In its National Apartment Report for 2015, the real estate research firm Marcus & Millichap observes that Charlotte, N.C.’s “growing economy” has been a magnet for young professionals, investors, and businesses. Commercial Property Executive magazine last week reported that, based on units completed in the previous 12 months, Charlotte is the 10th-ranked multifamily housing market in the country, with 8,473 completions.
One developer that’s been all in on Charlotte and North Carolina for a while is Wood Partners, which in early June broke ground on its 15th apartment community in the Tar Heel state, where it has built more than 2,900 apartment units since 2001.
“Charlotte continues to be a key market for us,” says Ray Smith, the company’s vice president of development. Wood Partners’ latest venture is called Alta Berewick, a 266-unit multifamily community on 16 acres near Charlotte’s airport, about a 20-minute drive from downtown.
The project, designed by Cline Design Associates, will consist of three three-story buildings, one four-story manor building, and seven carriage buildings with garages. Smith explains that the city has been pushing developers to vary their building heights to create more of an urban feel in their communities. (This is old hat for Smith, who opened Wood Partners’ New York City office a few years ago.)
One of the buildings in the middle of the complex will include the 10,000-sf clubhouse, pool, and leasing office.
Alta Berewick’s attractions include being located near several major local employers, including Siemens, Microsoft, Time Warner, Frito Lay, Equifirst, Sun Chemical, Goodrich, and General Motors. The community is also near a lot of retail, including a new Premium Outlets mall across the street and two other shopping centers less than four miles away.
The apartment units will range from one bedrooms that average 798 sf, two bedrooms that average 1,147 sf, and three bedrooms that average 1,429 sf. Each apartment will feature stainless steel appliances, washers and dryers, granite countertops, brushed nickel hardware, and wood-like flooring. Smith says that apartments closer to Charlotte’s downtown are renting for $1.90 per sf or higher, whereas those closer to the airport are renting for between $1 and $1.25 per sf. He expects that Alt Berewick will capture some of the highest rents in the area.
Wood Partners’ subsidiary WP East Builders is the general contractor, and Sumitomo Corporation of America is the equity partner. Wood Partners expects to Alta Berewick’s apartments to be ready for lease by February 2016.
The company is already getting started on its next project, a 292-unit complex on 12 acres in the Charlotte subdivision of Highland Creek, N.C., whose construction will begin in the fourth quarter of this year.
The question, though, is whether Wood Partners is building into a market that might be getting a bit frothy. Marcus & Millichap predicts that Charlotte’s construction pipeline could slow to 4,600 deliveries in 2015 (versus 7,800 in 2014), which would raise rental stock there by 3.4 percent.