Kannapolis West Avenue Revitalization

Kannapolis West Avenue Revitalization

The city leaders of Kannapolis take downtown revitalization seriously. In 2015, the city purchased the entire downtown district−approximately 50 acres and eight blocks of buildings−and began a $113 million undertaking that includes streetscape improvements, a linear park, and a sports and entertainment venue. The recently completed first phase has brought new life to West Avenue, the city’s main street. The Charlotte office of 505 Design worked with landscape architecture firm Land Design’s master plan to create what 505 Design’s Taylor Milner Compton calls “urban interiors” along West Avenue.

“Land Design envisioned a number of outdoor rooms along the street, different rooms for different activities,” explains Compton. A variety of site elements, including Kornegay Larkspur and Dune planters, has helped to establish “the language of the streetscape rooms” and will provide city leaders with a palette to follow as revitalization expands through the downtown district.

West Avenue now stands in stark contrast to the empty, eerie one the city purchased in 2015. “We’ve brought back the spirit of main street and made being downtown a pleasurable experience,” says Compton. “It’s charming, inviting, and active, just as Land Design had envisioned.”

Color and texture are a large part of Compton’s vision for West Avenue. “The neutral tones and subtle textural distinctions of the Kornegay planters play off the landscaping, bright yellow site elements, and teal signage along West Avenue,” say Compton. The city will be rotating seasonal plants in the planters to provide a pop of color throughout the year.

“There is a tactile garden approach to the streetscape,” explains Compton. “We didn’t want anything too slick or polished. Dune planters on each of the intersections are a statement and stand in contrast to the grays and reds of the pavers and buildings. They introduce a beautiful texture that is neutral and rich.” Larkspur planters serve as both planters and bollards along West Avenue.