Out with parking, in with hotels and apartments at Levine Properties

Daniel Levine speaks at 2014 groundbreaking for First Ward Park, located across from ImaginOn between East 7th, 9th and Brevard Streets.
Daniel Levine speaks at 2014 groundbreaking for First Ward Park, located across from ImaginOn between East 7th, 9th and Brevard Streets.

Charlotte developer Daniel Levine said Friday that construction on two hotels and two residential high-rise buildings along Brevard Street could start next year, part of a massive planned redevelopment of First Ward.

Levine, head of Levine Properties, said he is assembling a team right now to design, site and build the projects. And to focus fully on development, Levine also said he’s outsourced management of his company’s First Ward surface parking lots to Preferred Parking.

“It was time to focus on the core business, which is building new product,” Levine said. “We’ve got our hands full.”

Preferred Parking will take over management of Levine’s 1,200 spots, spread across 16 surface parking lots, effective immediately. Previously, the spots had been managed by Secure Parking, a subsidiary of Levine Properties. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Levine cited words from his father in his decision to focus fully on development and not parking: “More to the best, and to hell with the rest.”

His company is in the midst of building First Ward Park, which is set to open later this year on 4 acres of former surface parking lots between Seventh Street at the ImaginOn children’s library and Ninth Street at UNC Charlotte’s Center City Building. Ultimately, Mecklenburg County plans to own the park, which Levine intends to be the centerpiece of up to $1 billion worth of development.

First Ward Park is set to open in December or January, Levine said. Roads around the site will reopen in the coming weeks, Levine said, offering passersby their first look at the park.

Levine said he hasn’t decided exactly where the hotels and high-rises will be on his company’s property, which runs from Sixth to Ninth streets along Brevard.

“Any one of those three blocks, we think, would be a good location for these,” Levine said.

The projects include:

▪ Two Hilton hotels. One would be a Hilton Canopy and one would be a Homewood Suites. “We’re looking at how to bring those two properties to market,” Levine said.

▪ One or two residential high rises. These would be 20 to 25 stories, totaling 600 to 650 units, Levine said. At least one would be rental. The other tower could be condominiums, if the market supports that, Levine said.

▪ Levine is also building a 264-unit apartment complex at 10th and Brevard streets. He said preliminary grading work is underway and full work will start soon.

As Levine has begun building on the land he assembled in First Ward, the number of parking spaces his subsidiary managed has fallen from about 2,500, he said. Preferred Parking manages more than 20,000 spots in 90 locations. The company’s owner, Roger Stacks, said he’s known Levine since fifth grade.

“You could say this partnership is many years in the making,” Stacks said in a statement. “We’ve been working side by side with Secure Parking in that area of uptown for three decades, so it seems natural for them to outsource parking management to us while they redevelop the area around those lots.”

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