SouthPark plan opponent says proposed development is too ‘massive’

Rendering of a proposed apartment building on Colony Road, filed as part of the rezoning plan to redevelop the Colony apartments.
Rendering of a proposed apartment building on Colony Road, filed as part of the rezoning plan to redevelop the Colony apartments.

A plan to redevelop a prominent SouthPark apartment community with hundreds of new residences, offices and retail space drew opposition Monday from a neighbor who said the proposed buildings are too tall for the area.

The plan would replace the Colony apartments at Colony and Sharon roads, a 27-acre site that would be the largest redevelopment in SouthPark. The 353-unit Colony apartments date to the mid-1970s.

“It’s aging,” said Collin Brown, an attorney representing the developers. “It’s dated. I don’t think we’ve run into a person yet who disagrees about the need to redevelop the site.”

Neighboring property owners, including developers Cameron and DeeDee Harris, filed a protest petition against the original plan, which would have required nine members of City Council to approve it, instead of a simple majority of six.

Owner Synco Properties and Schlosser Development Corp. withdrew the original plans and refiled them several months ago, after the legislature passed a law banning protest petitions.

The plans have been reduced slightly from the original, with 990 residential units instead of 1,100. The plan would also include 300,000 square feet of retail space, 250,000 square feet of office space and 225 hotel rooms. The tallest building on the site would be up to 160 feet. The neighboring Barclay Downs Homeowner’s Association supports the plan, a representative said.

“The height of this project would grossly change this property beyond anything that is reasonable or appropriate,” said Ken Davies, a lawyer representing an adjacent homeowner. “This is a massive project.”

Brown said the developer has already lowered the possible height of buildings at the corner abutting the homeowner.

City staff is recommending approval of the petition, which includes a mix of uses, ground-floor retail, pedestrian-friendly features and 5 percent of the units reserved for affordable housing – all city objectives. Some City Council members said they were concerned about traffic, which staff said would increase as a result of the plan.

“Why should we be thrilled about that?” asked council member Greg Phipps. Staff said the mixed-use development would improve the area’s street and let people work and run errands within their community rather than take long trips.

South End plans draw no opposition

No speakers at Monday’s meeting opposed a plan to redevelop a South End site at Tryon Street and Camden Road that is currently home to Common Market, the Food Truck Friday lot and several other popular local businesses.

Cousins Properties is redeveloping the site, which will become an office building for Dimensional Fund Advisors’ East Coast headquarters.

Some in the neighborhood had said they were concerned about the building displacing the local businesses and popular Food Truck Friday gathering, which will relocate to sites in South End and Plaza Midwood.

Jeff Brown, a lawyer representing the developer, said it will diversify the apartment- and brewery-heavy corridor by bringing “the ‘work’ to the ‘live’ and the ‘play’ that’s in South End now.”

The developers changed the original plans to include retail on each corner of the triangular site and make the overall appearance less suburban.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo