$200M project planned for Ardrey Kell at Providence

Two local developers have proposed a $200 million, 90-acre shopping and living center in south Charlotte at the corner of Ardrey Kell and Providence roads. And tenants already are lining up.

The project, which doesn’t have a name yet but would be coordinated by Childress Klein and Crosland Southeast, would be built across Providence Road from the Rea Village shopping center. The land first must be rezoned by Charlotte City Council, and a public hearing on the matter may take place at the city’s October rezoning meeting – currently scheduled for Oct. 21. Community forums will be held with area home and property owners prior to the October meeting and notices will be sent out to people near the project as those meetings approach.

“We have begun to meet with adjacent property owners and other stakeholders,” said Chris Thomas, a partner with Childress Klein, on a conference call Thursday, Aug. 1. “We’re very pleased with the reception we’ve received to date.”

Thomas said community members have expressed satisfaction with the planned balance at the site, which would include two office buildings at five to six stories each, some 225,000 to 250,000 square feet of retail, an “upscale grocery store,” 90,000 square feet of space for restaurants and outdoor dining, two medical buildings totaling 60,000 square feet, two one-story parking decks and 180 single-family and town homes and 375 apartments.  The project also would include the continuation of Ardrey Kell Road and the addition of a traffic signal at Golf Links Drive and Providence Road, paid for by the developers, according to a news release announcing the project.

Infrastructure work also could include traffic calming measures such as parallel parking, medians and roundabouts. Any road improvements must be approved by city council and the Charlotte Department of Transportation, which could request additional improvements before approving the project.

Developers have already heard from potential suitors for retail and restaurant space following this week’s announcement. Developers won’t reveal who they’ve talked to so far, but in some cases they aren’t even sure who they’re hearing from.

“I received a text message this morning … that said ‘I want to be your first restaurant,’” Peter Pappas, a partner of Crosland Southeast, said on Thursday following the announcement. The text didn’t say who the restaurateur was, and Pappas hadn’t had a chance to call.

Pappas said developers will take the lessons they’ve learned at other projects such as Birkdale Village in Huntersville or the Blakeney shopping center in south Charlotte when planning this project – though it will be a lot different than those two projects in terms of size and use. Almost half of the land in this project will be allocated to residential uses.

Details of the project could change over time, as local residents and city leaders start giving their opinions on what impact the development could have on traffic on Ardrey Kell and Providence roads and any noise and light issues produced for nearby homes. The area is mostly vacant on the east side of Providence, with the project proposed for what has been farmland for more than 150 years, according to the release.

The timing of the project, which if approved wouldn’t begin construction until 2014, means the center likely wouldn’t open until the current widening of Interstate 485 from Interstate 77 to Rea Road is complete. Some state leaders and transportation officials have said the next widening of I-485 will take place from Rea to Independence Boulevard, which would include the Providence interchange. Developers said the I-485 project didn’t have an impact on their plans for the nearby lot.

A representative for the developers said a website will be built as the project moves forward to provide details and renderings.

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