Offices, shops, hundreds of homes proposed on Providence south of I-485

The stretch of Providence Road south of Interstate 485 could soon be a lot more busy, with developer Lincoln Harris filing plans to rezone a 188-acre former golf course to build offices, shops, a school and hundreds of houses.

The Charlotte Golf Links course failed this year – one of the troubled Carolina Trail courses that went into receivership and foreclosure – and control of the property reverted to its longtime owners, the Rea family.

The Reas contracted Lincoln Harris in March to examine ideas for redeveloping the property as a mixed-use development.

The proposed new development is across Providence Road from Waverly, another mixed-use project that will include houses, office space and retail, anchored by a new Whole Foods supermarket.

Together, the two projects would add hundreds of houses, apartments and more than a million square feet of office, restaurant and retail space to Providence and Ardrey Kell roads just south of Interstate 485.

The Golf Links rezoning request was filed last week. City planning staff have been working with the developer and held several community meetings.

Concerns from neighbors have centered on traffic, with 84 percent of attendees at an October community meeting saying increased traffic is a concern for them, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department.

Johnny Harris, president and CEO of Lincoln Harris, said in a statement: “As a result of continuous collaboration from the city and community, the Reas have produced a plan that is responsive and positively impacts the surrounding area.”

Charlotte City Council member Ed Driggs, who represents District 7, where the Golf Links and Waverly are located, said he’s still meeting with neighbors to hear their concerns. Potential traffic is one of the main issues he’s been hearing about, he said.

“The general conditions of Ardrey Kell are getting pretty untenable,” said Driggs. “The area is crowded already, and now all of that is being developed.”

However, Driggs said the property’s current single-family zoning, which would allow a large single-family subdivision, could actually result in more traffic than the proposed mixed-use rezoning.

Under current development rules, the land could have six residential units per acre, or more than 1,100 homes. Lincoln Harris and the Charlotte Department of Transportation are still conducting a traffic study.

An analysis by the city before approving the Waverly rezoning showed that its development alone would generate 19,400 new daily vehicle trips for the area.

In a statement, Lincoln Harris said its mixed-use proposal would reduce traffic in the area over the long term: “Development (no matter what type) creates traffic. However, the overall objective is to create a mixture of uses where you can reduce the long term traffic impacts.”

The company also said its proposed road network in the development would help – for example, by creating a way to connect Providence Road to Ardrey Kell without going through the two roads’ intersection.

The Golf Links mixed-use rezoning proposal includes:

A rezoning hearing will likely be held early next year if the project is not delayed, and a Charlotte City Council vote is possible in March. Lincoln Harris is still talking with development partners about building various parts of the project, and a company executive said the earliest dirt might start moving in late 2015.

Across Providence, Charlotte City Council approved rezoning for the Waverly mixed-use development in April, to be built by Childress Klein, Crosland Southeast and two home builders.

That $200 million project covers 90 acres. Waverly is expected to have up to 250,000 square feet of retail, two five- to six-story office buildings, medical office space, 375 upscale apartments, a hotel and 124 single-family homes.

Infrastructure work has begun on the site, and construction fencing should go up next week, a spokeswoman for Waverly said. Commercial construction will begin in the spring, with a medical office expected to be complete next summer, followed by some houses expected in the fall and retail debuting in 2016.

An executive with Lincoln Harris said the company is viewing the Waverly development as complementary, not competitive, with the Golf Links site.

Waverly will have some things the Golf Links proposal doesn’t, such as Whole Foods (there is a Harris Teeter adjacent to the Golf Links site), while a K-8 school on the Golf Links site could serve children from Waverly, for example.

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