South Charlotte

New zoning proposed for South Charlotte church location

Kyle Thompson, senior pastor at Sharon United Methodist Church, is leading his congregation on a new path toward making the church property a mixed-use development.
Kyle Thompson, senior pastor at Sharon United Methodist Church, is leading his congregation on a new path toward making the church property a mixed-use development. CHARLOTTE OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

A Charlotte developer has filed a zoning petition to redevelop Sharon United Methodist Church property, a move more than a year in the making and one that could significantly change SouthPark’s development footprint.

Childress Klein Properties wants to rezone 7.1 acres at the site of Sharon United Methodist Church to allow a mixed-use development, including residential, retail and office space. The church also would remain on the property.

The church, at the corner of Morrison Boulevard and Sharon Road, is across the street from SouthPark mall.

“We are very excited to work with Childress Klein. We know they will bring to life our vision of a vibrant mixed-use community where people will live, work, play, serve and worship together,” Sharon United Methodist senior pastor Kyle Thompson said in a statement.

According to documents filed with the city, the developer is asking for:

▪ Up to 170,000 square feet of office, retail, restaurant, personal services and other commercial uses.

▪ As many as 175 hotel rooms.

▪ Up to 450 residential dwelling units of all types.

▪ Indoor recreation uses of up to 20,000 square feet.

The development also will be home to Sharon United Methodist Church’s new sanctuary, education, fellowship and performing-arts facilities.

“Childress Klein’s venture with Sharon United Methodist Church will allow the church to thrive as part of the next generation of SouthPark, as we bring uses to the site that complement the existing fabric of the community,” said Chris Thomas, retail partner with Childress Klein, in a statement.

Connected to the rezoning petition is another zoning petition for nearby land. That petition is to rezone 1.53 acres of land on the north side of Coltsgate Road, between Sharon Road and Cameron Valley Parkway

Childress Klein wants to rezone that land (currently zoned residential and owned by Bissell Cos.) to allow up to 240 residential dwelling units, including age-restricted housing, and up to 8,500 square feet of medical and general office uses, according to the site plan.

Thompson proposed to his 700-member congregation in 2013 his vision for turning the church’s 7 acre property into a mixed-use development.

At the time, Thompson said the development could include restaurants, fitness facilities, retail and office space, with the church being the anchor. He even suggested a performing arts center.

“Our vision is to be the spiritual crossroads of the SouthPark community,” Thompson said last fall. “We can be the literal crossroads of SouthPark, where we do life together.”

On Nov. 9, adult members of the congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal, Thompson said.

He said that after vetting 15 developers, church leadership decided to partner with Childress Klein Properties.

“The reason we chose them was they understand and share the same vision that we have,” he said.

Thompson has said before that he hopes to break ground by Sharon United Methodist’s 50th anniversary, in 2016, although he said that’s a best-case scenario.

A public hearing for the proposed zoning changes is scheduled for June 15.

Sharon United Methodist Church’s redevelopment isn’t the only major mixed-use project proposed for the SouthPark area.

The owner of the Colony Apartments in SouthPark filed a zoning request March 30 to allow a $400 million mixed-use redevelopment of the site, which could add more than 1,100 homes, a 300-room hotel and a grocery store.

The 27-acre tract at Sharon and Colony roads is home to the 353-unit Colony Apartments. Charlotte-based Synco Properties and Schlosser Development Corp. of Austin, Texas, said the new development would better serve the area with a mix of residential, retail and office uses.

Construction could begin in early 2016. A public hearing on that proposal is scheduled for May 18.

Charlotte City Councilman Kenny Smith, who represents District 6, where the two developments are proposed, said he expects SouthPark to see tremendous growth in the next decade.

He said developers will need to balance that growth by meeting infrastructure needs.

“I hear a lot from area neighbors regarding the densities that are coming and the traffic and congestion,” he said. “I think it’s important that as a city, we balance the growth needs with those concerns.”

Smith said that at some point, he hopes the city will update the SouthPark Area Plan, adopted in 2000.

“The data behind it is clearly outdated. We know that growth is coming to Charlotte and we know the population is continuing to expand,” he said. “We want to make sure we develop in a responsible manner.”

Arriero: 704-358-5945; on Twitter: @earriero