Development

Should this town near Charlotte sell 19 acres of woods to a developer for condos, a hotel and shops?

Rendering of a plaza at the planned Luminous development in Davidson.
Rendering of a plaza at the planned Luminous development in Davidson.

A plan to sell publicly owned land in Davidson is drawing strong opposition from many residents near Beaty Street, who would rather see the site kept mostly wooded and used primarily as a park.

The proposal, for a 19-acre site the town has owned for about three decades, is under consideration by the town’s board of commissioners. At a hearing Tuesday, dozens of local residents showed up to oppose the plan, which they say would increase congestion, cost valuable trees and deprive the area of a much-needed larger park.

The developers are offering $1.65 million for the land, and the plan includes a $1 million, 6.5-acre public park, built around a pond on the site. The plan from Davidson Development Partners, for a project named Luminous, would include 28,000 square feet of new shops and restaurants, 132 condominiums, a 100-room hotel, 11 single-family houses, 21 townhouses and a learning center called Davidson Learns presenting educational programs to residents.

(You can see a summary of the development proposal online at http://townofdavidson.org/DocumentCenter/View/7495)

The development would target mainly retirees and Baby Boomers looking to downsize. That’s the main demographic developers are seeking for the condos, which would be built in five midrise buildings with upscale features and covered, secured parking.

“These residents will be seeking to maintain or renew longstanding ties to the Town, the College, or their children and grandchildren,” according to the development proposal. The single-family homes are expected to sell for $500,000 to $600,000, and are targeting empty nesters.

The townhouses would have a lower price – $200,000 to $250,000 – and are designed to attract young families, the developers say. The plans call for a walkable, mixed-use development.

The town of Davidson estimates the development would provide $344,128 worth of annual tax revenue. A previous attempt to find developers to build on the land in 1996 didn’t lead to any action.

This time around, six developers submitted proposals to the town of Davidson. The town commissioners are scheduled to vote on the developer at their April 11 meeting, with an upset bid process and 180-day due diligence period to follow.

Denise Beall, one of the local residents opposing the development plans, said the area around Beaty Street lacks a park, and that the town should use the land for that instead. She called the amount of density proposed for the Beaty Street site “a little shocking.”

“We have the least green space here, and we own this land,” she said. “People want a mix of green space and a little development...Neighbors feel they haven’t had their voices heard.”

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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