Development

Levine: First Ward apartment construction restarted

Eight-year-old Jordan Koonce was able to fly his kite with the help of his grandfather David Preston in First Ward Park 0n Saturday.
Eight-year-old Jordan Koonce was able to fly his kite with the help of his grandfather David Preston in First Ward Park 0n Saturday. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Daniel Levine said Wednesday that construction is underway again on his apartment complex at 10th and Brevard streets, part of the ongoing overhaul of First Ward.

“We’ll get that project back on track,” said Levine, president of Levine Properties, which owns much of the land in First Ward.

Construction had halted on the site following a dispute with UNC Charlotte over funding. The 264-unit apartment building is being constructed around a 1,300-space parking deck. The school agreed to make a $4.2 million equity investment in return for use of 300 spaces at the deck. The actual transfer of money was delayed, however, and Levine said he was stopping work until the funding was straightened out.

Now, Levine says the issue has been resolved. He said the parking deck should be complete in December 2017 or early 2018, and the apartments should be finished in mid-2018.

First Ward Park opened last year, developed by Levine in partnership with Mecklenburg County, and Levine said having different parts of the area’s redevelopment come into being is making it easier to market First Ward.

“With the first phases coming together, people can see that it’s really happening,” he said. “That’s really helping us market.”

The company is seeking an anchor tenant for a proposed 20-story office building adjacent to UNC Charlotte’s uptown building at the corner of Ninth Street and the light rail extension.

Levine also said that Google Fiber’s renovation of the old Dixie’s Tavern building is progressing, and the first phase of the building should open by the end of May. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the quality of renovations,” Levine said.

As a result, his company is considering renovating other buildings they own in the area in advance of signing new tenants, such as a nearby bail bonds office.

“We’re evaluating going ahead and doing the building renovations now,” he said. “We’ve shifted our strategy a little bit to say we’re going to add to the neighborhood where we can,” rather than waiting for big projects to come together.

Levine is also still developing a dual-branded Homewood Suites and a Canopy by Hilton hotel, and is exploring adding “semi-permanent, pop-up retail” around the edges of First Ward Park.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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