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Earth moves for Fountains at Stonewall apartments project

Proffitt Dixon prepares for 210 luxury units

2ndWARD – And on the eighth day, God created excavators, and the excavators moved the earth and prepared the land to receive 210 luxury apartments at Stonewall and McDowell streets in uptown Charlotte.

Proffitt Dixon plans 210 luxury apartments for this site.

No, it’s not a miracle of creation. But the five-story Fountains at Stonewall project – the future site of which sticks out like a red-clay sore thumb without its former layer of vegetation and topsoil – is shaping up to be one heck of a deal for Charlotte developer Proffitt Dixon Partners.

Proffitt Dixon hasn’t even forked over the $3.8 million for the city of Charlotte-owned property, yet the city is just about finished with the excavating and grading – which the city is doing for the developer for dirt cheap.


“The city needed dirt for its Freedom Drive road project – they needed fill dirt, so we’re moving the dirt for” Proffitt Dixon at no charge, city of Charlotte spokeswoman Michelle Goot said.

It’s not just that the city is moving the dirt. It’s that a city excavator and other heavy equipment have carved out a flat platform of clay from what used to be a hill that fits the proposed apartment complex to a T.

A comparison of a photograph of the site taken from a top-story balcony of the Blake Hotel, across McDowell from the project, and a rendering by the Housing Studio, a Charlotte-based architecture firm shows the land and the drawing beginning to line up.

But Proffit Dixon, which has had a purchase contract on the property for about a year, is not the only one getting a deal out of the project.

When the sale closes in January, the city will pocket the $3.8 million for the triangular 2.8-acre site just east of South McDowell and between the John Belk Freeway and East Stonewall. That money will go toward paying down the $10 million the city borrowed to help finance the NASCAR Hall of Fame, just down Stonewall from the apartment site, said Kent Walker, one of two city representatives who negotiated the contract with Proffitt Dixon.

The rear of the building will face a wall of dirt and the John Belk Freeway.

The taxpayers are getting a deal on the dirt for the Freedom Drive project, which under most circumstances would cost thousands of dollars.

And the architecture firm gets a peach of a place to show off its classy – and glassy – design work.

“We’re trying to create a project that fits in with the area but also one that takes advantage of that high-visibility site,” said Housing Studio senior associate Mike Everson.

“We’re using glazing both to give apartment-renters great views” on the uptown side of the apartments, Everson said. “But also we’re using those windows to make it a beacon in uptown.”

The rear of the building, which will partly face a wall of dirt and the John Belk Freeway, is more problematic.

“We’re planning on a planted buffer as much as we can,” Everson said. “The first floor units will be up about six or seven feet above grade. And when you get to the third and fourth floors you’ll be overlooking the interstate. We’re trying to mitigate the effect of the freeway as much as possible.”

Proffitt Dixon partners Wyatt Dixon and Stuart Proffitt did not return repeated calls for comment. Deputy city manager Ron Kimble also did not return a call.

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