Whole Foods planned for proposed Waverly project

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(Above) One of the documents from the rezoning petition submitted to Charlotte planners shows what the layout of the Waverly center will look like. The design could change between now and when the project is approved, if the city votes in favor.

Another Whole Foods Market could be coming to south Charlotte, if the Charlotte City Council approves plans for the proposed Waverly mixed-use center off Providence Road near Interstate 485.

Developers of the planned 90-acre complex announced last week an agreement with Whole Foods to build a 40,000-square-foot supermarket at the center. The Waverly project would include other retail options, office space, an upscale apartment complex, single-family homes and townhomes in addition to the grocery store anchor. The project could open in late 2016.

“A validation of what Whole Foods brings to this development and the surrounding area can partly be summed up by the elevation in the number of inquiries we’ve received from potential restaurateurs and realtors” since the Whole Foods announcement was made, Peter Pappas, with Crosland Southeast, one of the project’s developers, said. Childress Klein is the other developer. “We have committed … to deliver a variety and best in class, and there are retailers that have been intersted and waiting to see who the anchor might be. Now their interest is piqued. Other retailers we haven’t even reached out to yet have reached out to our leasing team” after hearing about Whole Foods, Pappas added.

But the move will depend on the city’s approval for the massive project, and developers have asked for more time before they make their presentation detailing the project to councilmembers. City staff, in a memo dated Monday, Feb. 17 – the date developers were scheduled to present the project to city council – said they did not recommend approving the project as specifics regarding needed road improvements had not been finalized. Staff said the site could gain their approval if modifications and additional commitments were made to transportation and site design issues, among other minor concerns.

Pappas said there are a handful of outstanding issues to resolve before moving forward, and the extra month will give developers a chance to work on those details, as well as continue discussions with the North Carolina Department of Transportation about connectivity to Providence Road. The Charlotte Department of Transportation is pleased with the street network proposed for the site, Pappas added.

The developers believe additional road work will mitigate some of the traffic concerns area residents have brought up, as the developers will conduct millions of dollars in road improvements – namely an extension of Ardrey Kell Road near the development area and a number of turn lanes into the center.

Meanwhile, the project’s proposed 150 homes and townhomes and 375 apartment units are expected to add a total of 121 students to area schools – putting all at capacity or over capacity, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools estimates. McKee Road Elementary would receive an additional 101 students, pushing it to 100 percent capacity without having to use mobile units; Jay M. Robinson Middle would gain 12 students, pushing it to 102 percent capacity; and Providence High would gain eight students, pushing it to 109 percent capacity.

Developers say the center is a needed addition for south Charlotte and would provide a mix of options similar to the Birkdale area in Huntersville, transforming what’s been farmland for many years into a viable attraction to businesses and residents.

This would be the third Whole Foods Market in the Charlotte area if the project is approved. One is already open in SouthPark, and the other will open later this year in Huntersville.

“Charlotte is a great market and there is a lot of opportunity here,” Marc Mastropaolo, regional executive coordinator of operations for Whole Foods Market South, said in a news release announcing the Waverly agreement.

Other possible tenants for the center have not been announced. Pappas said there is a “strong chance” of having the development leased at 90 percent when it opens in 2016.

If the presentation is made at the March 17 rezoning meeting, the city could vote on the development as soon as its April 28 meeting.

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