With the current building boom all around us, it’s easy to forget just how dark things seemed in the recession’s aftermath.
In early 2011, when little was being built, the Observer ran a story about five big projects that were stalled as the economy limped along.
“Hangovers from better times,” the Observer called them.
Here’s what’s going on with those sites today:
(1) Morningside Village: Revived, and a little less dense.
The project was first announced in 2005, but by 2011 the land still sat empty.
Charlotte-based developer Northwood Ravin bought part of the property in 2013 for $7.5 million, after it went through foreclosure, and started construction on a new apartment complex. The first phase of the project, a 401-unit mix of low-rise apartments and townhouses, is set to open this fall.
(2) Augustalee: Still vacant.
It was an ambitious plan from the start: A 104-acre site south of Cornelius would give birth to a $515 million mixed-use project of luxury residences, high-end retail, offices and hotels, bringing 4,600 jobs.
Years later, the site at Interstate 77 and Westmoreland Road still sits vacant.
The initial plans fell through when no office tenants signed up. A new investor group bought the land for about $7.4 million in 2012 after a lender foreclosed. Stevanovski said the group doesn’t have any plans for the site.
(3) City Park: Coming back to life, one piece at a time.
When the Charlotte Coliseum was imploded in 2007, a major new wave of development was supposed to follow. Atlanta-based Pope & Land bought the site and planned a $624 million, 170-acre community of homes, stores, restaurants and offices.
But for years the site known as City Park sat idle.
Development has picked back up now, although big tracts at the Tyvola Road site remain empty.
– Oxford Properties has built a 282-unit apartment complex, now open.
– Mason Zimmerman, of Pope & Land, said the company will soon start a second apartment phase with more than 200 units.
– Ryan Homes is building up to 200 townhouses on the site.
– MJM Group is building a planned 204-room hotel.
(4) Riverwalk: On track as planned.
At over 1,000 acres on the banks of the Catawba River, Riverwalk, in Rock Hill, was one of the largest developments to get underway before the recession and arguably the most successful of the five.
Construction crews are working on 3 million square feet of industrial space, 600,000 square feet of office and retail, 750 single-family homes, 600 apartments and 150 townhouses planned for Riverwalk.
A velodrome for cycling competitions is open at the site and 180 single-family homes have been sold.
Construction is underway on a 174-unit apartment project, with a second 175-unit phase set to start this fall. The next phase of single-family homes will be 150 lots, delivered this fall.
Riverwalk is also building about 100,000 square feet of mixed-use space. Williams said a grocer is under contract.
(5) Cornerstone: Still waiting to launch.
Before the recession, Crosland LLC was planning to bring a high-end shopping center like Birkdale Village to the intersection of U.S. 521 and Jim Wilson Road in South Carolina.
The plan never got built.
Lennar Corp. is in control of the site now. The company’s residential arm has built hundreds of single-family houses on Jim Wilson Road and is now building a 172-townhouse development.
Lennar’s commercial arm is still marketing the Cornerstone site as a potential retail development. Nothing quite as distinctive as Birkdale Village is proposed, though.
Photos: Jeff Willhelm/Charlotte Observer; Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer; David T. Foster/Charlotte Observer; John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer.
Ely Portillo ESPortillo