MIDTOWN – Earth is moving this week on a 2.5-acre patch of the Metropolitan district slated to become home to a 261-unit, Class A apartment complex tentatively named in public documents as South Kings Midtown.
The project is owned and being built by Lennar Multifamily Inc., according to public records, as part of a $1 billion nationwide dive into the apartment feeding frenzy by the single-family homebuilding giant Lennar Corp.
The company has so far invested $32.25 million in the property. LMI pulled $24 million in Mecklenburg County building permits Tuesday for the project. The company paid $8.25 million for the land in May 2012.
Also this week, heavy equipment belonging to the demo subcontractor – D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. Inc. of Greensboro – was digging, scraping, leveling and otherwise preparing what was formerly a parking lot between the Original Pancake House and ABC Store on one side and a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Vitamin Shoppe on the other. The property is easily identifiable by the area’s only cell tower.
The address is variously listed in public documents as 205, 207 and 137 Kings Drive, and is bound by that street, Cherry and East Third streets, and Charlottetown Avenue.
The permits issued Tuesday include those for the construction of a parking garage and buildings identified as 1000A and 1000B.
Todd Farrell, East Coast LMI president – who is based in uptown Charlotte’s South Tryon Square office building – did not return emails and phone calls for this story.
In January, Farrell told The Mecklenburg Times that in addition to the two apartment buildings and a parking deck, the complex will also house 8,000 square feet of street-level retail.
The project is part of $560 million initial foray by Miami-based Lennar into the multifamily market this year.
The first projects announced were a $36 million, 316-unit complex in Jacksonville, Fla., in partnership with the Carlyle Group asset-management firm, which has offices in Charlotte; and a $32 million, 264-unit complex northeast of Atlanta.
The Charlotte project — for which Farrell declined to give a total build-out cost, citing a corporate decision to not release the numbers — would be part of the second phase of Lennar’s initial push, which would also include new complexes in Texas and the Chicago area, Farrell said.
The new apartment initiative by Lennar is the latest evidence of a rush by investors and builders into a hot apartment market that continues to heat up as more would-be homeowners are pushed out of owning and others are choosing apartments over homeownership. Lennar consistently ranks in the top five in annual surveys of the country’s biggest homebuilders by number of units sold and ranked No. 1 in Charlotte in 2011.
Farrell said the Charlotte complex would have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with luxury touches like lobbies, elevators and granite and hardwood finishes.
“Rents are undefined,” he said.