For years, the Monroe Road corridor had been overlooked.
A decade ago, the city of Charlotte launched a project to revitalize the area around Independence Boulevard and Monroe Road, starting by soliciting some community feedback about what they thought about it.
The phrases that came back were striking: Blighted retail. Lack of planning. Run-down apartments. Dangerous roads.
It’s still a work in progress — but today, there’s a new energy around Monroe Road. Cranes are out in force, and hundreds of new people are calling the area home.
At the center of it all: the Oakhurst Common Market.
Yes, development in this area had already begun before May 2017, when Common Market opened its third location in a strip mall on Monroe Road.
But you could consider it a tipping point. In the year since the Common Market Oakhurst opened, there’s been a boom in activity in the southeastern corner of Oakhurst. All of it is within a short walk of the neighborhood hangout.
One mile south, Selwyn Property Group has recently broken ground on a massive commercial center to be anchored by an Aldi grocery store. Just past that, Meridian Place is set to start on its second phase of development.
Now there’s a new development moving dirt: Oakhurst on Monroe.
In the works since at least 2010, Oakhurst on Monroe is at the intersection of Monroe Road and Chippendale Avenue, right across the street from the Oakhurst STEAM Academy and kitty-corner from the Common Market.
To a stretch of road that’s dominated by cars, Oakhurst on Monroe will begin to bring more walkability. The site plans show several patios and pedestrian improvements — including a plaza that will host live music during warm months.
It also promises to bring a yoga studio, bakery, sandwich shop, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, and beer and wine store to an area that’s currently underserved despite the booming real estate market around it.
Retail demand has been strong, says Jonathan Beall of RED Partners, who is leading the leasing for the project. But there is still space for two more restaurants in end-cap spots.
They’re also in negotiations with a hot yoga studio and Beall says to expect a spot to sip beer and coffee. There will also be a new State Employee’s Credit Union branch here.
“Although Oakhurst has really come into its own from a residential standpoint there is a void of new commercial development in the area,” Beall said. “Oakhurst on Monroe will fill that void.”
Construction is by Doerre Construction and began during the last week of July. The buildings should be delivered by January 2019. The developer is David Krug & Associates and RED Partners.
Completing the “live, work, play” mantra: A new townhouse community from Ryan Townhomes.
Called the Townes of Oakhurst, the project includes 120 homes that range from the upper $270,000s to the mid-$320,000s. About half have been sold so far.
The two- and three-story homes all have two-car garages. But part of the draw undoubtedly will be to leave those cars at home and walk instead.
A true community will take more work.
The renewed investment is certainly promising for Monroe Road. But more still be required to turn it into the community its leaders — known as the Monroe Road Advocates — want it to be.
Even amid Charlotte’s apartment boom, there’s still a significant lack of rentals along this road. Affordable housing has in several places been torn down near here.
Neighborhood leaders are also pushing for more to make Monroe Road nicer to walk along, including bike lanes and improved sidewalks.
They’re already working on the plans. Chances are their meetings happen at Common Market.