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Around the Region Plus

  • Mecklenburg County proposing development fee increases in FY 2025 Budget - In partnership with the HBAGC we are initiating meetings with key staff at Mecklenburg County to discuss the potential impact of these proposed fee increases.  Here is the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) presentation that was provided to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners on April 23, 2024.
  • Gastonia Looking for Feedback on Micro-Transit Fares - The City of Gastonia will host a public hearing on a fare increase at its regular City Council meeting which begins at 6 p.m. on May 7 and will be held at Gastonia’s City Hall, located at 181 S. South Street, Gastonia.  Additional information may be found here.
  • Town of Waxhaw Proposed Land Reservation Text Amendment - The Town Board of Commissioners has introduced Text Amendment 14-2024 purportedly to address reserving future school sites but could have the impact of curbing growth in an already difficult building environment.

New Report: A Rebound in CRE Sentiment

The NAIOP CRE Sentiment Index for April 2024 is 52, a rebound from the September 2023 reading of 46, indicating that respondents expect conditions for commercial real estate to improve over the next 12 months. 

 

Key Findings:

  • Respondents have a positive outlook for every component that comprises the Index except for construction costs, which they expect to be higher next year. This marks a turnaround in sentiment for most CRE fundamentals, which was negative for almost every Index component in September.
     
  • Respondents are now much more optimistic about capital market conditions than they were in September. The outlook for the availability of debt, the availability of equity and first-year cap rates improved more than for other measures. This shift is likely due to an expectation that interest rates will fall over the next 12 months. In response to a question that is not used to calculate the Index, developers and building owners indicated they expect interest rates to be lower than they had predicted in September.
     
  • Respondents also expect demand for commercial real estate to improve slightly. Their outlook for occupancy rates and effective rents rose, with both measures now suggesting some improvement over the next year. Open-ended comments suggest that most respondents expect favorable demand for industrial, retail and multifamily, whereas office will likely continue to struggle.
      
  • Developers and building owners now expect their deal volume to grow slightly over the next year. This is an improvement from September, when they had projected a decline in activity. Their expectation of handling a higher dollar volume of new projects and acquisitions reflects an improving outlook for capital availability.
View Full Report

New Member Spotlight! Dan Melvin - LandDesign

Dan Melvin, PE, serves as a Principal at LandDesign, where he oversees a team of consulting civil engineers specializing in land development projects of varying scales and complexities. With extensive experience in Charlotte, Dan possesses an in-depth understanding of the region’s infrastructure and regulatory challenges, enabling him to devise practical solutions tailored to his clients’ needs.

Dan’s ability to cultivate strong relationships with clients and regulatory authorities is key in advocating effectively for projects within the local development community. His involvement in public-private partnerships has provided him with valuable insights into the development process, enhancing his approach to project management and problem-solving.

Outside of LandDesign, Dan serves as the President of the NAIOP Charlotte Chapter, where he works to support the interests of commercial real estate developers and owners. He also serves as a development representative on the Charlotte Water Advisory Committee, providing insights and guidance on water infrastructure issues that influence both current and future developments.

Dan holds a degree from Florida State University and resides in Charlotte with his wife, Laura, and two sons, John and Charles.

Charlotte City Council Limits Housing Options

Last night the Charlotte City Council voted to approve UDO text amendment 2024-043, effectively limiting the ability for builders to provide housing products to moderate income buyers.  We have reported regularly on this topic in recent weeks through other editions of our "2 for Tuesday."  This action has led to even greater uncertainty within the building community and will likely translate into higher housing prices, at least in the short term.  Staff is planning to file another measure that will serve as a substitute for the option that was widely utilized by the industry and effectively eliminated by Council.  This new text amendment will likely be filed on Thursday with a public hearing slated for mid-June and a Council vote on June 24th.  We are currently working with staff to ensure this is a viable tool and that it will assist our members in providing the housing types necessary to meet critical supply demands.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission to Consider UDO Text Amendment

Tonight at 5:30 pm, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission will take action on UDO text amendment 2024-043 aimed at curbing the use of Conservation Subdivisions for new development.  This action will be to either recommend approval or denial of the proposed amendment.  The meeting will be held in Room 267 of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC.  If you cannot attend in person, you can visit the City's YouTube page to follow the action.

Passage of the amendment will effectively eliminate the use of this provision and is one of three interrelated matters currently before the council:

  1.  Conservation Subdivision Amendment - will result in less density and is currently scheduled for a May 20th council vote.
  2.  Addressing the matter of Duplexes and Triplexes in existing neighborhoods - will result in less density, "Clean-up" Text Amendment 3 adds prescribed conditions to duplexes and triplexes in the N-1 zoning category (see page 15-2), the public hearing scheduled for May 20th.
  3.  The creation of a Compact Development category (to replace conservation subdivisions) - could allow higher density developments under certain circumstances, still conceptual.

We are encouraging Members of the Charlotte City Council to take action on these provisions simultaneously so they may better consider the big picture as it relates to housing affordability.  

North Carolina is the #6 state in U.S. for CRE development

North Carolina is the sixth highest-ranking state in the U.S. for overall contributions of commercial real estate to state GDP with $44.1 billion, $19.1 billion in direct spending, $16.7 billion in personal spending, and 312.1 million jobs supported in 2023 (the most recent data available).

  • Industrial (includes manufacturing): North Carolina ranks #4
  • Warehouse: North Carolina ranks #7
  • Retail: North Carolina ranks #7

The data is from “Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate, 2024 U.S. Edition” published annually by the NAIOP Research Foundation.

Nationally, the impact of new commercial real estate development in the U.S. continues to grow.

The combined economic contributions of new commercial building development and the operations of existing commercial buildings in 2023 resulted in direct expenditures of $913.1 billion and the following impacts on the U.S. economy:

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Sean McMullan is a NAIOP Research Foundation Visionary

Originally published on April 16, 2024, by NAIOP.

Charlotte member Sean McMullan has been selected as a NAIOP Research Foundation Visionary.

The Research Foundation established the Visionaries program in 2017 to connect outstanding rising industry professionals with Research Foundation Governors who are experienced, well-respected industry leaders. The 2024 cohort of Visionaries will be inducted at NAIOP’s National Forums Symposium, May 8-10, in Minneapolis.

Press Release

Welcome New Members

We are proud to introduce our new association members! The following is a list of individuals who have joined NAIOP Charlotte since January 1, 2024:

  • Chad Andersen, Terracon Consultants, Inc.
  • Annabella Borgese, Greystar Real Estate Partners
  • Allen Brown, Lightstone
  • Dustin Carter, MCI
  • Robert Combs, The Keith Corporation
  • Megan Fitzsimmons, Kimley-Horn
  • Michael Gossenreiter, Cox & Schepp Construction, Inc.
  • Molly Harris, Bennett & Pless
  • Lexi Hazen, CoxSchepp Construction LLC
  • Tom Headlee, Gaylor Electric
  • Sanders Howell, SUMMIT Engineering
  • Matt Hubert, Midwest Industrial Funds
  • Scott Huffman, Weisiger RESCO, LLC
  • Matt Hunter, Marsh Properties
  • Drew Hunter, MetCap Commercial
  • Julie Jackson, Gensler
  • Andrew Jen, UNC Charlotte
  • Jessica Kerr, Gilbane Building Company
  • Alaina Kiewit, St. John Properties
  • Taylor Kiker, Kimley-Horn
  • Jack Little, Dogwood Industrial Properties
  • Stewart Lucas, Holder Construction Company
  • Patrick Monroe, Wells + Associates
  • Anc Newman, Lockton
  • Nathalie Noisette, KoHomes
  • Paul Pennell, Urban Design Partners
  • Dorail Porter, Balfour Beatty
  • Jay Schaeffer, Flournoy Development Group
  • Matt Shepherd, Peach State Roofing
  • Linsley Truesdale, SunCap Property Group
  • Kwame Yeboah, Costello Real Estate & Investments

2024 Developing Leaders Mentorship Program Booking Open

2024 Developing Leaders Mentorship Program
Booking Now Open

The always popular DL Mentorship Program is back! This program is exclusively for Developing Leader members (ages 35 & under) and provides a special forum for personal and professional growth through one‐on‐one learning sessions with accomplished and experienced professionals in the CRE industry. Take advantage of this opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, guidance, and ideas willingly shared by the program mentors.

The specially designed Mentorship website allows each participating mentee to familiarize themselves with the program mentors and book 1‐hour sessions with them to discuss career topics important to the mentee. Meetings can take place between April through June.

NOTE: 2024 mentors are still being confirmed/added to the website & are in the process of updating their profiles.

Booking is first-come, first-served! The Mentorship Program provides a special forum exclusively for DLs to meet one-on-one with selected industry leaders. We have 20+ mentors for this year’s program, all with extensive CRE industry knowledge. Take advantage of this opportunity to make connections and benefit from their knowledge, guidance, and ideas.

Book Your Session

Charlotte City Council Committees Meet

All four standing committees of the Charlotte City Council met yesterday.  Here's a quick outline of what was covered with links to agendas and presentations.

Transportation, Planning, & Development

Planning Director Alyson Craig provided an update to the committee and referenced three text amendments that are currently working their way through the process:  

  • Conservation Residential Development Standards - This amendment would limit the future utility of Conservation Subdivisions.  If you are developing and building future subdivisions and hoping to maximize your density to provide an attainable or affordable product, you need to pay attention to this one.  A virtual information session has been scheduled for April 9th at 6:00 pm and you are strongly encouraged to participate.  The public hearing for this amendment is scheduled for April 15th with a vote to follow on May 20th.
  • Campus Zoning Districts - This amendment adds uses to several zoning districts and creates a new General Office District.
  • Clean Up Text Amendment #3 - This one addresses a number of the issues raised by REBIC members over the last year related to such items as "contiguous tree save area," the use of EX provisions, street maps/NCDOT conflicts, fencing materials, ADU flexibility, transparency requirements, buffers, and N-2 layout standards.
            Agenda - Planning Presentation, Mobility Presentation

Jobs & Economic Development

            Agenda - Hospitality Presentation

Budget, Governance, & Intergovernmental Relations

            Agenda - CLT Water Presentation

Housing, Safety, & Community

            Agenda - Safety Presentation

Another New Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Text Amendment Filed, More on the Way

New UDO Text Amendment

During last night's Charlotte City Council Business meeting, Planning Director Alyson Craig announced the filing of a new text amendment aimed at tightening rules for Conservation Developments.  The amendment will include the following:

  • Require an additional 15% tree save (green area) = 40% Total
  • Increase minimum project size to 5 acres
  • Increase minimum dimensions of open space
  • Increase standards for useable open space
  • Add additional perimeter buffer requirements
  • Require lots to front public streets or open space (not private streets or alleys)

The initial proposal (virtually identical to the one offered last night) was presented at the March 7th meeting of the UDO Advisory Committee where a more comprehensive presentation was provided.  As was earlier reported, this elicited a rather spirited discussion among committee members both through regular conversation as well as virtual chat.

This particular change appears to be on the fast track as the schedule is as follows:

  • March 28th UDO Advisory Committee
  • April 9th Planning Commission
  • April 30th Zoning Committee
  • May 20 Council Vote

We have submitted multiple comments on the above proposal and will reiterate those concerns during Thursday's UDO Advisory Committee meeting.   

Duplex/Triplex Issue

Two additional recommendations were also offered during last night's session:

#1 Prioritize New Housing Supply in Key Locations - Create a Compact Development Option for new residential subdivisions 2+ Acres     



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Western States Take Up Permit Reform

Originally published on March 20, 2024, by Toby Burke for NAIOP.

NAIOP members know that the procurement of a local permit is a fundamental and essential part of commercial real estate development in providing communities with properties for people to live, work and play. However, local permitting processes vary and too often become unnecessarily delayed. These variations and delays lead to uncertainties that affect the development’s completion, the financing structure, the retention of contractors, resources and equipment, and, ultimately, the cost for the owner, tenant and end-user.

Because of this, NAIOP chapters across the U.S. are using Georgia’s legislation as a template in advocating for reforms that bring predictability, consistency and transparency to the local permitting processes within their respective states. Key features of the state’s reforms include:

  • All local jurisdictions must publish the time frame for review, and the requirements for a permitting application to be deemed complete;
  • The fee charged for the permit must be related to the cost of approving a permit and not a revenue source for other government services and programs;
  • Jurisdictions must notify an applicant within five days of submitting an application if it is deemed complete, and then make a decision within 30 days;
  • If a jurisdiction is unable to make a decision in 30 days, the applicant may seek approval from a certified third party, such as a licensed architect or engineer (at the applicant’s expense) with half the local fee redirected to the third-party reviewer; and
  • Inspections must be performed within two days of the developer’s request. Similar to the permitting process, the developer may seek third-party approval if the local governing entity is unable.
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New Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Text Amendment Filed, More on the Way

New UDO Text Amendment

Last Monday, March 5th, planning staff filed a new text amendment they refer to as a "clean-up" amendment to "provide greater clarity" for users.  Also included are updated definitions, use permissions and prescribed conditions, revised names, and changes to standards.  This amendment incorporates some, but not all of the recommendations suggested through the UDO Change Request Form process REBIC developed last July.  City staff plans to hold informational sessions in April with a hearing anticipated in May and a vote in June.   We'll provide more details on the proposed amendment in next week's edition.          

Changes to Conservation Subdivisions Discussed

During last week's Transportation, Planning, & Development Committee, staff provided a presentation to the committee that mentioned the text amendment referenced above but also described a new proposal aimed at tightening rules for Conservation Developments.  The suggested changes included the following:
  • Require an additional 15% tree save (green area) = 40%
  • Open space cannot be on individual lots
  • Increased minimum dimensions of open space
  • Increased standards for useable open space
  • Add additional perimeter buffer (landscape yard) requirements
  • Require lots to front public streets or open spaces (not private streets or alleys)

This proposal was introduced at Thursday's UDO Advisory Committee meeting where a more comprehensive presentation was provided.  This elicited a rather spirited discussion among committee members both through regular conversation as well as virtual chat.  While a new amendment was slated for introduction this week, it appears that has been pushed back to allow for additional input.     

Duplex/Triplex Issue

During the two meetings before last Thursday's session, the UDO Advisory Committee received presentations on potential changes related to parking and driveway standards for duplexes and triplexes on infill lots as well as the potential for changes in regulations for larger lot subdivisions.  Those meetings occurred on February 15th and February 22nd but no formal proposals have yet been forthcoming. 

Tree Manual Revisions

Comments on the proposed Tree Manual revisions are being accepted through the end of today, March 12th.  Please take a look and submit any recommendations to [email protected]

Area Planning Process

A presentation was also provided to committee members on the Community Area Planning process during last week's Transportation, Planning, & Development Committee.  A new Policy Map was just released a little while ago.  Staff still believes it can complete its work and be ready to request a council vote on the final product by early next year.

[Watch] How CRE Benefits the U.S. Economy

Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate

This annual study published by the NAIOP Research Foundation — Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate — measures the contribution to GDP, salaries and wages generated, and jobs supported by the development and operations of commercial real estate in the U.S. 

Watch Video

Charlotte City Council Restores Penalties for Inappropriate Public Acts

Last month the Charlotte City Council voted 7-3 to reimpose penalties for individuals conducting certain inappropriate acts in public.  Opponents attempted to couch the changes as an attack on the homeless community while supporters saw them as necessary for public safety for residents and visitors to Uptown businesses.  The final version that was adopted included six of the initial eight ordinances and eliminated those dealing with unauthorized people in parking lots and loitering to engage in drug-related activity due to constitutional concerns raised by the City Attorney.


Charlotte City Council Agenda - February 12, 2024
Proposed Ordinance (strikethrough version)
Proposed Ordinance (clean version)

Video of Public Comments (1:44:40)
Video of Council Deliberations (3:10:50)

Charlotte Urban Forestry's Proposed Tree Manual Revisions Released

Charlotte's Urban Forestry Department has just published proposed changes to the Charlotte Tree Manual.  Some of these updates, which provide additional flexibility for builders and developers are targeted for review and will likely make their way into the regulatory framework already established under the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  As these updates were just introduced yesterday, we are still in the process of completing our analysis.  Stay tuned for updates! 

Draft Charlotte Tree Manual Proposal
Submit Comments on Draft Tree Manual
(Now until March 12, 2024)

Primary Election Day is Tomorrow. Please. VOTE.

Election polling locations in all counties open tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th at 6:30 am and close at 7:30 pm.  Following the end of Early Voting, statewide turnout stood at just over a dismal 9%.  Tomorrow you can use your power and make a difference! 

Given all the excuses for not voting, the act of saying, "My vote won't count" is the worst.  Because you go from assuming your voice won't be heard to ENSURING it NEVER will.  Please review our Primary Election Voter Guide and our Leadership Guide, then head out to the polls and vote!
  Additional voter information for each county can be found below:

Mecklenburg County Board of Elections
Iredell County Board of Elections
Cabarrus County Board of Elections
Gaston County Board of Elections
Union County Board of Elections

Call to Action Success – City Council Vote on Public Safety

Charlotte City Council voted 7-3 in favor of reinstating local ordinances linked to disorderly conduct.  Thank you to CRCBR members who sent emails to encourage Council Members to vote in favor – your voice was heard.  The reinstatement of these ordinances is not only imperative for the safety and welfare of our families, employees, customers, and community members but also vital for sustaining the liveliness and prosperity of our city. As representatives of the business community, we stand together in support of measures that foster a secure and inclusive environment for all.

Early Voting Begins Thursday!

The 2024 Primary Election is scheduled for March 5th, but early voting begins this Thursday, February 15th.  See below for information on where and when to vote along with additional resources from each county's Board of Elections.  Don't forget to bring your ID!

Mecklenburg County Voting Sites - Mecklenburg County Board of Elections

Iredell County Voting Sites - Iredell County Board of Elections

Cabarrus County Voting Sites - Cabarrus County Board of Elections

Gaston County Voting Sites - Gaston County Board of Elections

Union County Voting Sites - Union County Board of Elections

Charlotte City Council Committees Discuss Density, Adaptive Reuse Incentives

Yesterday was "First Monday," the day when Charlotte City Council holds its four regular committee meetings.  After all the discussions, they gather together in the evening to give the Council a full review and discuss any other pertinent matters.  Here are some highlights:

Transportation, Planning, & Development
 
Planning Director Alyson Craig provided a presentation containing a staff recommendation in response to a referral made by the City Council earlier last year. It's important to note that the Council adopted the 2040 Comprehensive Plan in 2021 which called for broader allowance of higher-density dwellings throughout the city.  The adoption of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) followed in 2022 and permitted the development of duplexes and triplexes in single-family neighborhoods.  After complaints from some neighborhood groups, who seem to have been deemed by the leadership as having the most influence on a plan already debated by experts, the Council directed staff to develop proposals aimed at slowing and potentially repealing these provisions.  Further discussions will take place at the next two UDO Advisory Committee meetings to be held next week and the week after.

Jobs & Economic Development

Economic Development Director Tracy Dodson provided a presentation on a potential pilot project involving the proposed conversion of one or more buildings in Uptown.  Staff will have additional discussions and come back to the Council with a menu of incentive options that may include tax increment financing, tax increment grants, and other similar related tools.