Crosland on top, but developments far from reality

by Andrew Batten

The map above shows the proposed sites of ReVenture Park and Crosland’s Riverwalk and Whitewater developments.

CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte-based real estate firm Crosland was recently named a top company in the Grant Thornton North Carolina 100.

The Grant Thornton North Carolina 100 is an annual ranking of the largest privately held companies in the state. The publication ranked Crosland as 38th out of 100 companies.

But the Charlotte-area housing market hasn’t been so kind.

The company has had plans to build several new developments in the Mountain Island area, including Riverside, the mixed-use development along banks of the Catawba River, and Whitewater, a housing subdivision near the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Those developments have been put on hold since the economic downturn.

And with the latest news from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, which showed home sales declining while home prices increased, the near future of any Crosland development in the Mountain Island area seems about as frigid as the weather.

In the greater Charlotte area, the number of home closings for November 2010 was 1,487, down 25.7 percent compared to November 2009 when closings totaled 2,000.  Compared to October of this year, closings in November decreased 12.3 percent.

The average sales price last month, $215,239, was up 10.2 percent over November 2009, $195,244.

New residential listings in November 2010 totaled 3,078, and those homes are sitting on the market longer, more than 150 days on average.

Julianne McCollum, vice president of marketing for Crosland, said that the market has delayed their plans even further.

“I think right now we are going to continue to monitor demand,” McCollum said. “It’s really fallen off in the last year or two and has delayed our plans which is disappointing.”

In March 2004, Crosland had purchased more than 150 acres along Belmeade Drive, from the Clariant Corporation for 2.4 million. At the time Bill Daleure, then president of Crosland, said their plan to build 2,300 single-family homes in the development dubbed Whitewater was company’s biggest project in Charlotte.

The community was to have homes ranging in price from $150,000 to more than $400,000, and Crosland hoped the first homes would be available in early 2006.

Up the road from the proposed Whitewater development, near Mount Holly Road and Belmeade Drive, the company planned another ambitious project, Riverwalk, which would include restaurants and shops and possibly even riverside boardwalks.

When Crosland bought the property, the nearly defunct Clariant chemical plant and its Superfund status due to groundwater pollution, had little bearing on their decision to purchase the land.

“There are superfund sites all over the county,” Daleure said at the time, “and this one does not affect our site. Because you get federal dollars to clean up the site, there is a very tight box drawn around the site.”

But since then, another player has joined the mix. Foresite Development now has plans to turn the Clarient site into what it terms a “green” industrial park called ReVenture Park, that will include a 20 megawatt biomass power plant, a solar field and a bio diesel production company.

All of it just a mile away from what Crosland still hopes will be a 2,000 plus home community.

“I talked to Bill (Daleure) before he left and he was not at all concerned about ReVenture,” McCollum said. “Our stance is that if it’s executed well, it’s either neutral or positive in that it could establish itself as an eco-node.”

Crosland is continuing to monitor Foresite’s plans and is especially interested in how the company will mitigate traffic through the area.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply