Developer wants to build 80-unit apartment complex

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — A developer wants to build an 80-unit apartment complex next to Salisbury Village apartments, behind Bank of North Carolina on West Jake Alexander Boulevard.
Like Westgate Commons planned near the new Aldi shopping center, Sterling Trace apartments would be financed with competitive tax credits through the N.C. Housing Finance Agency and leased to families with limited incomes.
The Salisbury Planning Board on Tuesday recommended approval to City Council, which must give the final nod.
While the six-acre parcel near the Food Lion shopping center is already zoned for apartments, the developer requested a zoning change to allow a campus-style complex, similar to Westgate. Rather than facing a public street, five apartment buildings would face each other and interior roads.
The complex would have entrances on Castlewood Drive, Jake Alexander Boulevard and Mooresville Road and be connected to the Food Lion shopping center by a sidewalk but not a street.
The project would offer private housing to working people who can’t afford more expensive homes, said Salisbury attorney Jeremy Carter, who represents developer Dustin Mills of Greenville, N.C.
“It’s an innovative design, different from what we’ve seen in traditional Salisbury growth,” Carter said.
The site plan includes numerous open, green spaces. Sidewalks wind throughout the complex and will extend the length of the property. Buildings will stand two and three stories tall.
Calling the project a “major step in the right direction,” Carter said the abundance of sidewalks in the complex will increase pedestrian safety in the Jake Alexander Boulevard corridor.
Karen Young, who lives in the Castlewood condominiums next door to the proposed apartments, said she approves of the design and sidewalks but is concerned about people cutting through her development.
“We’re getting squeezed,” Young said.
Salisbury Village has yet to comply with a promised landscape buffer, and pedestrians regularly trespass and litter on her property, she said.
“Developers can say anything, but the city has to enforce those restrictions or qualifications put on them,” Young said.
City Planner Preston Mitchell assured Young and other residents the city will hold the developer to standards if City Council approves the complex.
Mark Lewis, president of nearby Bank of North Carolina, praised the complex design.
CommunityOne Bank owns the property, which was originally slated in 2004 for development as part of the Salisbury Village Center concept by Yates Development, Mitchell said. The developer lost the property in the recession, Lewis said.
“We are very excited to see something taking place there, and something that’s going to be so beautiful,” he said.
If the developer wins City Council approval and tax credits, construction could start in 2013.
Even if he doesn’t win the financing, Mills said he would pursue another source of funding.
“We have spent a good deal of money on this project,” he said. “Our intent would be to make this become a reality.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.