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Charlotte retirement facilities plan expansions

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

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    Sharon Towers and Liberty Healthcare Properties of Mecklenburg County in south Charlotte have both applied for rezonings to expand. Attend the public hearing on these rezonings at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Mecklenburg County Government Center, 600 E. 4th St.



Two south Charlotte retirement communities are planning expansions during the next several years, according to rezoning applications recently filed with the city.

Sharon Towers has applied for a rezoning of about 24.80 acres on the west side of Sharon Road between Eastburn Road and Hazelton Drive.

The rezoning will allow the facility to build five villas totaling 90 units as well as to convert two additional detached single-family homes for resident use.

Meanwhile, Liberty Healthcare Properties of Mecklenburg County wants about 17.48 acres rezoned on the south side of Providence Road West between Old Ardrey Kell and Community House roads.

The land in both projects is already zoned institutional. The rezoning would allow them to make site changes.

“They feel like they need more units so they’re looking to expand,” said Charlotte city planner Solomon Fortune.

Opened in 1969, Sharon Towers has 335 residents. The new villas would likely add as many as 135 residents, said Anne Moffat, executive director for Sharon Towers.

The last time the nonprofit expanded was in 2003, when it added a 10-story, 49-unit building.

The villas will blend qualities of the facility’s stand-alone cottages with its tower apartments, said Moffat, adding that each will be three stories and feature six units per floor.

Sharon Towers would begin with one villa and would ultimately build five during the course of several years, said Moffat.

Each villa is expected to cost about $6 million to construct.

“There is a growing need for space like this in retirement communities,” she said. “Nowadays people want a complete apartment with their own kitchen and laundry, exactly like they would in the community.”

Units within the villas would range from 1,300 to 2,000 square feet, much larger than some of the older apartments at Sharon Towers, which are 250 square feet.

Moffat could not comment on how much it will cost to rent one of the new villas.

She noted, however, that current members must pay a one-time entry fee that can range from $16,000 to $382,000.

They also pay a monthly fee that ranges from $950 to $4,000, said Moffat.

Also in south Charlotte, Liberty Healthcare is constructing a skilled nursing facility and independent living units off Providence Road West.

Charlotte city planner John Kinley said Liberty Healthcare has applied for a rezoning approval that would allow them to increase the number of units from 168 to 178.

The property owners also want to add car ports to the site, said Kinley.

Brightmore at South Charlotte is expected to open its nursing facility in August or September. Meanwhile, construction on the independent living units has just started, said John Carmichael, a lawyer representing one of the company’s owner’s, Doug Whiman.

Both public hearings are set for Sept. 16. Afterward, the zoning committee would make a recommendation and the projects could go before city council for final approval in October.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero
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