Battleground Avenue and the intersecting streets in northern Greensboro weren’t always the bustling hub of activity that they are today. There was no Westover Gallery, Burger Warfare or Red Cinemas. The area used to be empty, devoid of things to do.
“When I was a kid, there wasn’t much there,” social studies teacher Scott Bennett said. “There was no reason to stop by.”
This all changed about twenty years ago when developer Marty Kotis entered the scene. Kotis and his company, Kotis Properties, own property all over the city of Greensboro, with their most famous being the highly developed Midtown area.
The name “Midtown” comes from the area’s location and status as a connection between downtown Greensboro and the Battleground area, considered to be in the middle of the two major parts of Greensboro.
“I started developing in West Pierce south of Battleground Avenue around 1992,” Kotis said. “There was this old industrial area, and I wanted to change it to retail.”
Since then, Kotis has gone on to develop much of the surrounding area, turning the area into the popular strip of restaurants, theaters and shopping centers it is now. The addition of these attractions has pleased the younger crowd, specifically those in the entertainment department.
“[Red Cinemas] is a really nice theater,” Senior Hannah Bolling said. “I like how you can get food that’s not just normal movie theater snacks.”
As for why this particular area was chosen, the high volume of people seems to be the answer.
“Battleground has very high traffic and so does Wendover” Kotis said.
This sort of development does not come cheap. Kotis estimates that when his plans are finished that he will have over 800 million dollars invested in Greensboro.
A great deal of this funding will go towards the “Greenway,” a trail that runs south along highway 73 towards Wendover, where Kotis has done much of his development. This may incentivize passersby in the area using the trail and Greenway to stop by some of Kotis’ properties.
“He’s a businessman, so he’s obviously investing, but he’s investing in the community,” Bennett said.
Kotis’ goal is to put Greensboro on the map as a prime city for travel and residency.
“[Future developments] are going to look like something you would see in Raleigh or another major city,” Kotis said.
So far in his time developing Greensboro, Kotis has transformed a once empty corridor into a center of commercial and residential activity. If Kotis’ projects all go according to plan like they did in Midtown, many see the potential for Greensboro to become great.
“[Kotis] sort of has this vision for Greensboro that can make people say, ‘yeah man, this place is neat!’” Bennett said.