Daniel Levine and his family can’t seem to resist the pull of Monroe Road.
He developed McAlpine Business Park on Monroe Road, the Galleria shopping center at Galleria at Sardis and Monroe roads and, nearby, Galleria Village Apartments.
Monroe Road’s been a popular spot for his family members, too; his dad and uncle have opened businesses — Family Dollar, for one — on Monroe.
Now, in Levine’s latest contribution to the area, he is planning a more than 200-unit, roughly $20 million apartment project on 25 acres on Orchard Lake Drive near the town of Matthews.
The development will also include commercial space that will front Monroe Road.
Construction hasn’t begun on the wooded site in Charlotte. On Jan 5., Levine, president of Charlotte-based Levine Properties, a real estate management and development company, said he still needed a grading permit.
“We hope to break ground in 30 days,” he said.
The 259-unit project doesn’t even have a name yet, although it has a “working title” of Orchard Apartments, Levine said.
“That will not be the name,” he said.
Plans for the apartments call for four building types that might offer roughly eight to 10 floor plans. The apartments will rent for 90 cents to $1 per square foot, which Levine said would make them competitive when compared with apartments “up and down the transit line” that rent for about $1.25 or more a square foot.
“We’re delivering value to the marketplace,” he said.
The land, though, is expected to deliver problems for construction.
“It’s a very challenging site from a topographical standpoint,” Levine said. “But those are the sites that ultimately end up being the most interesting from a multifamily resident’s perspective. It’s not a flat cornfield. It’s got hills and valleys.”
Levine expects to have a building permit by April. Apartments should be finished eight to 10 months later, in early 2013, he said.
He is developing the project with his longtime business partner Dean DeVillers. The two formed Cashel Rock Investors in 2008 and the business is based in Levine’s office on McAlpine Park Drive.
Summer Lake Associates owns the property, Levine said.
According to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website, Summer Lake has a mailing address in Atlanta, but no officers are listed for the company. The company was formed in 1994 and is “active,” according to the secretary of state’s site.
DeVillers, president of Cashel, and Levine are developing the property for a group of investors whose identities Levine would not disclose.
“I can tell you that one of the majority investors is our family,” Levine said.
The project will add to the growing number of apartment developments popping up in Charlotte as the popularity of rental housing rises thanks to ongoing challenges in the homeownership market.
It’s a good time to be in the rental business “for many reasons,” Levine said.
“The American dream of owning a home has been broken or at least cracked a little bit,” he said. “Most people now believe that the dream has turned into a nightmare, and young people particularly they don’t necessarily believe the age-old thesis that you buy a home, it’s your best investment and you just do it. They’re saying, ‘I’m just going to rent. I’m going to keep my options open. I’m not going to be like my parents, who have lost a lot of money.’”
Levine said Monroe Road has been a magnet for his family for years.
“My 27-year career started on Monroe Road,” he said.
In the 1950s, Levine’s father started Pic ‘N Pay, a shoe store that he would later sell, on Monroe Road. Next door, Levin’s uncle, Leon, launched Family Dollar Stores.
Roberts can be reached at [email protected].