A Charlotte multifamily development firm recently opened its fourth branded community in the Queen City, with plans to open similar projects both locally and out of market.
Terwilliger Pappas opened Solis Ballantyne, near the intersection of North Community House and Bryant Farms roads, two weeks ago, adding it to its growing list of Solis properties in the Charlotte market. Its other projects here include Solis Dilworth and Solis Waverly, which opened this spring, and Solis Sharon Square, which opened last year in SouthPark.
Under construction now are two other developments — Solis Southline, a 300-unit project directly on the Lynx Blue Line in South End, and Solis Berewick, adjacent to the Charlotte Premium Outlets in southwest Charlotte.
Once all of its active Queen City projects deliver, Terwilliger Pappas will have more than 900 units across six properties in different submarkets. Terwilliger Pappas has a number of Solis projects underway in other Southeastern markets, too — in Raleigh, Durham, Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn.
Work is still wrapping up on Solis Ballantyne — 131 out of 194 units have delivered, with the rest to be ready for occupancy in mid-December — but the project’s process of planning, rezoning, acquiring land and construction is largely finished. Terwilliger Pappas won rezoning for the 10-acre site in early 2015 and closed on its purchase of 7.8 acres last summer for $3.4 million. Grocer Harris Teeter and an affiliate of The Harris Land Co. owned the site previously.
Units range from 600 to 1,500 square feet, with studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Like many upscale multifamily projects coming online, the community is packed with amenities — Solis Ballantyne includes an outdoor pavilion with a pool, firepit and grilling areas; a 1,500-square-foot fitness facility; a yoga room; pet-grooming facility; dog park; indoor mailroom with package-concierge technology; rentable indoor storage units and garages on site; and interior and exterior gathering spaces.
The project contains nearly 200 units, contained in one, three-story building.
“Based on the size of the site, we knew it was going to be a smaller project,” said Jeff Smith, development partner at Terwilliger Pappas. “We wanted to give everything an intimate … boutique hotel feel to it.”
Smith said across all of its projects, Terwilliger Pappas takes design cues from the hospitality sector when planning interior and exterior common areas. The firm works with a number of architects but Atlanta-based Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio designed the buildings and interiors at Solis Ballantyne and also designed Solis Dilworth.
“We want the design to fit the site,” Smith said. “Our Waverly project has a very Southern architectural feel to it. This one has a craftsman feel to it, but it fits within Ballantyne.”
As with every other real estate project, location is key for the Terwilliger Pappas team before it embarks on a project.
“We definitely look for the best submarkets within Charlotte, but the site has to be great, too,” Smith said. “It has to be walkable. It has to be near retail and other amenities. (At Solis Ballantyne), although it’s not walkable to a retail center, it’s near running trails, it’s within five minutes of the corporate park, it’s accessible to 485 … I think we’re continuing to look at the best submarkets for projects, but they have to be the best sites for us to pursue them.”
According to Smith, Terwilliger Pappas is in the early stages of planning two or three more Solis projects in the Queen City, with a specific interest in suburban projects.
And despite the huge volume of apartments coming to Charlotte — tens of thousands have been proposed, approved or are under construction across the city— Smith feels confident that demand will remain high.
“It’s still strong, just because of the number of people that are still moving to Charlotte,” he said. “(We) may not experience the same rate of growth but I think it will continue to be strong, particularly for the best sites, because people want to live … in urban (and) walkable locations. I see it continuing in the next few years.”
A wide gamut of age demographics are renting at Solis properties, he added, with downsizing baby boomers leasing units at a comparable rate as millennials, who are moving to the Queen City in droves.
Smith said one of the biggest challenges as an apartment developer is staying on top of trends, particularly in regards to technology.
“You always have to be on top of what people want,” he said. “I think technology is constantly changing, so we’re trying to stay on top of that — whether it’s having the package concierge, whether it’s making sure that we have Wi-Fi and car-charging stations. That’s going to continue to be important and no one can really predict five years down the road in terms of technology” trends.