Transit: Urban village near train

Transit: Urban village near train

One of the proposed developments that together would transform neighborhoods around the Scaleybark light-rail station is moving forward despite the recession.

Crosland expects to break ground perhaps late this year on a transit-oriented urban village on 36 acres at Scaleybark Road and South Boulevard.

Design work is under way for Crosland Greens, which will be about 3 miles southwest of uptown.

The first phase will include about 10 acres and prep work on other parts of the property. The first project will be a 16,500-square-foot building to replace the Scaleybark Branch public library, which is about one-third the size of the proposed building.

Crosland also has commitments for about 20,000 square feet in a proposed 60,000-square-foot, three-story office building, which also would be completed in the development’s first phase.

Later phases of development will add retail and about 700 residences to the property, said Stephen H. Mauldin, Crosland’s chief financial officer.

The concept for Crosland Greens borrows features from Birkdale Village, a mixed-use community in Huntersville.

“It takes bits and pieces from lots of things,” Mauldin said of Crosland Greens. “Part of the main street and scale would be a more urban form of a Birkdale Village – a tighter form of that.”

Officials at Crosland say Crosland Greens will be a leading-edge example of sustainable development planning and practices.

Birkdale was built by Pappas Properties, which has proposed a neighboring mixed-use community on the opposite side of South Boulevard from Crosland’s development.

Crosland has collaborated with Pappas Properties’ planned project near the rail station. Their goal is create a cohesive look for communities in the Scaleybark Transit District with similar lighting and signs, Mauldin said.

Northwest Mutual Life Insurance Co. is Crosland’s capital partner and is committed to moving forward with the project this year, Mauldin said. Timing for Pappas Properties’ project depends on market conditions, said Peter Pappas, president.

The Charlotte City Council approved Crosland’s rezoning application last June. The transit-oriented-development zoning designation allows a minimum density of 15 residential units per acre.

Crosland plans to build apartments, condos, townhouses and single-family homes that would fit a variety of incomes.

The project will not have the same retail mix as Birkdale Village, whose directory includes national retailers such as Banana Republic and Williams-Sonoma.

The retail plan for Crosland Greens includes a grocery store, restaurants and other services that support everyday needs in a neighborhood.

Those tenants could encourage walking within the community rather than driving to other locations, all important features for Crosland’s goal of sustaining the community, Mauldin said.

“We’ve done bigger and we’ve done more complex (projects),” Mauldin said. “Our emotional attachment to this site is very deep and runs back many years.”

John Crosland Jr., 82 and the company’s chairman emeritus, built 50 duplexes on part of the property in the late 1950s. It was his first job after he returned from the Korean War.

Those 50 duplexes still house tenants. Those residents and about 50 apartments on the northeast portion of the property will have to relocate. They won’t be affected in the initial phases of development, Mauldin said.

By Karen Sullivan for Charlotte Observer

[charlotteobserver.com]

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