Levine Properties is redesigning the apartments planned to wrap around a parking deck under construction at Tenth and Brevard streets, substituting a taller steel-and-concrete building for the wood-framed apartments that had been envisioned.
The parking deck, which had been expected to open in October, is now planned to open in March 2018, Levine Properties senior director of development and construction Barley Phillips said.
“We are taking a holistic look at the project, re-visioning the project and we’re pretty excited about it,” said Phillips. He said the company has hired architectural firm Perkins Eastman to redesign the building, which will be nine or 10 stories tall, with 400 apartments. “We believe we can put a better product on the ground...We’re taking a holistic approach.”
Daniel Levine, president of Levine Properties, initially announced the project in 2015. A building with about 260 apartments was planned to wrap the nearly 1,400-space parking deck, with ground-floor retail fronting the Blue Line light rail extension. UNC Charlotte, which has its uptown campus at Ninth Street, contributed $4.2 million for the parking deck in exchange for the use of 300 spaces.
As initially planned, the apartments would have been shorter than the parking deck, leaving about four stories of the parking deck poking out from above.
Now, the parking deck is largely complete, but has been sitting empty. Foundations for the original apartment building are in place, but Phillips said they can be used for the redesigned building.
The project’s design is expected to take the next several months, Phillips said, and construction could start in the second or third quarter of 2018 on the apartments. He declined to discuss the apartment building’s financing.
Phillips said the advantages of steel framing over wood framing have driven the company’s decision to redesign its apartments. He said Levine believes the steel and concrete construction will age better, have better sound insulation and offer better design (such as wider floor spans and larger windows) than wood framing.
“What’s driven this is looking at a new system to build with,” he said. “Without splitting hairs, it’s a better system.”
Levine Properties has long been the biggest landholder in First Ward, where the company holds nearly 20 acres, covering big swaths between Sixth and Ninth streets. That’s down from about 32 acres a decade ago. Much of the land is occupied by surface parking.
In addition to developing First Ward Park (now owned by the county), Levine Properties in January sold 3.5 acres between the Blue Line light rail extension and North College Street to developer Lennar Multifamily for $23 million. Lennar is planning a major mixed-use development on that site, with a high-rise apartment building and commercial space.