Development

Park Road is going to get a lot more dense

rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The rapidly growing, increasingly dense Park Road corridor is set to get hundreds of new apartments after Charlotte City Council approved development plans Monday.

In a unanimous vote, City Council paved the way for Grubb Properties to redevelop its Park Road headquarters. The plans call for 450 new apartments and 600,000 square feet of commercial space for shops, offices and restaurants.

Some of that commercial space also could be converted to a 300-room hotel at Grubb’s discretion, if the developer finds a hotelier who wants to operate on the site.

It’s the latest plan to reshape Park Road. Down the street, a developer is planning to build up to 360 apartments and additional retail space at the Pfeiffer University campus. Developer Pollack Shores is also finishing 273 apartments at 5115 Park Place, and more apartment and townhouse projects are in the works, one of which was approved Monday.

All of that growth is leading to the potential for more traffic. The Grubb redevelopment, for example, could increase the number of daily vehicle trips from 2,500 under the current zoning to 11,178, a more than four-fold jump.

“I think we’re really experiencing the growth there,” said council member Vi Lyles, a Democrat. She said council members need to take notice of how much they’re approving. “I just really want us to pay a little bit more attention to the idea of the accumulative.”

One proposed plan drew opposition. Charlotte city staff are recommending against a proposal to replace the Melrose Place apartments near Park and Woodlawn roads. They say the planned 265-unit apartment building would be too dense for the neighborhood at Drexel Place. Four single-family houses would be demolished.

Owner Dwayne Deese said the Melrose Place building is an older property that has reached its time to be torn down.

“It’s very dated and needs to be redeveloped,” Deese said. The 54-unit building opened in the late 1960s.

Some neighbors showed up to express their misgivings about the increased density.

“We’re very aware of the recent changes in rezonings and how that impacts neighborhoods,” Judy Smith said.

“Our community has seen a surge of redevelopment,” Kristen Conner said.

Some council members said they were uncomfortable with the idea of demolishing houses to build more apartments. Council member Patsy Kinsey said she worries about a “domino effect” in the area.

“I’m concerned about the encroachment into the neighborhood,” council member Kenny Smith, a Republican, told the apartment building’s owner. “I think you might have some work on this one.”

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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