After decades of watching businesses leave, residents near the Independence Boulevard-Monroe Road corridor are applauding news that a major mixed-use development is headed to the area.
Roy Goode, principal of Goode Properties, says his company will start construction this spring on Meridian Place, just east of the intersection of Idlewild and Monroe roads.
The development will include 260 apartments and 100,000 square feet of restaurants, offices and retail space. Goode said his firm is spending five to seven years to complete the $75 million project.
The unveiling of Meridian Place comes as the N.C. Department of Transportation continues its decadeslong work to turn Independence into a limited-access expressway extending from uptown Charlotte toward Matthews.
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The work has displaced scores of businesses, turning a once-thriving commercial corridor into a procession of struggling shopping centers.
Goode said as he watched the Independence construction creep closer, he had to decide whether to do something new with his 20-acre tract, home to the aging Silver Oak apartment complex.
Independence Shopping Center, which backs up to Silver Oak, surrendered about a third of its property as part of the state’s ongoing $51 million project to replace stoplights with overpasses at the Sharon Amity Road, Idlewild Road and Conference Drive intersections.
An attorney for the shopping center, which contains a Roses store and other businesses, said last year that the center’s owners would try to keep it afloat as long as possible before tearing it down and redeveloping it.
Goode opted to tear down the 340-unit Silver Oak complex and replace it with Meridian Place. His company worked with a consortium of charities late last year to help low-income Silver Oak residents find new housing.
“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to help move this area of town in a more positive direction,” Goode said Tuesday. “We like to say we’re part of a bigger picture.”
One resident of the nearby Stonehaven neighborhood couldn’t be happier. Kathy Hill said when she moved into the area about 15 years ago, she could shop at a Target and Harris Teeter store nearby on Independence, but those are gone now.
Goode, she said, is “taking a chance” that she hopes will show other developers that the area is a good bet.
“It’s not very beautiful right now. It takes a little bit of vision and faith to think it can be turned around to the state it used to be in,” she said. Meridian Place is “really an exciting proposition for this area.”
In keeping with urban design principles, buildings will be set close to the street, and the project will include small “pocket” parks, landscaped walks and community Wi-Fi.
The “transit-oriented” development is designed to tie into the city’s long-range transit plans, which envision high-speed bus or light-rail service running through the area by 2030. A transit station is planned at Conference Drive.
John Autry, who represents the area on the Charlotte City Council, said the city hopes to funnel most traffic onto Independence, while turning Monroe Road into a more pedestrian-friendly artery with bicycle lanes and tree-lined medians.
Meridian Place, he said, fits with that vision.
“I’m really encouraged by what this development offers,” he said, “and I’d expect to see more of the same up and down Monroe Road.”
Axiom Architecture, The Housing Studio and Urban Design Partners round out the design and development team for Meridian Place. Childress Klein Properties is the leasing agent for the retail and office components.