Charlotte developers zero in on cheaper land as walkable mixed-use projects spread to city’s fringes

It seems like there’s another mixed-use development with shops, restaurants and apartments announced every week in close-in neighborhoods like uptown and South End.

But there’s actually a building surge of such developments popping up around the city’s periphery, as developers look to capitalize on the appetite for more walkable living on sites where land is cheaper. And while these aren’t typically quite as dense as the mixed-use developments in areas like SouthPark, they are larger and involve a much greater total square footage to be developed.

Here’s a look at the major mixed-use developments planned or underway around Interstate 485:

▪ West Boulevard and I-485

The biggest mixed-use development planned (both right now and in Charlotte’s history) is the River District. Planned for 1,400 acres west of I-485 and West Boulevard, the development will take 20 to 30 years to build. Lincoln Harris and Crescent Communities won permission last year from Charlotte City Council to build 8 million square feet of office space (about two Ballantyne Corporate Parks), 1,000 hotel rooms, 2,350 apartments, 600 townhouses, 1,700 single-family detached houses and 500,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.

▪ N.C. 16 and I-485

Corning Optical is anchoring a new development called Riverbend Village, located at Brookshire Boulevard and Mount Holly-Huntersville Road. The plans call for hundreds of new townhouses and apartments, along with shopping including a new Harris Teeter store.

▪ Rocky River Road and I-485

MPV Properties is planning to build a new development called Farmington on 180 acres just north of Rocky River Road, half in Mecklenburg and half in Cabarrus counties. The plans call for a new “town center” with a movie theater, hotel, shops and restaurants, along with hundreds of new apartments, age-restricted senior housing and townhouses.

▪ Providence Road and I-485

Just south of I-485, three separate mixed-use developments are underway adjacent to each other. The one that’s farthest along is Waverly, anchored by a Whole Foods and featuring dozens of shops and restaurants. The development also includes hundreds of apartments and townhouses for sale.

Next to that site, Crescent Communities is planning to build apartments and for-sale housing, and sold off part of the commercial development site to Waverly developers Childress Klein and Crosland Southeast.

And across Providence Road, Lincoln Harris is redeveloping a defunct golf course into hundreds of houses and apartments, a new Harris Teeter, more shops and restaurants, a gym, a new K-8 school and more.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo