From the Charlotte Observer:
Another luxury apartment high-rise is heading to uptown.
A day after plans were announced for a high-rise in Fourth Ward, Childress Klein said it would begin construction Friday on a 22-story luxury apartment tower at South Mint Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The project, in Third Ward near the future BB&T Ballpark, will mark the first time a developer has broken ground on a new, private commercial project in uptown since the real estate meltdown took hold.
The 352-unit, $85 million complex is expected to be finished in fall 2014, Childress Klein officials said. It will be uptown’s first high-rise to be built as apartments. Two other high-rise rentals, the Vue and Catalyst, were built as condominium projects and later converted to apartments.
On Tuesday, Atlanta-based Novare and Charlotte-based Grubb Properties announced plans to build a 23-story high-rise in Fourth Ward. It is unclear when construction will start on that tower, which developers said is still in the planning stages.
The timing of Childress Klein’s announcement is a coincidence, said senior managing partner Fred Klein Sr.
Childress Klein, which has developed hundreds of office and industrial properties throughout the area, has been particularly active in uptown south of Trade Street since it started developing in Charlotte in 1979. Projects include Charlotte Plaza, The Green, One Wells Fargo Center and most recently, Duke Energy Center and the adjacent cultural campus.
In summer 2011, it started a multifamily division, led by Kelly Dunbar and Fred Klein III, to take advantage of a booming apartment market.
Developers in recent years have announced plans for thousands of new apartment units for the Charlotte area. Financing has been more readily available for multifamily projects and developers are especially optimistic that a growing population of young professionals will want to live in or near uptown.
Ten years ago, uptown was the site of a rapid boom in high-rise housing, with developers announcing at least 20 condo high-rises. Fewer than half ultimately were built.
The site Childress Klein is building on was once owned by Novare and slated to become a condo-hotel, TWELVE Hotels & Residences. But plans fell apart and lenders took over the property.
Fred Klein III said the firm hadn’t decided what to do with the property when it bought it in December 2011.
The Third Ward area, near Bank of America Stadium, has long been in city and county officials’ sights as ripe for redevelopment.
The project overlooks the 5.4-acre Romare Bearden Park, which is being built and scheduled to be finished in June. Work is also under way on the BB&T Ballpark, where the minor leagueCharlotte Knights baseball team will begin playing in 2014. Those projects had been in the works for nearly a decade, and local officials have said they believe they will help revamp the area.
“We bought the land on our belief in Third Ward,” Fred Klein III said. “We felt it was an underserved area in general.”
Klein and Dunbar said they believe the area can be transformed into an “iconic, mixed-use neighborhood,” similar to Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, where a tree-filled park is surrounded by high rise residences, luxury apartments, an office tower and restaurants.
The apartment complex, which isn’t yet named, will have studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 650 square feet to 1,250 square feet. More than 460 parking spaces will be built into the project. Apartments will sit atop six levels of structured parking. Apartments also will be located on the front of the building, hiding the parking from public view.
An amenity center will sit on the seventh floor and will include a clubhouse, saltwater pool and “South Beach-style infinity pool.”
The general contractor is JE Dunn Construction Co. and the architect is RJT+R.
Dunbar acknowledged growing competition from other apartment developers but said he believed the project could weather changes in supply and demand.
Charlotte Center City Partners projects that 16,600 people will live in uptown by 2015, up from 14,495 now.
“More people want to rent now,” Dunbar said. “More people are coming into the job market and the urban lifestyle … is? very chic and definitely in high demand.”
Childress Klein has other multifamily projects in the works. It has broken ground on a project in Charleston and last month gained a rezoning for an 18-acre site in south Charlotte that would allow it to build apartments.