A big mixed-use, mixed-income development is coming to Dilworth

A rendering of the townhouses planned as part of the Strawn Cottages redevelopment in Dilworth.
A rendering of the townhouses planned as part of the Strawn Cottages redevelopment in Dilworth.

A huge new development with apartments, shops, restaurants, offices and a hotel is headed to Dilworth, where the Charlotte Housing Authority is redeveloping a site that’s long been home to one-story dwellings for low-income residents.

The authority’s board voted Tuesday to select Boston-based Fallon Company as master developer for the $330 million project on South Boulevard. The current development, Strawn Cottages, is located on a 16-acre site between South Boulevard and Euclid Avenue. Horizon Development Properties, CHA’s development arm, is overseeing the project.

The redevelopment will include 725 new apartments, 145 of which will be reserved for people earning between 65 percent and 80 percent of the area median income. There will also be 57,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 330,000 square feet of office space, a 180-room hotel and 20 for-sale townhouses. The plans also call for a public park, water feature and amphitheater.

“I think it’s going to be one of the most exciting projects in Charlotte,” said Fulton Meachem Jr., CEO of CHA and Horizon. “It’s going to be a real live-work-play environment.”

The Strawn Tower, which includes 170 units of income-based housing for people 55 and older, was recently renovated and will remain on the site.

The low-slung “cottages” spread across the Strawn site have grown more and more incongruous as the area around them redevelops with upscale apartments, especially along the South Boulevard corridor. Meachem said displaced residents will be relocated during construction and will have the chance to move back in once the new income-restricted apartments open.

The income-restricted apartments, 20 percent of the total, will be reserved for households making $30,485 to $57,900, depending on the size of their family. Meachem said the apartments will be attractive to families looking for good schools and workers who don’t want to move far from employment centers for affordable housing.

“It’s in a great school district. It’s close to transportation, it’s close to the uptown business district,” said Meachem. Affordability has been an increasingly prominent issue in Charlotte, which, like many cities, is seeing rapidly rising rent. The average rent for an apartment in Charlotte is now $1,052 a month, up 35 percent in the past five years, according to Charlotte-based Real Data.

The Strawn site redevelopment will occur in phases, with groundbreaking on the first site work and infrastructure expected in late 2017. The site is already zoned for mixed-use development, which should speed the process.

The first phase will include 160 apartments and the hotel. Meachem said he hopes the redevelopment can show that it’s possible to include mixed-income units in new apartment developments throughout the city.

“I think this is a real opportunity to set a new watermark,” said Meachem. “It’s been a real hurdle in this city.”

Fallon said they are opening a local office for the company in Charlotte for the project.

“Charlotte is one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the country, and we’re proud to contribute to its evolution and vitality as master developer of the Strawn project,” said Joseph Fallon, his namesake company’s founder.

“This type of development isn’t new to us,” he told the CHA board Tuesday evening. “We’re very comfortable in this type of development. … We have the right team, and we know that we can execute this.”

The Fallon Company has developed major mixed-use projects including Fan Pier, a 21-acre mixed-use development on Boston’s waterfront.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo