A Charlotte developer wants to increase the number of residential units and decrease commercial space on a SouthPark property previously zoned for a retirement community.Grubb Properties has asked the city to change the site plan on 7.95 acres on the west side of Sharon Road between Sharon Township Lane and Morrocroft Lane, in the Morrison development.The company requested the change after an Oregon-based continuing-care development company backed out because of the recession.Grubb Properties wants to build 398 rental units on the site that originally was going to hold 363 retirement condominiums. The company also wants to decrease the amount of retail and commercial space from 50,000 to 20,000 square feet, said city planner Sonja Sanders. The property last was rezoned in 2009. Grubb Properties acquired the original 24 acres for the Morrison development, bordered by Sharon and Colony roads, in 1999.In the 2009 rezoning, the city approved 50,000 feet of commercial space, with the stipulation that 20,000 had to be ground-level retail. The additional 30,000 was limited to medical office, health, fitness or wellness uses; but the project stalled.“Once something gets rezoned, it’s out of our hands and up to the market and developer and banks as to when they may or may not start development,” said Sanders.Collin Brown, a K&L Gates land-use attorney representing Grubb Properties, said the rezoning won’t change the site appearance or height. Traffic also will not be affected, since the decrease in commercial space will offset the increase in residential units, he said. “We hope to keep this as simple as possible and not disturb any of those issues that were negotiated previously,” said Brown. Sanders said that an initial review of the application also suggested it is consistent with the previous rezoning. “We’re really just changing the density and use to allow for luxury apartments, which is a viable product today,” said Todd Williams, executive vice president for Grubb Properties.Williams said many forces have made the rental market hot. The millennial generation, characterized by those younger than 35, are searching for housing close to jobs and urban centers. The downturn in the market and the increased challenges to home ownership have made it more likely that these individuals will rent, he said.Also, millions of Americans are coming out of single-family homeownership because of foreclosure or the economic downturn.“That shift is also putting additional pressure on the rental housing market,” said Williams.He added that culturally, there has also been a shift toward urbanization, with “this idea of coming back to the cities and reinvesting in our urban cores.”“We’re into a very strong era in the United States for rental housing,” said Williams. “This is going to address some of that demand for rental housing in the SouthPark area.”The apartments will be the third phase of Morrison. Between 2004 and 2008, phase one was developed to include retail anchors Barnes & Noble and Earth Fare, as well as other stores. It also included 214 apartment units. The second phase, featuring a 100-unit apartment building, is under construction, with completion set for 2014.Should the rezoning be approved, Williams expects the final phase to enter the design stage next year, with a groundbreaking planned for mid- to late 2014. That third phase will include the demolition of the remaining 136 units at Park South Apartments. Williams estimated that about 110 units of the circa-1970s apartments are occupied.The units would be ready for residents in spring 2016, he said. Part of the development will feature Grubb Properties’ Link Apartments brand. Those apartments likely would average 700 square feet and range from studios to two-bedroom apartments. Rents would range from $800 to $1,900 a month, said Williams.The other section will be comprised of luxury apartments ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet and including one to three bedrooms. Rent would range from $1,400 to $5,000 a month.
Friday, Aug. 09, 2013
Rezoning sought to allow SouthPark apartments
Want to go? The rezoning hearing on the Morrison apartment project will be 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Government Center, 600 E. 4th St.; the City Council is expected to make a decision on the application at the meeting.
Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less