Groundbreaking celebrates growth of local retail & residential options

Developers of “Park Place at Elon” on Haggard Avenue heralded a new era of living and shopping in town during a Thursday morning ceremony steps away from the university’s Oaks residential neighborhood.

Once complete next year, a new four-story building under construction on Haggard Avenue will feature 45 apartments and ground floor retail space with a large enough sidewalk for outdoor restaurant dining.

It will enhance a walkable community that civic leaders envisioned last year when creating a master plan for downtown Elon and grow a “sense of place” that local officials hope will make the area a commercial destination for residents of Alamance County.

Indeed, lots of people are happy for what “Park Place at Elon” represents.

“If we want to grow in a way that is good for quality of life, we need projects like this,” Jeff Andrews, board chairman of the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce, said at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new complex. “Elon is clearly one of Alamance County’s downtown areas that ‘get it.’”

Dozens of people gathered at the Haggard Avenue worksite on May 7, 2015, to officially celebrate construction that’s been underway for months. Developers John and Mark McDonald were both part of the program, as were county, town and university leaders.

The 53,000-square-foot project will be finished by early next summer. Conversations are already taking place with potential retail tenants, though officials kept mum on their contacts. They said Thursday that the potential businesses would be unique to what is already available in town.

Park Place will be the first major development in compliance with the Town of Elon’s master plan approved in 2014 by the Board of Alderman. The business arrangement is identical to that of the Elon Town Center on Williamson Avenue. Elon University leases the land to the developers who construct and own the building.

“This is an investment in our community,” said Gerald Whittington, senior vice president for business, finance and technology at Elon University. “These projects are crucial to developing a vibrant downtown Elon.”

Park Place will rise next to Skids restaurant and within feet of the parking lot to The Oaks residential neighborhood at Elon University.