RENDERINGS: Crescent Communities eyes 2023 to finish first phase of massive River District

Charlotte Business Journal, Collin Huguley, October 5, 2021

It appears developers are inching closer to beginning construction on the first piece of a massive, master-planned community in west Charlotte. Last night, Crescent Communities Managing Director Chase Kerley updated Charlotte City Council on The River District. Kerley discussed the nearly 1,400-acre development at a council strategy session, where he addressed a timeline and plans for the project’s first phase.

Kerley said The River District would include approximately 8 million square feet of office space, 500,000 square feet of retail, 2,500 homes, 2,500 multifamily units and 1,000 hotel rooms at full buildout. Construction could start by year end, and infrastructure projects are in the works. The first phase is a 70-acre, mixed-use community called Westrow. Crescent expects to get its final land development permits for the phase in the next few weeks and would then begin construction. Westrow will include several different housing types, shops, restaurants and office space, in addition to green space.

Crescent has made a commitment of 10% affordable housing in the first phase to be developed by Laurel Street Residential, which plans a $24.3 million, 124-unit project there. Kerley estimated the first homes at The River District will be ready for move in by spring 2023. He added Crescent will donate the land for Laurel Street’s portion of the project by the end of 2022, with the delivery of the affordable housing targeted by the end of 2023. A schedule presented by Kerley showed the first commercial component could deliver in the second half of 2023.

The first phase would also include an office building near the gateway to The River District. Crescent closed on the land for the gateway area, on Garrison Road, in late 2020.

Assistant City Manager Tracy Dodson estimated the public’s investment in infrastructure projects for The River District will total around $30 million. That includes road and water extensions to the site. The development schedule Kerley presented showed West Boulevard extensions are expected to be done in mid-2023. It shows the Dixie River Waterline for the project would be completed in the third quarter of 2022.

Council will consider approval of a road connection in the southern portion of Garrison for The River District on Oct. 11. The River District has been in the planning stages for six years. The site was rezoned in 2016 to allow the broad mix of uses. It was initially proposed by both Crescent and Lincoln Harris, but Kerley and Dodson said Monday that Crescent is the lead developer for the project. Dodson said Lincoln Harris is no longer a part of “the core development team.”

Council members in the meeting expressed hope that The River District will provide a new element to the city with its location along the Catawba River. “I think one of the common threads of great cities around the world is a really active waterfront, and Charlotte has not historically had that,” said council member Larken Egleston. “I hope this will be that. I’m very excited for it.”