CHARLOTTE – Levine Properties wants to add 175 hotel rooms – and 35 vertical feet – to an apartment development planned for the Midtown neighborhood just south of Uptown.
The Charlotte City Council in 2005 approved the developer’s plans for a 250-foot tall, 155-apartment development on 1.3 acres of the 26.6 acres that constitute the mixed-use Metropolitan.
Now, the company wants the city’s approval to amend its site plan to allow for the hotel rooms and extra height, which would put it at 285 feet, or 25 stories.
Owners of three of the Metropolitan’s existing 101 residential units, completed in 2008, said at the hearing that they didn’t like the project at either height.
They complained that the tower, which would be along Little Sugar Creek Greenway at South Kings Drive, Baxter and East Third streets, would block views from their three buildings, the tallest of which is 87 feet.
And they said it would generate more traffic on the Metropolitan area’s congested streets and in the parking garages that also serve shoppers in 171,929 square feet of retail space and workers in its 170,402 square feet of office. The office component of the Metropolitan is its tallest existing building at 165 feet.
“When is enough enough?” resident Hal Lindsay asked after telling the council that some 700 apartments are already under construction near the Metropolitan.
Keith MacVean, a lawyer with Charlotte’s Moore & Van Allen firm who represented Levine at the public hearing, told the City Council that the developer would work with residents and the city to mitigate traffic problems.
Design work, development and permitting would take a year before construction could start, Brian Nicholson, Levine’s director of development and construction, said after the meeting.
The hotel rooms would go on three lower levels of the planned 25, he said. Although the entrance to the high-rise would face the street, Nicholson said the side facing the greenway would be “our front porch.”
Although Nicholson and City Council members said they believed the extra 35 feet would make the Metropolitan Tower the city’s tallest building outside of the city’s Interstate 277 loop, it would fall short, according to Emporis.com, a database of 420,000 buildings around the world.
Even at 285 feet, the tower would be 23 feet shy of the Arlington condominiums – better known as “the pink building” – which towers 308 feet over South End.
Record or not, the site-plan amendment is scheduled to go to the Charlotte Planning Commission’s rezoning committee at 2 p.m. May 5, and to the City Council for a decision at 6 p.m. May 19. Both meetings are at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St.