Biggest new Charlotte development in decades approved west of the airport

Biggest new Charlotte development in decades approved west of the airport

Ely Portillo


What’s new in commercial and residential real estate in the Charlotte region.


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The Catawba River seen from Dixie River Road, which will be part of the new River District area just west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The Catawba River seen from Dixie River Road, which will be part of the new River District area just west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Davie Hinshaw

Dixie River Road, part of the area which will be part of the new River District just west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Davie Hinshaw
Charlotte City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the city’s biggest new development in at least two decades, setting the stage to bring millions of square feet of new office space, thousands of homes and hundreds of shops and restaurants to a quiet corner of the county.

Just west of Charlotte’s airport, the River District, as it’s known, will rise in an area that’s largely undeveloped and forested. Charlotte-based developers Lincoln Harris and Crescent Communities are partnering on the plan, which is expected to take 20 to 30 years to fully build out.

“This is a multiphase, multiyear project,” said Charlotte City Council member LaWana Mayfield, who said she plans to ask for more affordable housing at the site in the future. “At each phase there will be additional discussions. … There are some concerns and challenges.”

Democrat Patsy Kinsey said the city should have taken more time to weigh the proposal but said she “reluctantly” supported the plan. “It is huge. I think this council should have a little more time to consider it,” said Kinsey.

Covering nearly 1,400 acres, the River District will be the city’s largest new master-planned development since Ballantyne reshaped fields and woodlands on the city’s southern edge, starting in the mid-1990s. A complex web of infrastructure will be required to bring the project to fruition, including new roads to handle an estimated 120,000 additional vehicle trips per day, new schools, a new police station and sewage facilities for millions of gallons of wastewater.

The next step: figuring out exactly who pays for what. The development will be broken down into phases, with specific infrastructure required before each phase and the developers reimbursed for some costs from tax receipts. The preliminary estimated cost for road improvements, such as extending West Boulevard and enlarging the I-485 interchange, was $131 million, city staff said at a meeting last month.

The total is likely to change. Preliminary plans show the developers would pay for $53 million, with the rest paid for by state and local governments or financed through a tax increment grant subsidy. The city’s capital investment program currently calls for spending $44.7 million worth of bond money to improve roads in the area. City staff will fine-tune the agreement with the developers and bring it to City Council next spring.

A transformational development

When it’s completed, the River District will include 8 million square feet of office space (about double the current size of Ballantyne Corporate Park), 500,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 1,000 new hotel rooms and almost 5,000 new residences, including apartments, single-family houses and retirement units. The plan calls for keeping about 552 acres as open space, largely as buffers around sensitive streams that could be damaged by erosion.

In total, the developers estimate the River District will generate more than $3 billion worth of new, taxable property in the city.

At earlier hearings on the proposal, some City Council members expressed concerns about additional traffic generated by the development and how the area – largely undeveloped now – will handle the influx. There isn’t currently funding for a new bridge across the Catawba River into Gaston County (the planned Garden Parkway was officially scrapped earlier this year) or rail transit to the development.

“This is the wave of the future,” said Claire Fallon, who said the mixed-use development will function as a “satellite city” on Charlotte’s edge. “You cannot shove anything more into Charlotte.”

The developers are setting aside two sites for schools, a fire station and a police station. They’ll offer those for sale to the county and Charlotte for 10 years, at 80 percent of their appraised value. The plan also includes about 3,500 linear feet of waterfront along the Catawba that will be used for public recreational space, as well as two miles of planned greenway and more than 20 acres of public park space.

The developers asked City Council not to delay the vote scheduled for Monday, as often happens with complex rezoning requests. Lincoln Harris is under contract with 17 different property owners, and developers warned that a delay “jeopardizes the petitioner’s ability to maintain contractual control over the 1,300 acre land assemblage and the associated master plan commitments.”

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Charlotte’s Real Estate Market

Check out the recorded audio from a recent discussion on NPR’s WFAE! Visit the WFAE site for the original story here to listen!

Charlotte’s Real Estate Market

AUG 11, 2016

Charlotte’s housing market is hot. Buyers have gotten into bidding wars with each other. Some have resorted to writing love letters to sellers in an effort to convince owners to sell to them. Construction cranes dot the landscape and because home inventory is low, prices are up. In the middle of this hot month, we take the temperature of real estate – residential and commercial – with an eye toward where it’s headed and how it compares to the run up to the last bubble.


Mark Vitner – Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo

Maren Brisson-Kuester – President, Charlotte Regional Realtor Association and Broker/Realtor with Cottingtham Chalk Hayes Realtors

Ely Portillo – Economic Development Reporter for The Charlotte Observer

Developer Births a Builder

From Read full article here.


Crescent Communities in Charlotte enters the single-family home building business with Fielding Homes.

Fielding Homes, which launched in February, plans to break ground in three communities in Charlotte, N.C., this year.
Fielding Homes, which launched in February, plans to break ground in three communities in Charlotte, N.C., this year.

In its 50-plus-year history, Crescent Communities has built homes for thousands of families—families who rented apartments, that is. It also has developed major commercial properties, and it has been developing land and selling lots to home builders for decades. It has never, however, built a for-sale, single-family house.

Until now.

About 19 months ago, Crescent executives floated the idea of holding back a portion of its lots and using them to get into the single-family business. In February, it launched Fielding Homes, also based in Charlotte, and officially waded into the already-crowded pool of home builders.

There was some home building experience on the Crescent team, says Andy Carmody, president of its residential division, but not much. He admits the company initially lacked “core expertise” in the field. That changed early last year when Scott Widener, a 25-year industry veteran who most recently owned SC Investments & Consulting, was brought in as Fielding’s executive vice president; Steve Francis, from Standard Pacific Homes, joined the team as division president; and Jumana Kayed, formerly of D.R. Horton, became vice president of sales.

Andy Carmody
Andy Carmody

Out in Front
The first thing any builder needs is land to build on, preferably in a place where prospective home buyers might want to live. Thanks to Crescent’s vast land positions across Charlotte and beyond, Fielding had ready access to developed lots.

The second thing any builder needs is capital. Again, Crescent came through.

“We didn’t have to go out and find lot positions and raise money,” Carmody says. “We had two of the key elements already in hand and it was a matter of deploying that land and setting up the capital into the business … not that it was easy, but we had a leg up.”

With Crescent’s reputation in the area, Widener adds, he was able to hire a strong team quickly to get marketing studies completed and create designs for a variety of lot sizes. “We want to be authentic to the local community and design homes around the home buyers and not just thrust what we think the market wants,” he says.

Adding a home building unit to the mix gives Crescent more revenue streams and helps grow the business, Carmody says. Another advantage is that from its decades in the multifamily industry, the firm knows what young people want in a living space, he adds.

“We’re learning about the millennial renter and the millennial’s desires, wants, and demands early in the cycle before they become buyers, and we’re beginning to shape what we’re doing in our single-family business based on what is successful in our multifamily business,” Carmody says.

Familiar Territory
In addition to land and capital, a builder also needs a market in which to operate. Fielding was born in Charlotte, and it is comfortable there. “It’s where we have substantial land positions and vast relationships and knowledge of the markets, and what works here,” Carmody says. “It’s a logical starting point for us.”

Jay Colvin, Metrostudy regional director for the Carolinas, says Fielding’s game plan makes sense. “It’s not like they don’t know the markets they are going to build in, and that is usually the biggest issue when a ‘new’ builder enters a market,” he explains.

Scott Widener
Scott Widener

The plan is for Crescent to develop the land as usual and then for Fielding to be one of several builders to work on site. Carmody says the current objective is for Fielding to build on 25% to 50% of lots in a given community. Crescent intends “to continue to be master planned community developers,” he says. “That’s a business we like and know well. Our intent is to roll out Fielding Homes in a portion of the lots in each of our communities over time. So instead of selling lots to four builders, it might be two or three.”

First up are four communities in the Charlotte metro area, including Masons Bend(about 600 lots), in which Fielding’s first four models are now under construction. Paddlers Cove (about 400 lots) started construction in May and Chapel Cove (less than 100 lots) will follow suit this summer. River District, the major project just west of the city’s airport, will feature more than 1,000 residential lots, and office and retail space. It will start construction in 2018. “We plan and design and labor over creating a community in authentic and sought-after places for people to live, with home building we’re able to finish that execution on a part of the lots,” Carmody says.

After the Launch
Fielding expects to deliver about 10 homes this year, Carmody says, with plans to increase to more than 100 in 2017. In 2019 and 2020, the aim will be to deliver 400 to 500 homes in North Carolina alone. “These master planned communities are bigger, long-term projects so we don’t know what we’ll be doing in years five through eight,” he says. “We have a plan, but it evolves phase by phase and as the market changes.”

Entry-level homes do not factor into its strategy. “The way we believe we will fit in is by delivering a home that is consistent with our approach in master planned communities,” Carmody notes, “which is thoughtfully designed, authentic to our local communities, and generally a higher quality level—that sought-after move-up home.”

From Charlotte, Fielding will expand to Raleigh, N.C., later this year before potentially moving into other states. Carmody says the company is eyeing Nashville, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla., but adds that there are no firm plans to enter those markets.

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The American Dream

Crescent Communities Announces Executive Leadership Team for Fielding Homes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Andy Carmody, president of the residential division of Crescent Communities, today announced the leadership team for its new homebuilding company, Fielding Homes. Scott Widener, executive vice president, will lead the Fielding Homes team, which includes division president Steve Francis, president of construction operations Jonathan Helms, vice president of sales Jumana Kayed, vice president of purchasing operations Brian Olin and vice president/controller Jones Holcomb.

“Collectively, this executive management team brings decades of expertise in every area of homebuilding, home sales and marketing,” Carmody said. “This leadership team, along with the additional professionals who are supporting the development and launch of Fielding Homes, share Crescent Communities’ passion for building communities and homes that truly enhance people’s lives. It is this commitment and dedication to excellence that will make Fielding Homes a great success,” added Carmody.
Scott Widener joins Fielding Homes with more than 25 years of real estate expertise, including his past position as president of Pulte Building Systems, where he increased sales from $75 million to $250 million through new start-ups and acquisitions.
“Crescent’s focus on company culture, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to doing business the right way drew all of us to the company,” Widener said. “We look forward being a part of the vibrant and successful communities for which Crescent is known.”
Fielding Homes, which designs thoughtfully built single-family homes that complement communities, is launching with 64 homes at Masons Bend, a Crescent Communities development in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The homes at Masons Bend range in size from 2,800 square feet to 4,000 square feet, with a price point starting in the mid-$300,000’s. The first model home is currently under construction with three additional models to follow. Fielding Homes has plans to expand to other fast-growing cities across the Sun Belt region.
Additional biography information on the executive leadership team is located in the addendum following the press release. For more information on Fielding Homes, visit For information on Masons Bend, visit
About Crescent Communities
Crescent Communities, LLC is a leading real estate investment and operating firm creating long-term value by developing thoughtful, sustainable communities that improve people’s lives. Founded in 1963, Crescent’s original mandate as a land management company continues to inform its commitment to the wise stewardship of natural resources. The company finances, plans and develops residential, multifamily, mixed-used and commercial properties and land assets, valued in total at $1.2 billion. Crescent is recognized for its innovative approach to development, robust capital deployment, seasoned leadership team, and proven model of sustainability. For more information, visit
About Fielding Homes
Fielding Homes, LLC is a residential home building company specializing in the construction of thoughtfully designed single-family homes. A Crescent Communities Company, Fielding Homes follows the same guiding principles. Fielding Homes builds community and betters people’s lives by designing homes that fit their needs and fulfill their wants. Together, Fielding Homes and Crescent Communities deliver a complete place-making experience that brings thoughtful design from the community level all the way through to the creation of the home. For more information, visit

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Members of the Fielding Homes executive team include:
Scott Widener
Executive Vice President, Homebuilding
Scott joined Fielding Homes in 2015 as executive vice president, where he oversaw the start-up of the homebuilding business and will lead the development of the first Fielding Homes communities. Scott has over 25 years of experience as a senior operations and project management executive in high production housing. Prior to joining Fielding Homes, Widener owned SC Investments & Consulting.
Steven Francis
Division President
Steven joined Fielding Homes as division president in 2015, where he enthusiastically led the start-up of the new homebuilding operation. Most recently, he was division president at Standard Pacific Homes. He brings nearly a decade of homebuilding executive experience to the Fielding Homes team, and his strong background in finance and operations ensured a successful launch.
Jonathan Helms
Vice President of Construction Operations
In 2015, Jonathan joined Fielding Homes as a Vice President of Construction Operations, bringing 14 years of homebuilding expertise to the team. Prior to joining Fielding Homes, Jonathan was vice president of construction at Mattamy Homes. He will oversee all aspects of the homebuilding process from construction to customer service.
Jumana Kayed
Vice President of Sales
Jumana joined Fielding Homes in 2015 as vice president of sales, bringing 17 years of marketing and sales experience to the team. Jumana’s expertise includes consumer product segmentation, sales forecasting, professional development, market assessment and competitive analysis and customer relations. Prior to joining Fielding Homes, Jumana was area sales manager at DR Horton.
Brian Olin
Vice President of Purchasing Operations
Brian joined Fielding Homes in 2015 as vice president of purchasing operations. He brings 13 years of purchasing and strategic sourcing experience to the Fielding Homes team, and was most recently director of strategy sourcing at Extended Stay America.
Lisa Lenhart
Director of Marketing
Lisa joined Fielding Homes in 2015 as director of marketing, promoting Fielding Homes as a top new homebuilding business before and throughout its launch period. Lisa is an expert in both traditional and online marketing, and possesses strong communication skills. Before joining Fielding Homes, Lisa was marketing manager at Eastwood Homes.

Could York County housing freeze affect Crescent projects?

By Ken Elkins, Senior Staff Writer

Charlotte Business Journal

Crescent Communities and its new Fielding Homes unit can celebrate the location of its newly launched Masons Bend community in Fort Mill for several reasons. There’s the booming growth of northern York County in general, plus the project’s view of the Catawba River.

ground breaking

Most importantly, though, is the fact that the 650-home project, which was dedicated Thursday morning, won’t be affected by a plan that could restrict development in York County.

The move to freeze new housing construction in northern York County surfaced this week. Michael Johnson, a York County Council member representing Fort Mill, has proposed the restriction on issuing housing plats for property in the Fort Mill and Bethel townships.

As proposed now, the ordinance would apply to only the unincorporated areas of those two York County townships, not to those housing projects planned inside the county’s municipalities. Since Masons Bend is being developed in Fort Mill, it would not be subject to a proposed moratorium, Crescent executives say.
Those Crescent officials aren’t sure whether a housing freeze would affect another of its York County projects: Paddlers Cove, planned off S.C. 49 in the Clover community.
Andy Carmody, president of Crescent’s residential division, says he understands York County’s concerns that the county is growing too quickly.
But a moratorium on subdivisions “will make homes cost more,” he says.
“It’s a clear message about managing growth,” Carmody adds. “That’s an issue that we care about too.” Homes in Masons Bend would be subject to Fort Mill’s new impact fees, which the town enacted in October.
All the talk of impact fees and a housing moratorium didn’t dampen the spirit at Masons Bend Thursday morning. Crescent is celebrating its new homebuilding unit, Fielding Homes and the opening of Mason Bend. That division will build its first homes — as many as 250 of them — in Masons Bend, says Steve Francis, division president of Fielding Homes.
He says Fielding Homes’ goal is to become the “gold standard here in the Carolinas” for homebuilders. The company plans to build in the “move-up production” market or the high end of stick-built homes.

Read the full article online at the Charlotte Business Journal.