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
"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
MOORESVILLE 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
DAVIDSON 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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
The retail plan for Crosland Greens includes a grocery store,
restaurants and other services that support everyday needs in a
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
Antiquity offers easy living
Developers and residents say the Antiquity subdivision will transform
downtown Cornelius while likely making it a prominent destination
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,
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
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
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
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
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
"Eventually this will be a destination community," Johnson said.
$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
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
"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
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
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.