of their rezoning to ensure that the form and structure of the sign be maintained.
Ascent partnered with Modulex Carolinas — a signage and branding business that restored the vintage Park Road Shopping Center City — to refurbish the face of the sign and install a new motor so it could rotate once again.
“We believe this is adaptive re-use done right and are excited to play our part to invest in a project that showcases the history of our community while creating new opportunities for businesses to come to North Graham Street,” said Brent Cobb with Modulex Carolinas. “The sign is a piece of history, and preserving it symbolizes what this project means to the North Graham corridor.”
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