Rezoning filed for $190 million mixed-use development, new Harris Teeter, in South End

A local real estate firm is bringing a $190 million mixed-use development and a Harris Teeter grocery store to the burgeoning South End, just three blocks away from a future site of rival grocer Publix.

Marsh Properties, which owns the Sedgefield Shopping Center, has filed for a rezoning of 60 acres in and around it. The shopping center, home of the Healthy Home Market and five other businesses, will be torn down.

The development, which will unfold over about a decade, will require demolition of 303 multi-family units, many of them brick duplexes along streets shaded by large oaks.

A new Harris Teeter store at South Boulevard and Poindexter Drive will anchor the development, which is yet to be named. It will also include rentals, restaurants, for-sale housing and possibly office space.

The plan marks the latest infusion of development in the fast-growing South End area following the launch of the Lynx Blue Line in 2007.

Eleven residential projects are either planned there or under construction, according to Charlotte Center City Partners. A March report from the Real Data firm, which studies rentals, showed the submarket that includes the South End had more than 3,000 apartment units under construction over the previous six months – more than twice as much as any other part of the city.

Marsh Properties’ land, once a family farm, sits along South Boulevard between Poindexter Drive and Marsh Road.

“We see this next chapter as continued stewardship of property that has been in the family for over 80 years,” said Jamie Mc-Lawhorn, president of Marsh Properties.

“From the beginning, Sedgefield Shopping Center was a neighborhood shopping center, and we intend to modernize it to become the neighborhood center of today with a wide range of offerings to match the array of residents – long-term and new – that make up Sedgefield and South End today.”

The developers have been consulting with residents of the nearby Sedgefield neighborhood, who say they approve of the plans – particularly efforts to push buildings back from the street to protect the trees.

“We’re looking forward to seeing all these plans unfold,” said Debby Robinson, president of the Sedgefield Neighborhood Association. “It’s good in that it’s bringing in a higher level of rental property and some townhomes to (replace) mature property … that doesn’t look good right now.”

Harris Teeter was the first anchor of the original shopping center when it opened in 1952, Marsh Properties said. The grocery chain, which was bought by the Kroger Co. earlier this year, operated in Sedgefield until 1988.

Marsh Properties envisions a grocery store with “mid-century Modern” style architecture harkening back to the center’s beginnings. Also in the plan: small shops with outdoor gathering spaces and restaurants featuring rooftop dining.

Harris Teeter returns to South End as Florida-based Publix, which is expanding into the region, prepares to open a grocery store a short distance away at South Boulevard and Iverson Way. That store is slated to open later this year, Publix officials have said.

McLawhorn said Healthy Home Market, formerly The Home Economist, will relocate to a new store off Central Avenue, near the Plaza Midwood neighborhood, around August or September.

He said Marsh Properties had been considering redevelopment of the land for years, and had put Healthy Home Market on notice that it could be asked to leave when that happened. The other, smaller businesses were on month-to-month leases.

The company is working with renters who will be displaced by construction, McLawhorn said. Some will be allowed to move into other rental units on the property if their units are among the earliest to be demolished.

Marsh Properties said it anticipates a public hearing on the rezoning in July. If approved, construction would likely start in 2015, with the Harris Teeter and the retail center opening in late 2016.

Traffic could be an issue, with South Boulevard increasingly congested already. McLawhorn said his firm has hired a traffic engineer to do a study. It plans on-street parking throughout the development in hopes of slowing traffic.

Robinson said neighbors will be watching closely.

“We want to protect the streets and keep pedestrians safe,” she said.

Marsh Properties is teaming with Aston Properties, which will lead development of about 98,000 square feet of retail projects. LandDesign is leading the master planning, and Narmour Wright is handling the architecture.

The first phase will include 68,000 square feet of retail and 300 units of multifamily homes. Developers hope to add 900 more housing units in the second phase, as well as 30,000 square feet of retail and possibly 100,000 square feet of office space.

The development will comply with the city’s land use plan for the area, which calls for transit-friendly uses with added density within a half-mile of the light-rail stations. It also calls for a park on Ardmore Road.

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