University City

Developer proposes student apartments

A Charlotte development group is asking the city to rezone 3 acres at University City Boulevard and East Mallard Creek Church Road for up to 115 residences that would house students from UNC Charlotte.

The first phase for the proposed privately owned apartment complex would consist of a four-story, "J"-shaped building that would sit close to the two roads, with parking at the rear.

Zoning on the vacant property, owned by University Investments Group LLC, would change from the Neighborhood Services district to the Mixed-Use Development district, if approved by the Charlotte City Council.

The council has scheduled a public hearing on the request for Dec. 12. The target date for opening is summer 2013, in time for the start of the school year.

"We're gearing this toward senior-level and graduate students," said Charles Lindsey, development consultant for University Investments Group.

Senior-level co-eds and graduate students are more likely to remain in the units during summer, Lindsey said.

Like many student housing units, these would have a common living room, with two to four bedrooms off the shared spaces.

Later phases of construction might bring the total to 215 residences. Shane Seagle of The McAlpine Co. petitioned for the zoning change on behalf of University Investments Group.

The development plan does not include the variety of development typical of a mixed-use project, such as retail or office space.

The Mixed-Use Development zoning could reduce the required parking and location of buildings away from the street, while still allowing residential building.

The site plan filed with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department says the development would encourage pedestrian movement between the development and UNCC's campus.

The city plans to add a pedestrian and bike path to improve safety on University City Boulevard near the entrance to UNCC.

The nearly 1-mile path will stretch from Broadrick Boulevard, across University Investments Group's land, to East Mallard Creek Road.

"They'll be coming across our property," Lindsey said. "We've been negotiating that right-of-way."

Fencing and gated entries for resident-only access is also being considered.

In its review of the petition, the Charlotte Area Transit Authority has requested that the developer add a concrete pad beside the sidewalk for a transit shelter on East Mallard Creek Church Road.