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   FEB 2010                                       Lake Norman and Charlotte Newsletter         

  Senior apartments to open

The 1- and 2-bedroom units, planned to be available March 1, are meant for low-income seniors.

MOORESVILLE A 40-unit apartment complex for low-income senior adults is scheduled to open March 1 at N.C. 150 East and Overhead Bridge Road.

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte Housing Corp. and the Affordable Housing Group of NC Inc. collaborated on the project. The apartments are open to eligible seniors regardless of religious affiliation.

The development is called Curlin Commons in honor of Bishop William Curlin, retired head of the diocese.

The community will include 28 one-bedroom units at 718 square feet each and 12 two-bedroom units at 903 square feet each.

Rents will be from $251 to $530 a month for a one-bedroom and $304 to $610 for a two-bedroom, including water, sewer and garbage service. Each will have emergency call alarms.

The one- and two-bedroom apartments are available to anyone 55 or older who meets low-income requirements.

The maximum income limit for a single-person household will be $25,660. The maximum income limit for a two-person household will be $28,680.

"This is part of the basic mission of the diocese, which is to meet the needs of the people of Western North Carolina," diocesan spokesman David Hains said when work on the project started last year. "This is housing for low-income seniors who are likely to be hardest hit by the current economic downturn."

Six units will be wheelchair-accessible. Visiting providers will offer periodic social, health, educational and spiritual activities. The development will include a chapel, a community room, community kitchen, parlor, library, porches, patio and an elevator.

All units will include Energy Star appliances and are being built with eco-friendly green building materials.

Those interested in an apartment should call Excel Property Management at 919-878-0522, ext. 213.

Crews carving new Mooresville road

Crews have begun carving a road that will run behind the Sunridge Place town homes off Brawley School Road across from Lakeside Business Park.

The intersection of Brawley School Road and Rolling Hills Road, which runs through the park, will become a signalized four-way intersection, and the new northbound approach of the intersection will be the new direct access to Sunridge Place, Mooresville Transportation Planner Neil Burke said. The current entrance to Sunridge Place will be closed.

"This is an access management strategy to help limit the number of driveways along the Brawley School Road corridor," Burke said.

Brawley School Road is being widened to four lanes, and an Interstate 77 Exit 35 is planned.

Builder to open sales and decorating studio

Kelly Custom Builders Inc. is scheduled to open a sales and decorating studio on Jan. 13 at South Main Square, in the downtown Davidson arts district.

A two-time "Best of the Lake" winner, Kelly Custom Builders has been in business in the Lake Norman area since 1993.

The studio will showcase the company's prior works in an elegantly decorated setting, owners Ray and Noelle Kelly said.

Airport opens 4th runway

US Airways expects it will reduce congestion, enable 20 more landings an hour.

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport opened its fourth runway early Wednesday morning, with the 9,000-foot concrete strip expected to untangle congestion during stormy weather and high-traffic times.

The new runway, which is adjacent to Interstate 485, will initially be used only during good weather when pilots can land without instruments. It will become fully operational on Feb. 11, giving the airline's dominant carrier, US Airways, more ways to keep its largest hub flowing.

US Airways currently lands about 75 planes an hour in good weather. The airline expects it will be able to land an additional 20 planes each hour with the new runway.

"It's certainly going to be beneficial for us," said US Airways spokesperson Michelle Mohr. "It will help us if there is inclement weather."

The runway's opening is part of a planned overhaul of the airport, which includes two new expanded parking decks, an expanded terminal and possibly a new concourse in the next decade.

The airport has become one of the world's busiest as US Airways has added flights to Charlotte, while cutting service in Phoenix, its corporate headquarters. The airline recently started nonstop service from Charlotte to Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Honolulu, and will begin flying to Rome later this year.

Charlotte/Douglas handled just under 35 million passengers in 2008, making it the 26th busiest in the world. It was the ninth busiest in the world based on takeoffs and landings.

Charlotte/Douglas now has three parallel north-south runways, as well as a crosswind runway.

The new runway will be most useful during bad weather when US Airways has a backlog of planes trying to land.

When the weather is particularly bad, the airport can land planes on all three north-south runways. There are few airports that can land three planes simultaneously.

During other periods, the airport's plan is to reserve the center north-south runway for takeoffs and to use the two outermost north-south runways for landings.

"We don't need the triple approaches except at peak times," said aviation director Jerry Orr.

The first plane to land on the new runway was a vintage Piedmont Airlines DC-3 owned by the Carolinas Historic Aviation Commission. That World War II-era plane, carrying Mayor Anthony Foxx and other officials, touched down around 8 a.m.

The runway and the taxiways connecting it to the rest of the airfield cost $325 million.

The Federal Aviation Administration paid for $124 million of the cost, and the rest will be paid through a $3 fee passengers pay each time they board a plane at Charlotte/Douglas. That fee is included in the cost of their ticket.

The next phase of construction is to expand the two hourly parking decks closest to the terminal.

Starting this summer, the airport will build part of the decks on land that's currently surface parking lots, in between the control tower and the existing hourly decks. Once those decks are finished, Orr plans to demolish the existing hourly decks and expand them.

The rental cars will move into the new decks from their current home north of Concourse A. After that, Orr plans to move the circular roadway for arrivals and departures, which will give the airport room to expand the ticketing area used by local passengers.

After those projects are finished - likely by the middle or end of the next decade - the airport may build a new concourse on the site of the rental car lots.

The airport is also planning to partner with Norfolk-Southern to build an intermodal facility, where freight is transferred between trucks and trains, on the airport's south side, adjacent to the new runway.

Charlotte's crime rate continues to fall

City outpaces national downward trend. 'There's still room for reductions,' says chief of police.

The crime rate in Charlotte last year hit its lowest point in more than three decades, mirroring a national trend of declining crime and a testament, the police chief says, to improved crime-fighting strategies.

The rate of violent crime per 100,000 people in Charlotte - which has generally declined for more than a decade - hit its lowest mark last year since police began keeping uniform records in 1977. The raw number of violent crimes is way down too: Last year was a 23-year low.

The rate of property crime - which has fluctuated over the last decade - also hit a record low last year. The number of property crimes, which affect far more people than violent crime, hit a 21-year low.

In an Observer analysis last week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe said that Charlotte is benefiting from the national downward trend but that the city is outpacing the rest of the country thanks to his department's hard work.

At a Tuesday news conference, Monroe hailed the year-end numbers.

"I think that there's still room for reductions," said Monroe, flanked by all 13 of his patrol commanders.

Since taking over as chief in mid-2008, Monroe says he put more officers on patrol and has broken patrol divisions into smaller areas to make them more responsive. He has also given patrol commanders more flexibility while holding them accountable for crime numbers in their areas.

Nationally, criminologists advance a variety of theories for the crime rate decline: Better policing, more prisons, improved inmate rehabilitation, better emergency medicine, newer housing policies that lower the concentration of people in poor, crime-ridden areas, and an influx of immigrants who tend to keep a low profile.

Looking ahead in Charlotte, Monroe said, police will strive to extend the city's gains, and will set specific crime reduction goals in the coming weeks.

"Never will you see this department sit back," Monroe said. "You best believe that the criminal is out there, figuring out how he's going to take advantage of us."

 

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On track: Urban village near train

One of the proposed developments that together would transform neighborhoods around the Scaleybark light-rail station is moving forward despite the recession.

Crosland expects to break ground perhaps late this year on a transit-oriented urban village on 36 acres at Scaleybark Road and South Boulevard.

Design work is under way for Crosland Greens, which will be about 3 miles southwest of uptown.

The first phase will include about 10 acres and prep work on other parts of the property. The first project will be a 16,500-square-foot building to replace the Scaleybark Branch public library, which is about one-third the size of the proposed building.

Crosland also has commitments for about 20,000 square feet in a proposed 60,000-square-foot, three-story office building, which also would be completed in the development's first phase.

Later phases of development will add retail and about 700 residences to the property, said Stephen H. Mauldin, Crosland's chief financial officer.

The concept for Crosland Greens borrows features from Birkdale Village, a mixed-use community in Huntersville.

"It takes bits and pieces from lots of things," Mauldin said of Crosland Greens. "Part of the main street and scale would be a more urban form of a Birkdale Village - a tighter form of that."

Officials at Crosland say Crosland Greens will be a leading-edge example of sustainable development planning and practices.

Birkdale was built by Pappas Properties, which has proposed a neighboring mixed-use community on the opposite side of South Boulevard from Crosland's development.

Crosland has collaborated with Pappas Properties' planned project near the rail station. Their goal is create a cohesive look for communities in the Scaleybark Transit District with similar lighting and signs, Mauldin said.

Northwest Mutual Life Insurance Co. is Crosland's capital partner and is committed to moving forward with the project this year, Mauldin said. Timing for Pappas Properties' project depends on market conditions, said Peter Pappas, president.

The Charlotte City Council approved Crosland's rezoning application last June. The transit-oriented-development zoning designation allows a minimum density of 15 residential units per acre.

Crosland plans to build apartments, condos, townhouses and single-family homes that would fit a variety of incomes.

The project will not have the same retail mix as Birkdale Village, whose directory includes national retailers such as Banana Republic and Williams-Sonoma.

The retail plan for Crosland Greens includes a grocery store, restaurants and other services that support everyday needs in a neighborhood.

Those tenants could encourage walking within the community rather than driving to other locations, all important features for Crosland's goal of sustaining the community, Mauldin said.

"We've done bigger and we've done more complex (projects)," Mauldin said. "Our emotional attachment to this site is very deep and runs back many years."

Lake Norman News

Antiquity offers easy living

Developers and residents say the Antiquity subdivision will transform downtown Cornelius while likely making it a prominent destination community.

Positioned to be built around the Charlotte Area Transit System's planned extension of the North Corridor Commuter Rail into the Lake Norman area, it is being touted as the town's first transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly development.

A project 10 years in the making, it is expected to be completed and fully occupied within the next five years, regardless of how the commuter rail line project evolves.

Currently about 20 percent of all lots are occupied while the other 80 percent of the development has roads and infrastructure in place. No commercial development is underway, but the subdivision is expected to house coffee shops, restaurants and other retail shops driven by consumer services. The estimated project value could exceed $250 million when finished, developer Joe Roy said.

Antiquity is the town's only subdivision that has been growing over the last three years despite the economy and housing market troubles, said Cornelius town manager Anthony Roberts.

"That's a testament to the quality of the development," Roberts said. "To be selling like they are, it has to be offering something."

Among the community's current or planned offerings are a 30-acre park, a community pool, a 1,500-seat amphitheater, hiking and biking trails, sidewalks lined with fruit-bearing trees and even a vineyard of muscadine grapes.

The streets inside Antiquity will be lined with about 1,000 residences designed to appeal to families, young professionals and empty-nesters. Tucked in and around the apartments, townhouses and single-family homes being built will be nine mini parks. Single-family homes range from the low $200,000s to $400,000s. Townhomes start in the low $100,000s.

The approximate 130-acre "smart-growth" community is known for its rustic, covered bridge that connects to downtown Davidson via South Street. Smart-growth communities seek to preserve an area's natural and cultural resources by planning for mixed-land uses and walkable neighborhoods.

Antiquity will bring a variety of benefits to residents, including increased business opportunities for entrepreneurs. The neighborhood's proximity to the CATS planned transit-rail station on Catawba Avenue will provide commuters with access to Charlotte and surrounding areas.

The covered-bridge entrance is meant to reflect the ease-of-living and friendly feeling envisioned for this community. Developer Joe Roy described it as a throwback neighborhood that pays homage to a simpler time.

The main entrance, on the Cornelius side of the development, is scheduled to be completed by spring, but will probably be completed much earlier, officials said. It is at Catawba Avenue and N.C. 115.

The houses were purposefully placed close to the sidewalks to encourage residents to be social.

"My wife and I immediately fell in love with the sense of community here after meeting our future neighbors," said Jim Johnson, a local realtor for the last three years who now serves on the homeowners association's safety committee. "The landscaping is fantastic, and we feel really good about living here."

As a realtor, Johnson said he hasn't found any other community in the Charlotte area that matches the pace of growth of the Antiquity development.

"Eventually this will be a destination community," Johnson said.

lake norman 150

$545M to fast-track new, swifter trains to Raleigh

DURHAM North Carolina will start spending $545 million in federal rail money right away, state officials said Thursday, to create more than 5,000 jobs and get trains running faster and more frequently between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, came to Durham's new Amtrak depot to announce the state's share of $8billion in stimulus money approved by Congress to start building a national high-speed passenger rail network.

"First and foremost, this is a jobs program," Jackson told about 200 people gathered in the depot, a renovated red-brick tobacco warehouse. "Americans will be put to work at every step of the way through construction, manufacturing and maintenance. And once rail lines are up and running, communities like Durham will have even greater economic possibilities."

DOT plans by this summer to add a third daily round-trip train between Raleigh and Charlotte, and the new federal funding will add a fourth train to the schedule in coming years.

Track improvements will speed up trains where they have to slow down now, and by 2015 the top track speed is expected to be increased from the current 79 mph to 90 mph.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, said Triad-area residents and businesses will take advantage of better connections to Raleigh and Charlotte.

"And it's going to ease congestion on the roads and lessen our dependence on foreign oil," Hagan said in a telephone interview.

New interchange kicking up dirt

Work on Brawley School Road Exit 35 on I-77 has begun, to relief of drivers of clogged Mooresville Exit 36

MOORESVILLE The landscape changes almost daily where the state is carving its newest Charlotte-area Interstate 77 interchange.

The absence of trees is probably the most noticeable difference in the past two months at the Brawley School Road bridge, where Exit 35 is being built.

Work on the new interchange is part of a $22.6million project to widen Brawley School Road to four lanes from Williamson Road to east of Winghaven Court, more than 1.2 miles. Winghaven Court is just east of the intersection of Brawley School and Talbert roads.

The state has already been widening a stretch of Brawley School Road on the other side of Williamson to relieve chronic traffic tie-ups on the rural two-lane route.

The state is using federal stimulus money to pay for the latest stretch, which includes the new exit, Gov. Bev Perdue announced last fall.

The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded the contract for the latest leg to low bidder W.C. English Inc. of Lynchburg, Va. Completion is expected by July 1, 2013.

The new interchange is expected to relieve backups a mile north at Exit 36, which spills traffic onto often-bottlenecked N.C. 150.

 

 

   

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