Cherry project isn’t dead: City Council to re-vote Monday

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment as seen from Kings Drive. This is from the rezoning petition by Goode Properties.
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment as seen from Kings Drive. This is from the rezoning petition by Goode Properties. Charlotte

“Denied” isn’t always really denied when it comes to rezoning requests: A major mixed-use project in the Cherry neighborhood has new life and a new Charlotte City Council vote scheduled for Monday, after the developer promised to reduce the height of his building by six feet.

City Council voted this week to turn down the request from a company affiliated with Roy Goode to approve a plan that would have allowed a 106-foot-tall tower at South Kings Drive and Baxter Street. The plan would have allowed up to 300 apartment units, 225 hotel rooms and a parking deck with up to 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space on a two-acre site.

Neighbors opposed the project because of its height and density, which they said were too much for the surrounding area. Charlotte City Council member Patsy Kinsey, a Democrat who represents the area, said it was too inconsistent with plans for the area – more than twice as tall as buildings in the Morehead-Midtown-Cherry area are supposed to be, under the city’s non-binding area plan.

“Plans are not written in stone, but this is a huge difference,” said Kinsey. She voted against the proposal.

But at the end of last Monday’s 6 1/2-hour zoning meeting, at almost 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Charlotte City Council voted to reopen the hearing. Goode agreed to lower the building height to 100 feet.

Kinsey said Friday that she doesn’t know if she will support the revised proposal, and will speak with neighborhood representatives this weekend.

“I’m going to support the neighborhood,” she said. “I like the height coming down.”

The rezoning petition is on this Monday’s agenda for a new vote. Because it has been protested by neighbors with a petition, nine council votes are required to pass it instead of a simple majority.

Council members Kinsey, Al Austin, Michael Barnes, Claire Fallon and LaWana Mayfield voted against the proposed plan.

Barnes said he would support the proposal, on the condition that the building’s height is lowered to 100 feet. He made the motion to reconsider the zoning hearing at this week’s City Council meeting. The building had originally been slated for a height of 119 feet.

Cherry has been one of the biggest hotspots of gentrification in Charlotte, with a flood of new development pushing out or alienating many longtime residents in the historically black enclave.

Along with new commercial development, dozens of new homes selling for more than $600,000 have been built in the area. Across Kings Drive, Levine Properties is planning to start work on a 25-story, combination hotel-and-apartment tower next to the Metropolitan mixed-use center.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo