Birkdale Village continues to impact town, region
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – Prior to Birkdale Village, the town of Huntersville was a mix of real estate properties, retail shopping and restaurants.
But the mission of Birkdale was to expand those assets into a retail mecca with more outlets and housing.
The 55-acre mixed-use facility off Sam Furr Road offers 60 shopping and dining options, including retail giants Victoria’s Secret, Barnes & Noble, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Starbucks, Banana Republic and American Eagle Outfitters. Birkdale opened in 2003.
“It’s a large enterprise and a very well-visited facility,” Huntersville Principal Planner Zach Gordon said. “Retail is all about location. Twenty-five thousand vehicles pass through that area every day. It’s hard for a retailer to find a situation like that anywhere else, so it’s an attractive option for stores.”
It’s also an option for homebuyers and renters. According to the Lake Norman Neighborhood Guide, the cost of a house in Birkdale ranges from $209,900 to $365,000.
The development has also become a site for visitors – some who travel long distances, Town of Huntersville Geographic Information System Administrator Brian Richards said.
Richards said a facility with Birkdale’s versatility gave the town hope that it would draw more traffic and visitors once it was built. Officials say the feedback continues to be positive.
“It’s been fantastic,” Richards said. “(Birkdale) has really shaped the commercial landscape (of the area).”
Birkdale also serves as a reminder of how much the town has grown, Richards said. Since 2000, Hunterville’s population has grown 87.4 percent. As of July 2011, Huntersville’s population was 48,048, according to the U.S. Census.
Has the town’s largest retail option aided in population growth?
“It’s definitely played a huge role,” Richards said.
Gordon echoed Richards’ sentiments.
“When you look at the popularity and success, it was just a ‘right place, right time’ situation,” Gordon said.
Gordon said Birkdale’s location impacts neighboring Davidson and Cornelius and most of northern Mecklenburg County. Birkdale’s primary competitor is SouthPark Mall in Charlotte.
“It’s a regional center. It attracts people from all over North Mecklenburg just because it’s got so much to offer,” Gordon said.
Nicole Stockman, a manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has been in Birkdale since its inception, said the complex has allowed businesses to open stores and extend their products outside of Charlotte.
“It’s a really great area from a retail standpoint,” Stockman said. “We get a lot of foot traffic from people just walking to a restaurant. They may stop in and buy something on their way to dinner, so that’s more business we wouldn’t have gotten if we were (a lone building).”
Birkdale also has the ability to expand in the future.
Birkdale General Manager Pippa Brown was unable to be reached for comment, but Gordon said the facility would be able to broaden its retail reach – currently about 150,000 square feet – by adding one or two more buildings and removing some parking spaces on the outskirts of the village.
But new businesses continue to enter the development in the existing space. Bonefish Grill, a seafood restaurant, opened on May 7.
“You may see it expand some within the next five to 10 years,” Gordon said.
Birkdale’s current design is almost identical to the town’s original site approval in 1997.
“There’s been a few tweaks but only for aesthetic purposes,” Richards said.
Gordon said the urban lifestyle of Birkdale fits the surrounding suburban area well.
“You have to put facilities like this in places that can be useful to the most people, and that’s the case with Birkdale,” he said.