ASHBROOK ─ It would be off Little Hope Road, but developer Matt Ewers has a far sunnier ─ and heartfelt ─ vision for a 15-home pocket subdivision called the Villas at Mattie Rose in the heart of this neighborhood not far from the pricier Dilworth and Myers Park.
Ewers, owner of the burgeoning Mattie Rose Development Inc., wants to rezone a patch of the Ashbrook neighborhood for builders to construct more traditional houses instead of contemporary ones.
He’s planning on building on 3.6 acres the same number of houses that the Charlotte City Council OK’d back when the housing market crested in 2006, according to rezoning application documents on file with the city of Charlotte.
Now that he’s got a deal to buy the land from the original developer, Modern Dwellings LLC, which gave up its plans when the market crashed, Ewers wants to change the architectural style that was approved for the conditional urban residential zoning.
Besides that, all he wants to do is alter the two streets in the subdivision to create more uniformly shaped and sized lots, about one-fifth of an acre each.
Ewers, who is also a custom homebuilder and owner of the well-established Grandfather Homes, said he was making the contemporary-traditional switch-up not because that’s the kind of houses Grandfather Homes builds; he’s not planning on building at all in the Villas at Mattie Rose once he’s developed it.
It’s because he thinks the change would make it easier to sell the lots to other homebuilders because they would better blend in with the neighborhood.
“I went the traditional route because most spec builders are going to want to sell to the masses, and traditional is going to sell better,” Ewers said.
“I like the modern stuff, the cantilevered houses you’re starting to see in neighborhoods like Collins Park, but 15 of them in a little pocket subdivision is a little bit of stretch.”
Ewers said he expects little or no pushback from neighbors, he said, in part because there was none when the proposed development sailed through the rezoning process when the contemporary houses were approved by the city.
The mandatory community meeting for Ewers’ version of the pocket subdivision will be held in the next few weeks, and the rezoning proposal will have its initial City Council public hearing in October.
Ewers said the proximity of the Villas at Mattie Rose to better known and fancier close-in neighborhoods, combined with the fact that the lots would be for newer but traditional homes in the midst of more vintage ones, would fetch a better-than-average price for the locale.
“We’re near Myers Park, Dilworth, Sedgefield and Freedom Park, and convenient to uptown and Park Road Shopping Center and SouthPark,” Ewers said. “We won’t be able to get numbers like Myers Park and Dilworth; but we are going to be in the middle” of the upper price points and those elsewhere in Ashbrook.
As for Mattie Rose, the girl’s name in his development company and in the pocket subdivision in Ashbrook ─ that comes with a touching backstory.
“Mattie Rose is name of my daughter who passed away at 2½ months on Sept. 10 of last year,” Ewers said. “She and her twin sister, Willow, were preemie babies, but Mattie had a heart condition. Only Willow survived.”
Mattie Rose Development is in the midst of creating another pocket subdivision, this one in Plaza Midwood, called the Park at Mattie Rose.
Ewers said he’s using the name in part to honor his daughter, but also in part to brand his burgeoning development company so it will take off as strongly as his better known Grandfather Homes brand has.
“All of our subdivisions will be ‘Blank at Mattie Rose’,” Ewers said.
“I feel like we have a small following of folks and realtors for Grandfather Homes, and I hope people will eventually recognize the Mattie Rose brand for authentic communities, too ─ regardless of the builder.”
So the Villas at Mattie Rose is not a cause for little hope but an opportunity for a baby girl’s name to live on ─ and to do her dad proud.