Charlotte Housing Authority wants to redevelop prominent Dilworth property

Rendering of development possibilities for Strawn site in Dilworth
Rendering of development possibilities for Strawn site in Dilworth

A large site in Dilworth could soon see new development, with hundreds of apartments, office space and retail: The Charlotte Housing Authority is seeking proposals from developers to build a major mixed-use community on a 16-acre site between South Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.

The plan has been in the works for years. The site – which is occupied by an apartment tower and a series of single-story cottages – was rezoned by CHA in 2010 with a plan that would allow 1.2 million square feet of office, retail, condominiums and townhouses. The site is near the booming Lynx Blue Line corridor in South End, where new office developments are now following the thousands of apartments that have popped up in the past decade.

Strawn Tower was recently renovated, and would remain on the site. The property offers 170 units of income-based housing for people 55 and older. (Click here to see more details about the redevelopment online.) Horizon Development Properties, a subsidiary of the Charlotte Housing Authority, is overseeing the project.

“This is an incomparable opportunity to do major redevelopment,” said Troy Drawz, Horizon’s chief development officer. “It’s time to pull the trigger.”

CHA would require a developer to include 132 new affordable units to compensate for the single-story “cottage” units lost. The housing agency can use deed restrictions to mandate the units’ inclusion, and CHA plans to stay involved in the project through a joint venture.

“You see a lot of high-end, market rate product along South Boulevard,” said Drawz. “It’s very important to us that the affordability component still is in play.”

Current residents would be relocated, with the chance to return when the development is complete.

Rental rates have pushed steadily higher as Charlotte’s population grows rapidly, with most developers in the recent apartment boom building high-end, luxury units. The average rent in Charlotte has now hit $1,000 a month for the first time, according to the most recent data.

Development proposals are due Feb. 25, and CHA hopes to reach a final agreement with a master developer by the end of June.

Here are some of the basic components called for in a conceptual plan developed last year by CHA and other stakeholders. The development would be done in multiple phases, with some streets extended through the site to create a new street network:

▪ Office, retail and market-rate residential units on South Boulevard: Up to 67,000 square feet of retail, 128,000 square feet of office space, 65 for-sale housing units and 807-space parking garage.

▪ Rental units around a “Central Park” off South Caldwell Street: Nearly 10,000 square feet of retail space, 60 affordable rental units and 239 mid-rise, wood-built market rate rental units, as well as a 405-space parking deck.

▪ Townhouses on Euclid Avenue: Twenty market-rate, for-sale units

▪ Retail off South Caldwell extension: About 2,600 square feet of retail in a building that includes 48 affordable units and 192 market-rate units.

▪ Senior housing: A total of 119 rental units for tenants aged 55 and older, with 24 affordable and 95 market-rate.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo