Cameron and DeeDee Harris protest SouthPark development

Artist’s rendering of the proposed redevelopment that would replace the Colony Apartments at Sharon and Colony roads.
Artist’s rendering of the proposed redevelopment that would replace the Colony Apartments at Sharon and Colony roads. Land Design

Two high-profile Charlotte developers are taking the unusual step of opposing a neighboring project: Cameron and DeeDee Harris have signed a protest petition against a major proposed mixed-use development at the Colony Apartments in SouthPark.

The plan by owner Synco Properties and Austin, Texas-based Schlosser Development Corp. calls for $400 million worth of development that would replace the decades-old, 353-unit Colony Apartments at Sharon and Colony roads. The project would include up to 1,100 homes, a 300-room hotel and a new grocery store.

The Harrises own two adjoining retail buildings, which house Rooster’s SouthPark, a Walgreens and a food court and cafeteria. Their Harris Land Co. has developed projects around Charlotte, including most recently the city’s first Publix, on Providence Road West. The company also filed plans last year to revive a long-stalled development on a 19-acre site at Park and Gleneagles roads.

Public records show they signed a protest petition against the Colony Apartments redevelopment. Such petitions, which developers have pushed the state legislature to abolish, are typically used by neighboring homeowners or groups to block or force changes in a developers’ plans. The petition would require a super-majority of Charlotte City Council, rather than a simple majority, to pass the rezoning plan.

Cameron Harris couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Plans filed with the city for the Colony Apartments rezoning show the developers want to eventually connect a street through the Harrises’ property, through what is currently a cul-de-sac called Adair Court. The road would run through both sites and connect through to Colony Road.

Collin Brown, a land use attorney with K&L Gates who is representing Synco and Schlosser, said he has been talking with neighborhood groups and adjoining property owners about their concerns.

“This is a large piece of land in really the heart of SouthPark, which is really a perfect candidate for redevelopment,” Brown said.

City Council is set to hear the Colony Apartments redevelopment plan in July. Brown said the developer plans to submit a new site plan next month.

Ferncroft Morrison, the company that owns the Morrison shopping center on the other side of the Colony Apartments, has also signed on to the protest petition. That company couldn’t immediately be reached. The owners of the adjoining shopping center that houses Bricktops, Sharon Luggage and Toscana has also signed on to the protest petition.

As development roars back around Charlotte, SouthPark is in the midst of a boom, adding to many residents’ and workers’ traffic worries. Across from the Colony Apartments site, Sharon United Methodist Church plans to redevelop its 7.1-acre site to allow for hundreds of residences, a hotel and office, retail and restaurant space.

A few blocks away, Lincoln Harris, led by Cameron Harris’ brother Johnny Harris, is building two 10-story office towers behind Piedmont Town Center. And Crescent Communities and Woodfield Investments are building two apartment complexes totaling hundreds of units as well.

Brown, the land use attorney, said some specific concerns about the Colony Apartments site itself could be addressed, but that it would be more difficult to address concerns about the overall volume of development.

“If concerns are more global about growth in SouthPark and impact of those plans, there’s less we can do about that,” Brown said . “We can only control what’s within our boundaries.”

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Twitter: @ESPortillo

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