Hines and Columbia Development Group Celebrates Grand Opening of Fenton, First Vertically Integrated, Mixed-Use Destination in the Triad Area
Looking to create an exciting and lively mixed-use development while providing a “destination” experience, Hines and Columbia Development Group selected award-winning architecture and design firm NELSON Worldwide to bring its vision to life. Centrally located in the heart of Cary, North Carolina, Fenton is the first vertically integrated, mixed-use destination in the Triad area. The development consists of 250,000 square feet of specialty and experiential retail space, including a high-end movie theater, 207,000 square feet of Class A office space, 357 apartment units, and a future 175-key hotel. NELSON was responsible for the architectural services of 16 buildings within the retail and multifamily scope.
NELSON’s goal was to create a highly-activated interior experience in an outdoor space. Each section of the development replicates a specific area within a traditional home, such as a living room, dining room, and bedroom. The family room serves as a large-scale gathering place for community and social events. This flexible area is easily adaptable to the changing seasons for year-round programming, including an ice skating rink, movies on the lawn, concerts, and festivals. The kitchen is an open area with a modern greenhouse flair where visitors can enjoy the many indoor and outdoor food hall offerings, including traditional Japanese sushi, Tex-Mex, Italian cuisine, and gelato. The backyard is an outdoor area with a fire pit, outdoor games, fitness equipment, and space for yoga, exercise classes, and resident-related activities. Additionally, the architecture team programmed the outdoor area for year-round temporary and seasonal events, including food trucks, and dining venues. All outdoor areas will feature year-round festoon and catenary lighting and be seasonally decorated.
NELSON seamlessly paired North Carolina’s industrial warehouse influence with current architectural trends to create a modern yet eclectic architectural style. The team achieved this by incorporating intricate brick detailing, varied window fenestration, and multiple lighting treatments, including sconce lights, area lights, and other up-lighting. Varying ceiling heights, proportions, and volumes in the original structure suggest that it was built over time—creating a unique walking and visual experience for visitors.
The architecture team also paid close attention to the design of each building. Because the facades serve as a backdrop for the public spaces below, the architecture team incorporated sophisticated and refined elements to differentiate each building. Tenants were encouraged to design each storefront’s character unique and architecturally interesting so they are easily recognizable. Additionally, using balconies, window bays, and roof overhangs all work together to add articulation and create visual interest.
For the materiality and color palette of the development, NELSON incorporated varied colors and materials of brick, concrete, and wood. Doing so created contrast and allowed for the storefronts to achieve their own individual character. The development also includes numerous murals from local artists that display art that showcases the history of the city and the 5 Fenton Foundations – family, education, innovation, arts, and sports and recreation. Overall, the design team created a high-quality development with a unique sense of place. With the official opening in June 2022, Fenton will be one of the largest retail-driven projects currently underway in the United States.