Development

See which developer might have the edge in competition to remake Second Ward

A rendering of the planned project for Brooklyn Village/Second Ward from the Conformity Corp. proposal.
A rendering of the planned project for Brooklyn Village/Second Ward from the Conformity Corp. proposal.

Mecklenburg County commissioners will get the chance Thursday to hear more about three ambitious proposals to transform uptown’s Second Ward into a mixed-use, mixed-income community, and see which are ranked highest by county staff.

The proposals – by locally based development firms CitiSculpt, Conformity Corp. and Crescent Communities – are part of the county’s plans to foster a major redevelopment of what was once the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The African-American community was razed in the 1960s urban renewal wave, in which the city demolished what leaders considered “slums,” and replaced with government buildings and Marshall Park. Now, about 17 acres of publicly owned land could be dramatically reshaped into new apartments, offices, shops, restaurants and hotels.

County staff have reviewed the proposals, and in a presentation to be given Thursday, they ranked Conformity’s highest and most responsive to Mecklenburg’s goals of creating a dense, mixed-use community and supporting economic development. The County Commission isn’t planning to vote on which proposal they’ll choose at Thursday’s meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency offices, 2145 Suttle Ave.

Here are some details on each of the three plans:

Conformity Corp., partnering with national developer Peebles Corp.

The highest ranked plan by staff, this vision includes:

▪ 1,244 housing units, 10 percent of them affordable

▪ 280 hotel rooms

▪ 252,100 square feet of retail

▪ 680,700 square feet of office space

▪ 1.9 acres of open space

That’s a total of 2.3 million square feet of new commercial space.

The land would be purchased from the county in three phases through 2023, and doesn’t involve the old Metro School site at Davidson and Stonewall streets. There’s no county funding contemplated in the plan, which would result, staff said, in an effective payment to the county of $50.2 million.

CitiSculpt, partnering with national developer Akridge Invested and Jefferson Apartment Group

Ranked second by staff, this plan includes two versions, one significantly denser than the other. The denser plan includes:

▪ 1,934 housing units, 8 percent of them affordable

▪ 352 hotel rooms

▪ 129,000 square feet of retail

▪ 560,000 square feet of office space

▪ 1.6 acres of open space

That’s a total of almost 2.7 million square feet of new space. Including county payments for funding new parks and other “horizontal improvements,” the effective payment to Mecklenburg would be $13.6 million. The land would be bought in four phases, wrapping up in 2021. The plan would involve buying the Metro School site from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a potential complication.

Crescent Communities, partnering with Laurel Street Residential and The Drakeford Co.

Least dense of the three proposals, county staff ranked this proposition third. It includes:

▪ 875 residential units

▪ 30,000 square feet of retail

▪ 185,000 square feet of office space

▪ 1.6 acres of open space

That totals 839,000 square feet of new developed space. This plan is also contingent on acquiring the Metro School site. The effective payment to the county still needs to be ironed out, as does funding for parks and other improvements on the sites.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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