Uptown Living Blog

The Greenway District – Charlotte, NC

New town center near Blue Line Extension coming to NoDa.
Amended from   –  Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

Tony Kuhn, president of Charlotte-based Flywheel Group, is spearheading the Greenway District, which would redevelop 90 acres from Matheson Avenue to Craighead Road in NoDa into thousands of residential units, retail and office space, and public parks and plazas adjacent to the light-rail buildout and the greenway. Because of its scope, the Greenway District will likely take between five and 10 years to be developed.

But Kuhn is also planning another project just north of the Greenway District that could come to fruition a little earlier — a dense, mixed-use town center with primarily retail and office space off the Lynx Blue Line Sugar Creek Station at 530 and 600 E. Sugar Creek Road.

“It’ll have more office than we’ve seen developed along the light rail on the south end of town,” Kuhn said, adding the site pegged for the town center has good east-west connectivity in addition to being along the Blue Line. New construction on the 8.5-acre site is longer term, Kuhn said, with buildout likely three to four years out. He acknowledged the plan is “ambitious” but said it’s a plan that could work for the area down the road.

The first part of the town center project, ongoing now, will convert a 45,000-square-foot existing warehouse at 600 E. Sugar Creek Road, once home to Source Recycling, into new uses. Kuhn said art galleries, music venues, breweries and co-working operations are the types of users envisioned for that space, called the Station House.

At least one tenant will be finalized in the coming weeks, though Kuhn declined to give specifics. He indicated about 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of that building is already accounted for. Tenants will begin operating at the Station House, at the corner of Sugar Creek Road and Raleigh Street, by the spring, Kuhn said.

RCI Demolition is spearheading demolition efforts at 530 E. Sugar Creek Road, part of the town center site. Chris Urrutia at RCI said some asbestos abatement was needed before demo began but that only took a week or two to complete. Materials from the demolition will be separated, with the metal to be recycled and potentially the brick as well.

The rest of Flywheel’s project, the Greenway District, will commence once discussions with the city about public infrastructure projects, like extending Philemon Avenue, are finished, Kuhn said. The first phase will include multifamily development, two apartment projects by different developers who will each build about 300 “urban garden-style” units, he continued.

Kuhn declined to name those developers but said they are currently going through permitting with the city. Once some residential has been developed, other uses will be built in the Greenway District. The ground floors of the apartment buildings to come up first will have the ability to eventually be converted into live-work units or commercial space, Kuhn said.

“We’ll have space carved out for ground-floor retail in the future as the neighborhood develops,” he said.

Flywheel Group has now rezoned all of its holdings in NoDa to allow transit-oriented development, Kuhn said. The firm has gone through multiple rezonings over the past couple of years to allow TOD mixed-use development on the land, which has largely contained industrial development.

October Market Report

Monthly numbers are out from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service. They come from the monthly sales report from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. What we are seeing again is a rise in sales price, lack of inventory, but we are seeing demand for properties soar. This leads us to believe that this market will persist for some time to come.

When you look at the entire Charlotte region, closed sales were up 2.6% up to 3,664. New listings were up 3.1% up to 4,336. Pending sales, also called new contracts for sales were up a whopping 15.4% from 3617 to 4173. This strong demand is a great indication that the market will stay strong.

Median sales price was up from $210,000 last year to $223,000 this year, a 6.2% increase. Average sales price was also up 4.2% from $256,812 up to $267,615. Homes sold quicker as well. Last year it took 104 days from listing to closing and this year it is down to 89 days, a decline of 14.4%.

Inventory woes persist in the Charlotte region. There is currently a 2.4 month supply of homes down from 3.2 months last year. This is a 25% decline year over year and is shows the seller’s market is continuing. A balanced market between buyers and sellers in generally a 6 month supply. This means the possibility of multiple offers on a home is more likely, and bidding above asking price is more common.

When you look at Uptown Charlotte, you have to keep in mind that due to the small sample size, numbers can skew quickly. There were only 31 new listings, down from 34 last year at this time. Closed sales were also down from 26 last year to 24 this year.

Median sales price in Uptown was up 9.7% from $295,000 to $323,500. Average sales price however was down 2.5% from $345,911 to $337,096.

Days on the market was down 13.8% from 87 down to 75. Inventory was down in Uptown as well, from 3.8 months supply last year to 2.1 months supply this year. This represents a decrease of 44.7%. Last October there were 111 homes on the market and this year there are only 75.

The real story in Uptown is pending sales. They were up 94.1% year over year from 17 to 33. This shows a very strong market and we will likely see most of those contracts come to a close before the end of the year. We will have to keep an eye on the next few months to see if the trend continues.

Spotlight: Uptown West

West Charlotte will soon have a new three-story townhome complex with Uptown Views. The new project, named Uptown West, sits at the intersection of Duckworth Avenue and Wesley Heights Way. This location is just across I-77 from Uptown, down the road from Johnson & Wales University and Ray’s Splash Planet. The location is great for anyone interested in museums, sporting events, nightlife, or just an easy commute to a job uptown. These units are great for walking to any Uptown destination.

The community will include 74 three-story townhouses in 16 buildings with a fenced dog park on a 4.2 acre site. Each unit will include a rooftop terrace. There will be two and three bedroom options ranging from 1,311 to 2,127 square feet. Each home will include a two-car garage, hardwood floors, quartz countertops, European full-overlay cabinets with soft-close hardware, stainless steel appliances. There will be upgrade options for homeowners to make each unit unique. Styling on the units interior and exterior will be of modern design.

Charlotte based Hopper Communities is beginning sales for the project this week. They have been responsible for many other projects in the area including: Southpoint at Southend, Cypress Landing in South Charlotte, Gradin Heights in Wesley Heights, as well as projects in Mount Holly, Cornelius, Mint Hill, and Huntersville. Hopper Communities is also active in Raleigh, Charleston, S.C. and Austin, TX.

Units will start in the low $300,000’s for the smaller units and low $400,000’s for the larger units. Construction should be finished in late 2018. There was a kick-off sales event on November 2nd where prospective buyers were lifted in a construction lift to get an idea of the Uptown views they will have from the units. Pre-sales are open now.

Merger in the works for Lennar and CalAtlantic

On Monday, Lennar Corp. and CalAtlantic Group Inc. announced a merger agreement. This merger of two large homebuilders will put 240,000 homesites in 49 markets across 21 states all under one company. The $9.3 billion deal will poise the combined company to be one of the nation’s leading homebuilders. The combined company will be in the top 3 builders in 24 out of the top 30 markets in the country with around $17 billion of revenue.

The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors at both companies. They expect shareholder approval and are planning to execute the merger in the first quarter of 2018. Both companies appear eager for the merger, and it bodes well for times to come. The merger likely means that they are predicting strong market profitability for years to come. There is currently a solid homebuilding market with job and wage growth, consumer confidence, low inventory, and a production deficit. These industry markers are unlikely to change quickly. Lennar and CalAtlantic can benefit from the merger as they can streamline purchasing, land acquisition, labor, and overhead.

Per their website, Lennar currently has 21 communities under construction in the Charlotte area. They range from Mooresville, NC to Rock Hill, SC. Most of the communities are single-family homes, but they do have a few multi-family projects as well. The typical Lennar community starts in the $200,000’s and ranges to the $500,000’s. With upgrades and special option packages, prices can go much higher.

Per their website, CalAtlantic is responsible for 41 communities in and around Charlotte. They have 142 quick move-in homes available right now. Most of the homes are single-family, but there are a few townhome projects in the works as well. Starting prices for these homes range from the $200,000’s to the $600,000’s. Depending on upgrades, the price points can go much higher.

Look for this merger to complete in spring of next year. For more information, check out the full article in the Charlotte Business Journal.

Dedicated Bike Lanes may be coming to Uptown

This week we saw a different traffic pattern in Uptown Charlotte. Temporary bike lanes were put through Uptown. These bike lanes are temporary, but are a test to see if dedicated bike lanes will be feasible. Ideally, they will connect Little Sugar Creek Greenway on the east side of Uptown with the Irwin Creek Greenway on the west side. They will also connect in the center with the Rail Trail along the Lynx Blue Line light rail.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation has set up the temporary lanes in partnership with Charlotte Center City Partners and Sustain Charlotte. They are in closed lanes on parts of Fifth and Sixth Street and Irwin Avenue. These test lanes will be in operation until Sunday.

The week long test will help city leaders see what a protected bike lane would look like through the city. This would allow cyclists a safe way to navigate through the city and be safer for cars as well.

CDOT has been studying the issue over the last year to come up with a solution to link the greenways across the city. They studied traffic volume, driveways, parking decks and a host of other factors to help develop the plan.

If the test is successful, a permanent bike lane could be developed along the route. Estimated cost for the project could be around $6 million including lane reconstruction and signal work. For the test, traffic cones, potted plants and hay bales mark the lane for bikes. In the final plan, a concrete median, planters, or plastic lane markers could direct bicycle traffic. The project is in design stages right now and has yet to be funded. CDOT will release a report at the conclusion of the test.

Charlotte has been developing into a world class city, and bike lanes are one thing that is currently lacking. Being pedestrian and bike friendly is a way to attract the best talent to the workforce. Bike lanes can drive more foot traffic and more retail sales. These benefits make the bike lane a desirable amenity for the city.

Coming Soon NoDa Terrace

If you have been discouraged about the lack of new townhomes in NoDa, have no fear. A new project called NoDa Terrace might be just what you have been looking for. These homes won’t be true townhomes, but rather urban flats. They will take advantage of all of the urban amenities of NoDa and will be just three blocks from the light rail. Located at the intersection of 37th and North Davidson Street, it’s right in the heart of NoDa.

The units range from the one-bedroom condo for $240,000 to $395,000 for a two-bedroom unit. Eight units total make up the project so it will be exclusive. The two ground floor units are designed to have offices as well as residential space making them potential “live-work” units. These unique ground-floor units will have frontage on North Davidson Street, a boon for an office or shop.

These unique flats will offer high-end touches like 10-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and large living and kitchen areas perfect for entertaining. The kitchens will feature modern touches and will have your choice of granite or quartz countertops. Stainless steel appliances will be standard. The upper level units will feature a covered terrace for outdoor living area.

NoDa Terrace should break ground by the end of the year. Pre-sales have begun and with only 8 units available, they will go quickly. The new light rail station should be completed in the spring so will be fully operational when NoDa Terrace is completed. This will give residents a direct line to Uptown Charlotte and all points connected on the Blue Line.

NoDa Terrace is a great alternative to renting in NoDa. There have been so many apartments built in recent years, and savvy buyers will want to get in on these flats so they can quit paying rent.

September Market Report

Sales across the Charlotte region were down again in September. They dropped 3.9% from last year and have been down for many of the months of 2017. This time they were down from 4,121 to 3,960 sales. This is per the Carolina Multiple Listing Service, Inc. data from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association monthly report.

Inventory was down yet again, from 12,297 homes for sale last year to only 10,140 this year. This represents a 17.5% decline leaving just a 2.5 month supply. A typically balanced market with buyers and sellers having the same power in a transaction is considered to be a 6 month supply. With this low supply, sellers usually have more leverage in a Real Estate transaction.

Prices are still on the rise as well. Average sales price was 6.3% higher at $271,606 and median sales price was up 9.2% to $225,000.

Pending sales were up 16.4% to 4,137 showing that the market should be stable for at least a little while longer. New listings were up year over year from 4,550 to 4,700 for a 3.3% rise. Homes are selling 9 days quicker on average taking just 90 days from list to close.

When you look at Uptown Charlotte, the picture is about the same, but please note that due to the smaller size, percentages can skew quickly from month to month with just one large transaction. In Uptown, new listings and closed sales were exactly the same from last year to this year. Pending sales were the big story here rising a whopping 95% from 20 to 39.

Median sales price was up year over year from $249,500 to $287,000, a 15% increase. Average sales price also rose from $298,795 to $354,840, an 18.8% increase.

Inventory in Uptown is also declining just like in the Charlotte region as a whole. Last year there were 108 homes on the market, this year there are just 83. This is 23.1% fewer homes and represents 2.4 months of inventory.

The market is remaining relatively stable, with a seller’s market persisting with prices driven higher with the lack of supply. It remains to be seen if there will be a correction any time soon.

Check out SouthEnd Wine Festival

If you are looking for something to do on Saturday October 21st, come to the 3rd annual South End Wine Festival. This great event includes unlimited tastings from 25 different vineyards presenting 4 wines each for a total of 100 different wines. There will be live music all, and great food from a variety of food trucks. The event begins at 2pm and runs until 6pm. Tickets are already on sale or you can get them at the door if the event is not sold out. The festival is located at 308 W. Carson Blvd, Charlotte, 28203.

There are three tiers of tickets available for SouthEnd Wine Festival. VIP tables are available for $500. The table includes an umbrella and seats for 10 guests. VIP ticket holders can enter one hour early, get 4 bottles of wine for their table, unlimited wine tastings, festival souvenir sampling glass, and access to your own VIP restroom.

General admission tickets are $35 and include 4 hours of wine sampling and a festival tasting cup. General admission ticket holders may bring a picnic blanket, and cooler of their own food or purchase from the food trucks.

Designated driver entry is $10. Designated drivers will receive 4 bottles of water at the event.

Dogs and children are not allowed at the event as it is for adults with valid ID only. Parking is available at some paid lots and there is limited street parking. The best bet is to do a ride-share, taxi, or take the light rail to the Carson Street Station.

At last count over 35 sponsors help this event become a reality. Over it’s three years in existence, SouthEnd Wine Festival has already won Bob Awards best wine event, Best of Charlotte best new gathering, C5 awards best boozy festival, and best of the city best neighborhood festival. Don’t miss out on a great time.

Proceeds from the festival benefit Classroom Central. Their mission is to equip students living in poverty to effectively learn by collecting and distributing free school supplies. Classroom Central helps over 100,000 students in poverty in over 200 schools in 6 school districts. They are active in Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell/Statesville, Union, city of Kannapolis, and Lancaster, SC. Come out and support a great cause!

Draper Place Botique Apartments Coming Soon

Another exciting boutique apartment project is underway. This one is between Elizabeth and Eastover. Draper Place will contain 47 high end multi-family units at the intersection of Randolph Road and Dotger Avenue. This desirable location is perfect for anyone with an Uptown commute, or working at any of the many medical offices/hospitals close by.

Draper Place will rise four stories and will include two and three bedroom units. They will have two full and and one half bathroom. Full size laundry facilities will be in each unit as well as covered balconies with gas fireplaces. Dens, dining rooms, chef’s kitchens with gas ranges, under-cabinet lighting, dry bars and wine refrigerators will make these homes feel sumptuous.

The apartments in Draper Place will boast ten foot ceilings, large walk-in showers, walk-in closets, dual sink vanities, and custom crown molding.

Each of the apartments in Draper Place will have between 1,650 and 2,220 square feet of living space. There will also be additional storage space available. Included with each unit is reserved underground parking. Additional amenities include a community clubroom, conference room, kitchen, and a folding glass wall leading to an outdoor gas grill and fireplace.

The name Draper Place harkens back to Earle Sumner Draper who created landscape designs for Myers Park. It is also a nod to A.J. Draper who was a prominent resident living in Elizabeth in the early 1900’s.

Charlotte based SunCap Property Group is developing the project, it’s first multi-family project in Charlotte. They broke ground on the project this month. Their plan is for these elevated living spaces to fill a need for luxury apartments outside of Uptown. Units in Draper Place are expected to be available in late 2018 and will rent for around $3,400 per month.

Charlotte Convention Center Expansion in the Works

Charlotte Convention Center Rendering

This week  the next steps were taken in the Charlotte Convention Center expansion. If all steps go as they have been aligned, construction will begin in May 2019 and will conclude in early 2021. City Council is expected to approve $8.5 million to finish design and prep work at the September 25th meeting.

The expansion plans will add 26,000 square feet of smaller meeting rooms and 15,000 square feet to host pre-event receptions. The entire expansion should cost $110 million and the plan does not allow cost overruns.

Charlotte Convention Center must expand if we are to be able to host larger events. Plans include enhanced meeting space and increasing breakout areas for smaller events. More inviting and convenient pedestrian areas will be added. A pedestrian bridge will connect the convention center with the Weston Hotel and Stonewall Station.

Stonewall Station Rendering

This is great news for Stonewall Station which should open next year. Included  that project are 459 luxury apartments and a 47,000 square foot Whole Foods. Crescent Communities is the developer for Stonewall Station which in addition to the apartments and Whole Foods will also include 15,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants. There is also direct connectivity to the Stonewall light rail station.

There will be a more open exterior fronted with glass on the Stonewall Street side of the convention center. An architectural “frame” will feature as part of the pedestrian bridge. These details should help the space become a showpiece.

After all is said and done, Charlotte Convention Center which opened in 1995, will be modernized to keep up with comparable cities like Austin and Nashville. The meeting space will be tripled under this plan adding new rooms. These rooms will offer many configurations measuring from 1,800 to as much as 10,000 square feet and can be customized for each event. These will add to the 278,000 square feet of exhibition space, 50,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 60,000 square feet of ballrooms.

TVS Design was the architect on the original building and they will handle the design for the expansion. They will be joined by construction management firm Holder/Edison Foard on the project.