China Grove: To Macy’s and Beyond!

by | Jul 26, 2023 | Municipalities

Macy’s is coming to China Grove and potential employees will soon be checking on the company’s flexible work schedules, competitive pay, merchandise discounts, bilingual workplace, debt free education program and a 20,000 square-foot break room. What will these new workers find in China Grove, a small town at the center of the largest economic development project in the history of Rowan County?

For starters, there is new housing. A community of 248 luxury apartments is under construction on Shue Road across from Food Lion and Porky’s Bar-B-Cue. The complex is called Elevate 85. Describing Elevate 85 as luxurious is not exaggeration, said Craig Taylor, vice president of development for Signature Properties, Greensboro, NC. “We’ll have a resort style pool with a deck, fire pit, lounge space, and a summer kitchen with granite counter tops for grilling with friends. The club house will have a 24/7 fitness center, complimentary coffee bar, and private workspaces. In addition, there will be a fenced-in leash-off dog park.” Apartment amenities include nine-foot interiors, stainless steel appliances, ceiling fans, sunrooms, and a private terrace or balcony.

photo Linda & Sara

Bulldozers, scrapers and backhoes work to clear 16.3 acres for Elevate 85, the new luxury apartment development on Shue Road, China Grove.

This summer, contractors are close to clearing the land for Elevate 85. Trees, debris, tree stumps, and a brick house cluttered the 16.3-acre site, but that will soon change. The club house is planned to open in August 2024, said Taylor, and “our first move-ins are expected in September 2024.” The layout resembles Elevate Lake Norman in Mooresville, which is open and close to full occupancy. “Prices will be market dependent,” said Taylor. “Right now, we expect the range to be $1,400 per month for a one-bedroom and $1,700 for a two-bedroom.”

photo Linda & Sara

China Grove’s Community Memorial Park where new playground equipment that complies with the American with Disabilities Act is planned.

There is more to come. Tri-Built, Inc. of Mooresville, NC, is currently clearing approximately 20 acres behind Gary’s Barbecue on U.S. 29, China Grove. According to Project Manager Andre Watkins, Tri-Built expects to have storm drains and curbing installed by the end of the year. Ryan Homes of Reston, VA, will begin construction in early 2024 on a $10 million project that includes 264 single family homes and 76 town houses.    

Entry Gate + Duck Race Sign

The intersection of Highway 152, China Grove, and Interstate 85 with the Macy’s site on the right and Hitachi Metals on the left.

With Macy’s and the new residents of Ryan Homes, Gary’s Barbecue will soon see increased business for its “swine and wine” — Cheerwine, that is. Business should pick up for all 15 restaurants on U.S. 29 and in downtown China Grove. Newbies will find everything from fast food and Mexican to Chinese and barbecue, of course. In the past year, two additional restaurants have been added. The Grove Cartel comes with an added attraction: a craft brewery. “Everyone knows the effect that brew pubs have in bringing people downtown, and we have seen that here,” said town manager Franklin Gover. Cartel patrons sample 15 different craft beers in the first-floor tap room and wood-fired pizza and smash burgers upstairs in the Meadows dining room.

Park Map

The Grove Cartel, 211 North Main Street, China Grove, with murals by Abstract Dissent

A few doors down North Main Street is Thai Tair. According to their website, “tair” means “real” in the Thai language. That notion is reflected in the fresh and authentic ingredients used to prepare their exotic dishes. Town Manager Gover is a fan. “I’m heading there today for lunch,” he said.

Yellow Flag

A Lunch Box at Thai Tair, China Grove

The Town of China Grove is moving forward with far reaching development plans of its own. All are in their early planning phases. “We received two grants from the Department of Commerce for downtown revitalization,” said Gover. “The first was for $680,000 for planning and construction. Another $50,000 will support the construction drawing and engineering.” Included in the project are downtown sidewalks, bump-outs for outdoor dining, crosswalks, planters, handrails, landscaping, signage and new tables, chairs, lighting and landscaping for Hanna Park, the downtown pocket park. Expect completion by 2026, said Gover.

Architect’s drawing of one of the apartment buildings at Elevate 85, China Grove

Asked about other developments, Gover added street improvement, sports fields, and greenways to the town’s to-do list.

The town’s master plan also calls for the addition of playground equipment that is accessible by people with disabilities at Community Memorial Park off Stevens Street. “We have a full master site plan for all sorts of improvements at the park,” said Gover. These include more shelters for picnics, walkways through natural areas, a tree house, mature trees as well as native plants and shrubs. Utilities and grading come before the improvements and the town has applied for federal and state grants to get the prep work started.

With multiple developers, federal, state and local support, and its own progressive plans, China Grove is working smarter and harder to elevate not only Interstate 85, but also China Grove itself.

Behind Gary’s Barbecue, Highway 29, China Grove, Tri-Built is clearing the land for 264 private homes and 76 town houses.

About The Author

Pete Prunkl

After teaching and working for several non-profits, Pete Prunkl found his niche in writing human interest stories. That includes the history of antiques and the people who buy and own them. Pete has written for the Maine Antique Digest, Our State magazine, Antique Roadshow Insider, Salisbury the Magazine and other publications for over 25 years. He is the author of the book, Beyond the Hedges: Historic Salisbury Foundation and the Preservation Movement.