Planning staff recommended Charlotte City Council vote this hotel down – but they approved it anyway

Page from rezoning petition 2016-095, showing a proposed new hotel in SouthPark.
Page from rezoning petition 2016-095, showing a proposed new hotel in SouthPark.

Charlotte City Council on Monday approved plans for two new hotels totaling more than 300 rooms in Charlotte, one of them in a busy corner of rapidly growing SouthPark.

The developments add to a growing number of new hotels in Charlotte, both inside and outside of uptown. Here are the details on the hotels approved Monday:

▪ SouthPark: American Asset Corp. is planning to develop a 180-room hotel on the site of a parking deck on Piedmont Row Drive South, just south of Fairview Road. The company, which owns the Fairview Plaza buildings, had originally planned a more extensive mixed-use redevelopment that would have included 125,000 square feet of office space, 75,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 300 hotel rooms and 400 apartments.

But some neighbors were opposed to the dense development, and American Asset Corp. pared down its request to 180 hotel rooms and 7,500 square feet of shops and restaurants, eliminating the other uses such as offices and apartments. The hotel’s brand hasn’t been announced.

Charlotte City Council approved the plan unanimously.

▪ Interstate 485 and W.T. Harris Boulevard: In north Charlotte, Innkeeper Motor Lodge Inc. is planning to develop a 141-room Hampton Inn & Suites. The hotel would be located on Treyburn Drive, and neighbors from the Wedgewood and Braemar neighborhoods were concerned about increased traffic at their entrances.

City planning staff opposed the project and recommended City Council vote it down. Planners said the hotel “does not meet the (Northlake Area) plan objective of providing uses that serve and complement the neighborhood.”

They also said the hotel is too big and tall for the area.

“Further, the proposed hotel height of six stories is inconsistent within the low scale character of the surrounding residential development,” planning staff wrote in their negative recommendation.

“This has been a difficult decision,” said City Council member Al Austin. He said the location is “not optimal” for a hotel, but that he was satisfied with the road improvements and that the plan is better than possible alternatives. City Council voted for the project 9 to 1, with Patsy Kinsey voting no.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo