Jan 22, 2022 - Business

Major SouthPark development moves ahead despite COVID setbacks

The Colony apartments

Rendering of new apartments at The Colony redevelopment in Charlotte

You may recall a few years ago the splashy news of a major redevelopment of a 27-acre site in SouthPark. Bounded by Colony, Sharon and Roxborough roads, The Colony promised to be a total overhaul of a 1970s-era, sprawling apartment complex.

The plan, which the city approved about six years ago, includes:

  • Up to 990 apartments
  • A 70,000 square-foot Publix grocery store
  • A 225-room hotel
  • Up to 250,000 square feet of offices
  • About 300,000 total square feet of retail, which’ll include several to-be-announced restaurants

What’s happening: Phase one of apartment construction is underway and will wrap up by the end of 2022, says Tim Hose, president and CEO of Synco, the Charlotte firm developing the project alongside partner Schlosser Development Corp., based in Austin.

  • This phase will include 340 market-rate apartments.

But the pandemic shifted plans for the commercial portion of the development, which was supposed to open sometime this year, as the Charlotte Ledger reported right before the pandemic.

Work such as clearing and excavating had begun right before COVID hit, which is why you may’ve noticed mounds of dirt and rock around the site if you’ve been by recently.

  • Given the uncertainty in the office and hotel industries, lenders opted to hit pause on the commercial side, Hose tells Axios.
  • But they greenlighted the apartment portion.

Hose says construction on the Publix building will begin this spring, but it’s not clear when construction will wrap up; Publix didn’t respond to a request for an interview.

  • The original plans called for a Life Time Fitness, though the company hasn’t signed a lease yet for the property, Hose says.

Zoom out: This project is the latest instance of how the pandemic forced developers to adjust plans for major projects they’d planned in Charlotte.

“All the participants stepped up to deal with the COVID reality,” Hose tells Axios. “We didn’t realize how much of a pivot it would be.”

Plans for the site shifted recently in other notable ways, Hose says. For instance:

  • The Publix store will be situated in the middle of the development, caddy corner from the apartments. Previously, it was to be on the site’s southwest corner.
  • Originally intended to be on the third floor of the building, Publix will now be on the ground level.
  • The next phases of the apartments won’t be built for a few years.

In the meantime, Hose says, the plan is to take the land on which they’ll be built and create a six-acre green space in the heart of the development. It’ll be open to everyone, not just apartment residents.

The size and scale of the next phase of apartments, Hose adds, will depend on how well the market receives the first several hundred. The next apartment building could be much taller — 12 stories as opposed to five — and may be larger luxury units.

Bottom line: The project is moving forward, just on a different timeline and in a different way than the developers planned.

Here’s another look at what the apartments onsite will look like. The architect on the project is BB+M; these renderings are by KCL Solutions.

apartments at The Colony redevelopment
apartments at The Colony redevelopment

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