Charlotte’s first parking-free apartment community opens Friday

CHARLOTTE — Luxury apartments have been popping up in Optimist Park over the past few years thanks to the popularity of Optimist Hall and its location close to the light rail.

The newest complex to join the line-up on Brevard Street in Charlotte is unique -- it has no parking.

The Joinery, an 83-unit apartment complex in Optimist Park, will welcome its first tenants April 1.

The people who move in will live in a development unlike anything else in Charlotte.

“We really had sustainability in mind,” said Mohit Shewaramani, director of Operations and Strategy for Space Craft, the team behind The Joinery. “We are really trying to think about how do we help people move around in the most sustainable way possible.”

The Joinery is the first apartment complex built in Charlotte without parking. Cars aren’t banned, but residents who have them will have to find street parking if they want their vehicles to be nearby.

The idea is for people to use nearby public transit, such as the light rail. The Parkwood Avenue station is a block away. E-bikes and electric cars will also be available for residents to rent.

“We said Charlotte has so much growth and so much housing. Why don’t we offer a new way of living,” Shewaramani said. “A new angle on it.”

The team behind the project says not having parking allows them to offer high-end design, such as sleek finishes, phone entry and large windows. They also say it results in slightly cheaper rent than other nearby luxury apartment units.

Ely Portillo with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute says this will be a good test case as Charlotte tries to move away from being an auto-centric city.

“This is still a car-based city,” Portillo said. “You still need a car to get around in a lot of areas, because our public transportation hasn’t really caught up or kept pace with our growth.”

This type of development is not new for major urban areas. Portillo says this complex may be good for a couple with only one car or people who only use their vehicle for occasional trips.

Building parking is expensive and housing competition in the Queen City is hot. Portillo expects more of these complexes in the future.

“Especially along places like the Blue Line where you can get uptown, you can get to University City,” he said. “I think that there is a strong incentive for developers to do this both for publicity and the optics, as well as for cost savings and creating a more livable city.”

Shewaramani expects more developments of this kind too.

“We are really excited to bring this new product, new lifestyle and new building to Charlotte,” he said.

Rent starts in the mid-$1,200s for a studio and goes up to a little more than $2,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.

A similar complex is being built by a different developer in Seversville.

(Watch the video below: Brake check: Charlotte to get city’s first car-free housing development)