Development

Up for a vote: Hundreds of new apartments along the Blue Line light rail extension

A rendering of ATAPCO’s planned new apartments in University City on North Tryon Street, filed in a public document as part of a rezoning petition with the city of Charlotte.
A rendering of ATAPCO’s planned new apartments in University City on North Tryon Street, filed in a public document as part of a rezoning petition with the city of Charlotte.

Charlotte City Council is set to vote on two proposals Tuesday night that would add hundreds of new apartments along the path of the Blue Line light rail extension to University City.

The $1.2-billion light rail line is set to open in August, and developers have been busy filing plans for new projects alongside, especially at its northern and southern ends. Two of those developments that would require a rezoning are up for a vote. City planning staff are recommending that City Council members vote to approve both of them, though one faced opposition from a council member who said it looks like “a barracks.”

Here are details on the two plans:

▪ Optimist Park

Miller-Valentine Group is seeking to build up to 290 apartments on North Davidson Street, on a 3-acre site near the Parkwood Avenue light rail stop. The apartments would be in one large building, up to 75 feet tall. The land is currently used as office and warehouse space, and staff estimates the number of daily vehicle trips would increase from 225 on average now to 2,130 after the apartments are built.

Ground floor units facing 21st and 22nd streets would have entrances with direct access to the street, and the building would include up to 3,500 square feet of nonresidential uses, such as shops or offices. And the developer has agreed to donate $10,000 for a shared B-Cycle station near Parkwood Avenue Light Rail Station or Cordelia Park.

▪ University City

On the other end of the Blue Line’s route, ATAPCO is planning to redevelop a 4.5-acre, aging office building into apartments. The apartments would total up to 280 units, with about 6,000 square feet of non-residential uses such as shops and restaurants on the ground floor. The building would be a so-called “Texas doughnut,” with a parking structure wrapped and screened by apartments. The building would be five stories tall.

Charlotte City Council member Claire Fallon was critical of the project at a hearing last year, which she compared to “barracks” and “Soviet architecture.”

The site is next to the McCullough Street station on the Blue Line extension, and city staff said the pedestrian connections in the project would improve the area’s walkability.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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