Pappas Properties nearing hotel deal for Scaleybark Station development

Site plan for Scaleybark Station development by Pappas Properties
Site plan for Scaleybark Station development by Pappas Properties

It’s been more than eight years since the city of Charlotte partnered with Pappas Properties to develop land around the Scaleybark light-rail station development, but the still-vacant site could see movement toward construction soon.

According to the City Council’s agenda for next week, Pappas is nearing a deal to build a hotel on the site. The company has said it plans to develop a 125-room hotel facing South Boulevard.

“Negotiations are nearly complete with a hotel and approval of that element is projected in late 2015,” city staff wrote in the agenda. Pappas is also negotiating letters of intent with companies to build 50 townhouses and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.

The hotel, townhouses and retail space are a small part of Pappas’ ambitious plans for Scaleybark, which call for adding up to 450,000 square feet of office space, almost 500 housing units and 100,000 square feet of retail space. You can check out a sales brochure with full details here.

Peter A. Pappas said he’s in negotiations with a “major hotel chain.” In addition to the hotel, townhouses, retail and restaurants, Pappas said his company is looking to start a 30,000-square-foot office building, which would have a substantial pre-lease. The firm is working with CBRE to market the Scaleybark site to major companies looking to relocate to a light-rail-accessible location.

“We’re making good progress on our first phase,” Pappas said.

Pappas is also asking the city for a two-year extension on plans to build a new CATS parking deck at Scaleybark Station. Tax credits for affordable housing required as part of the plan haven’t come through.

So why is any of this before the City Council? It goes back to a public-private partnership to develop the land in the heady, pre-recession days.

The city spent $9.3 million buying land at the station, clearing the buildings and doing other site work. The city then agreed to sell Pappas 16 acres of land in 2007 for almost $7 million. That price was later reduced to $5.2 million after poor sub-soil conditions were discovered. That land brought Pappas’ holdings to almost 23 acres at the site. The ambitious plans were stalled by the recession, however.

As part of its agreement with the city to buy the land, Pappas was required to build a parking deck for the light-rail station. CATS is currently using a surface parking lot. The deadline for building the CATS parking deck has been extended three times, and Pappas was facing a February 2016 completion target.

Now, the company is asking for that deadline to be extended again, to February 2018. City staff is recommending approval for the extension.

Pappas was also required to include 80 units of affordable housing for families making less than $40,320. But so far, working with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, the company has been unable to win federal tax credits it says it needs to do the project. Three applications have been turned down. The city says Pappas is now “evaluating a different financing approach to implement the affordable units.”

Pappas has so far built required site improvements, such as a linear park, lighting, landscaping, a plaza along South Boulevard and a stormwater retention pond. Pappas is the developer behind the Metropolitan and Sharon Square (the Whole Foods, apartments, restaurants and offices in SouthPark), and is planning to redevelop the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association site on Kenilworth Avenue.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo