South Charlotte: Mixed use planned for Rea-Tom Short area

A Charlotte-based developer hopes the Village of Marvin will annex property near Ballantyne so the firm can develop a retail mixed-use project with restaurants, a movie theater, a grocery store and a parking deck.

Raley Miller Properties wants to develop 28 acres at the northwest corner of Tom Short Road and Rea Road, near the Mecklenburg County-Union County line. The company purchased the land in 2008.

According to town planning documents, the proposed project would include a movie theater with up to 14 screens and encompassing up to 57,000 square feet. The plan also calls for an open space with a village green, seating walls, chairs and benches, a fire pit and a fountain possible.

There are several other buildings planned for the property, with square-footage ranging from 16,000 to a 100,000-square-foot building for a grocery store.

According to town documents, all buildings would be limited to one story. There also are a number of parking lots planned, ranging from a maximum of 190 spots to 360.

David Miller, a partner with the company, said the property already is zoned for commercial use in Union County; but Raley Miller Properties wants the land annexed into Marvin because the village’s conditional district zoning allows restaurants to serve alcohol. Unincorporated Union Couny, regardless of zoning, prohibits the sale of alcohol.

“We can do a better quality project in the village,” Miller said. “If you don’t have the ability to serve alcohol, the type of restaurant you’re going to attract is going to be more convenience-oriented, fast-food restaurants.”

Miller said the village zoning also allows more density.

The land up for rezoning is the same plot Walmart wanted to develop in 2004. Neighbors fought the development and Walmart ultimately sold the land.

Many residents in nearby communities, including Somerset, Hunter Oaks and Marvin Creek, said they are looking forward to having easy access to such amenities, but they worry the density will make daily activities difficult.

“Traffic is probably the one thing that would be the concern of most residents here, but other than that, it would probably be a positive addition,” said Christine Keagy, who lives in Marvin Creek.

Somerset resident Cheryl George agreed. “The scope seems kind of large for that piece of property,” she said. “I think they’re wonderful ideas, but I think maybe it needs to be scaled down a little bit.”

Still, George said, she’s pleased the project looks well-planned and designed.

Marvin Town Center, which sits on about 12 acres and includes about 120,000 square feet of retail space, also was developed by Raley Miller. The company has about a dozen similar projects throughout the Charlotte metro area, Miller said.

“I’m all for something that would be positive that our kids could walk to. It would be fabulous to have something like that so close,” said Keagy, who has three daughters, age 6, 10 and 12. “I just have concerns about traffic through my neighborhood.”

Keagy said she hopes to attend the public hearing to learn more.

“Some people will say outright ‘No way,’ but you have to be flexible,” said Keagy. “Something eventually is going to go there, it would certainly be the best alternative and hopefully the right businesses.”

The proposed development is expected to go before the Village of Marvin for a public hearing in July, although a specific date had not been announced.