Imagine a SouthPark area with denser development, taller buildings and a more vibrant nightlife.
That’s the possible future sketched out Tuesday during a panel discussion with real estate officials who have ties to SouthPark.
As new residents – particularly younger ones – stream into SouthPark, the south Charlotte neighborhood is likely to become more tolerant of density and taller buildings, said the panelists, who spoke at a Charlotte Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“Eventually you will see higher buildings,” said Johnny Harris, president of Charlotte-based Lincoln Harris. He sees SouthPark attracting more people who “want to be up high. They want to see downtown.”
Harris was joined on the panel by Brian Natwick, multifamily president for Charlotte-based Crescent Communities, and Peter Pappas, president of Charlotte-based Pappas Properties.
Harris’ company has commercial real estate listings in SouthPark, including mixed-use project Phillips Place, and Crescent Communities has apartments in the area. Pappas’ company is working on the Sharon Square mixed-use project.
The panelists described SouthPark, largely known for the mall of the same name, as a thriving place that has lured businesses, especially banks and financial services companies. Harris said SouthPark has become a financial center in its own right.
SunTrust Banks, for example, is building a regional headquarters expected to open next year in Pappas’ Sharon Square, which also houses a Whole Foods Market.
The panelists said SouthPark continues to have a strong pull on businesses and residents and that the area is seeing a rise in renters. Harris said the average family income in SouthPark has declined by $10,000 over the past five years, dragged down as a result of the uptick in renters.
Still, he called the increase in rental properties “a great thing” for SouthPark.
“We’ve been missing that,” he said. “We need strong multifamily here in the SouthPark area.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Mecklenburg County is $55,994. In ZIP code 28211, home to SouthPark Mall, the median household income is $69,334.
Pappas said people have been moving to SouthPark as part of a “lifestyle” decision. He said SouthPark, in the future, will become home to “more and different types of for-sale housing.” Residents will expect town homes, patio homes, condominiums and apartments, he said.
Also, he said, the trend of downsizing households will drive people to SouthPark. “They’re going to gravitate to areas like this.”
The panelists also pointed out SouthPark’s challenges.
Harris predicted higher office costs in SouthPark, as older buildings will have to be torn down or retrofitted. He also said SouthPark needs a better nightlife scene if it’s going to keep drawing young residents.
“We’ve got lots of young people coming here to live,” he said. “There’s nowhere to go at 10 o’clock.”
Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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