Apartment developer looks to bring glitz to Bragg Boulevard
Posted October 13, 2009
Updated March 25, 2011
Fayetteville, N.C. — Long known for its skid row and strip joints, Bragg Boulevard could soon become a luxury address in Fayetteville.
That is the dream of Rajan Shamdasani, who plans to build the $20 million Bellagio apartment complex along the a stretch of the road between the Tropical Motel and a plasma donation center.
Although it won't feature the choreographed fountains and artwork of the Las Vegas casino by the same name, the 239-unit Bellagio apartments will include a swanky clubhouse, a fountain surrounded by a swimming pool and a lighted "B" atop the four-story building.
"The first thing you're going to say is, 'Wow! Am I in Fayetteville?'" Shamdasani said Tuesday.
The Fayetteville businessman came to the U.S. from India 41 years ago and started working in the custom clothing industry. He eventually started his own company, American Uniform Sales Inc.
Shamdasani bought 70 acres along Bragg Boulevard in 1991, but it has sat mostly vacant since then. With the military base realignment expected to bring thousands of high-paying positions from the Atlanta area in the next few years, he said the time is right for a luxury apartment project on the site.
"That's when it came into our mind that we need to do something that will complement the type of development Atlanta has to offer," he said. "Fayetteville is ripe – absolutely ripe – for something like this."
Some people have already called to reserve units in the project, which won't break ground until city permits can be completed in a few weeks, he said.
Shamdasani dismisses people who scoff at the idea of high-end apartments near a mobile home sales lot and an adult entertainment center.
"If we listened to the naysayers of the world, this country would not be as great and as fabulous as this country is," he said.
Some of his neighbors are looking forward to having the Bellagio open late next year.
“He has a great vision,” said Rodney Dent, of Choo Choo Mobile Home Sales, which is across the street from the site of the Bellagio. “This will be a great change, a great start. It'll be a great improvement to the community – to the neighborhood – (and could) attract some new business.”
The City Council gave Shamdasani $228,000 in tax breaks over five years to help get the project off the ground.
Officials hope the apartments will pave the way for other, high-end developments along Bragg Boulevard, Fayetteville Development Services Director Rob Anderson said.
“It’s a new urban node, anew urban core,” Anderson said. “That will really change the way things are happening in that vicinity.”
"Something has got to give an impetus for something else to happen, and we think Bellagio is it," Shamdasani said.