Development

Charlotte Pipe & Foundry building facility on West Morehead Street

2/1/2008 Beazer's Morehead Common project never got off the ground. It’s shown here in 2008, shortly before Beazer left the Charlotte market.
2/1/2008 Beazer's Morehead Common project never got off the ground. It’s shown here in 2008, shortly before Beazer left the Charlotte market. Staff Photographer

Charlotte Pipe & Foundry said Friday it will build a warehouse and training facility on long-vacant land on West Morehead Street near the Carolina Panthers’ stadium.

The new construction is part of a deal with the N.C. Department of Transportation. Charlotte Pipe said it has sold 12 acres on West Summit Avenue next to the Norfolk Southern rail line to the state agency, which will build a rail yard and locomotive maintenance facility on the site. The DOT will also use the site to make improvements to the rails.

Charlotte Pipe will relocate some of its existing facilities from a nearby site on West Summit Avenue to land at West Morehead and South Clarkson streets, near the stadium. The company will build a 40,000-square-foot warehouse and training facility on the land, part of an 18-acre parcel it bought from Beazer Homes in 2011. Real estate records show Charlotte Pipe paid about $21.7 million for the land.

Thirteen acres have been rezoned back to industrial use, while five acres of the site that fronts West Morehead Street remain zoned for mixed-use development. A spokesman said Charlotte Pipe won’t develop or sell those five acres but will maintain them as green space.

Charlotte Pipe is still in the architectural design phase of its new facilities. A projected cost for the project wasn’t available.

“While the land the DOT wanted to acquire on West Summit was critical to our ongoing foundry operations, we believed the rail improvements the Department was planning were important enough to the city’s infrastructure that we needed to find a way to collaborate with them,” said Roddey Dowd, Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe, in a statement. “We are pleased that NCDOT and Charlotte Pipe were able to work closely together to structure this transaction to meet both DOT’s planned construction schedule and the company’s operational needs.”

Mecklenburg County real estate records show the DOT paid $20 million for the Charlotte Pipe land on West Summit.

Beazer Homes had planned to build a mixed-use development on the West Morehead site before the recession and a federal investigation into its practices. The development, called Morehead Commons, would have put townhouses on the land, one of the largest undeveloped tracts inside the I-277 loop.

But those plans fell through after Beazer faced a federal probe of its lending practices, which broke federal lending laws and put hundreds of Charlotte-area residents into homes they couldn’t afford. The investigation followed a series of Observer stories looking into the company’s practices.

Two Beazer executives were ultimately convicted of felonies in the wake of the scandal, while the company and its two top leaders avoided prosecution by paying back almost $60 million to the government and homeowners. In April, the company’s chief accounting officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a long-running accounting scheme at Beazer.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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