Development

In Charlotte burbs, subdivisions and strip malls are out. Here’s what’s coming instead

A site plan for Farmington.
A site plan for Farmington.

Two big new developments that would make Charlotte’s suburban fringes a lot denser are up for discussion at a hearing Monday, part of the latest wave of projects that mix apartments, houses, shops, restaurants and offices on the same land.

Charlotte City Council will consider the plans at their monthly rezoning night, when opponents and supporters of the developments will have a chance to air their views. Council members will then likely vote on the developments at their meeting next month.

All across the region, developers are departing from more traditional building patterns to cater to residents who they think will pay to live in a denser, more walkable environment. So instead of building subdivisions of single-family houses, many developers are building townhouses, apartments, condominiums, shops and restaurants on the same piece of land. Many are along Charlotte’s outerbelt, on previously vacant land that’s now attractive to develop.

That’s what’s driving major developments such as Waverly (A Whole Foods, offices, restaurants, houses and apartments on Providence Road just south of I-485) and Rea Farms (A similar development directly across Providence Road, anchored by a Harris Teeter).

While developers say such projects will ultimately cut down on traffic by creating places where residents don’t have to drive for every trip they take and errand they run, neighbors are often skeptical and worry about the increased congestion such dense developments could bring.

Waverly mixed-use project groundbreaking Wednesday morning August 5, 2015 at Providence Road near I-485. Waverly will include houses, office space and retail, anchored by a new Whole Foods supermarket.

Here are the details on the plans up for a hearing Monday night. Charlotte city planning staff are recommending approval for both of them:

▪ At I-485 and Rocky River Road, MPV Properties is developing a 180 acre site that straddles the Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County line. The site, to be called Farmington, would include 300 townhouses, 275 apartments, 120 units of “active senior” housing (age-restricted, for-sale housing), a 120-room hotel, a 14-screen movie theater, 200,000 square feet of retail space and 160,000 square feet of office space, including medical offices.

“Growth out along Rocky River Road, for three to five years, had virtually stopped,” said MPV Properties managing partner Steve Vermillion, discussing the plan earlier this year. “It’s really kicked back in.”

City planning staff estimates the part of the development that’s in Charlotte would generate 13,510 trips a day. That’s a big increase from the current zero trips per day at the empty site. A network of streets through the site would provide more connections and handle the traffic, the developers have said.

▪ At the West Mallard Creek Church Road and I-85 intersection, Charter Properties and Browder Group Real Estate are planning to build a development on 66 acres of vacant land. The project would include 395 apartments along with shops, restaurants and “golf-related outdoor entertainment uses.” Planning documents indicate it could be a Top Golf facility.

The development would generate about 22,900 trips per day, a big increase from the current estimate of 30 trips a day now and 7,170 under the land’s current zoning.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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