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The 200 block of South Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte is buzzing with building and renovation activity these days.

Preferred Parking Service Inc. just paid $1.55 million for a three-story, 15,000-sf, 80-year-old building at 221 South Tryon in the South Tryon Square revitalization zone. The project comprises the restored Barclays Building, a new parking deck and plans for a new hotel. Preferred Parking expects to spend about $100,000 on renovations and improvements.

Foundation for the Carolinas plans to spend $4 million on the purchase and makeover of the old Kale Office Outfitters Building at 217 South Tryon and move its offices there by next summer.

Both Preferred Parking and the Foundation plan to offset some of their expenses by leasing full-service space. PreferredParking will lease the 4,340-sf first floor to office and/or retail tenants and the 4,087-sf third floor to office tenants for about $22 psf. The 3,255-sf basement will be leased as storage space. Preferred Parking plans to move from its current uptown space in Brevard Court to the second floor in the fall.

South Tryon Square includes offices, retail space and restaurants. Dean & Deluca opened a storefront restaurant in April at the corner of Fourth and Tryon, and a 181-room, four story Courtyard Marriott Hotel is currently under construction atop a new 10-story parking deck.

Office space is in demand in the center city, where the market is tight. The uptown vacancy rate was 3.6% in the first quarter, compared with a countywide rate of 8.9%.

Karnes Research Co., which tracks the office market, reports that uptown full-service rates range from $28 psf for the newest class A space to about $12 psf for the oldest class C space.

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