Developer wants to build luxury apartment near I-277

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

A developer wants to build a luxury apartment complex on a triangular lot next to the John Belk Freeway.

The busy corner at Stonewall and McDowell streets is a difficult place to build in some ways, urban planner David Walters said, pointing out the shape of the lot and the potential noise from Interstate 277.

Walters said it is also ideally located near the Metropolitan shopping complex, the Greenway, the light rail and Uptown Charlotte.

According to design plans filed with the city, the developer, Proffitt Dixon, wants to construct a six-story building with 225 units. The project would include 294 parking spaces, mostly underground.

Cars would enter and exit on McDowell Street and on Stonewall Street, almost across from the ramp to I-277 south.

Digging, grading and dirt removal have been going on at the site for months because the city has been taking the dirt for use in another project.

Employees at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille said they wondered what was happening just around the corner.

"It's great to finally know," special events planner Brittney Lee said.

She believes the apartment complex would be great for the restaurant.

"It's walking distance," she said. "We'll have a lot more business hopefully coming to us."

DOWNLOAD: Click here for a PDF of the Fountains Uptown plans

Urban planner David Walters, who is a professor of architecture and the coordinator of the Master of Urban Design Program at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said it's a good sign for Charlotte.

"It shows that if developers are willing to attack difficult sites, then the market must be gaining some strength," he said.

The lot is one of five the state gave Charlotte in 2008 after it revamped the I-277 interchange. Developers were lined up for two parcels but backed out.

This is the first lot to go under contract since then.

Proffitt Dixon did not return calls, but its website showed a similar project, Fountains at South End, with features like a saltwater pool and a dog spa wash room.

Some people who work in the area say while the concept is nice, they believe residents walking to uptown or driving will have a tough time because of the location.

"That's going to increase the pedestrian traffic and I can't imagine what it's going to be like to get in and out," Sherry Crump said.

City officials said Proffitt Dixon has the land under contract for about $3.8 million and is expected to submit an application for building permits by the end of 2012 or early 2013.