MOORESVILLE – The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, 70 percent of Earth’s roughly 9 billion people will live in cities.
One such sprawling, mini-metropolis will be Langtree at the Lake, a development off Interstate 77’s Exit 31.
The 293-acre complex, which may cost around $1 billion by the project’s end, is split between four quadrants on both sides of I-77. Right now, 12 acres in one 58-acre parcel off Alcove Road are under construction.
Langtree’s master architect, Stephen Overcash of Charlotte’s Overcash Demmitt Architects, sought a way to demonstrate how Langree will symbolize the future of luxury and sustainability.
To that end, he’s designed the development’s main hotel, which will cost roughly $90 million, and dubbed it the EthoSphere.
Steve Welly, president of RL West, which will co-own the EthoSphere with Pharos Hospitality of Charlotte, said the hotel’s chain will be announced within the next two to four weeks.
He added that it will have roughly 215 guest rooms and be 12 stories tall, in part to avoid the process of having extra floors approved by the town board of commissioners.
He hopes to break ground on the hotel late this summer and have its grand opening in April 2015.
“The hotel will have a lake, marina-type theme,” Overcash said. “It’ll be a very serene experience; there won’t be a lot of extra, bright colors.”
According the Overcash Demmitt’s website, an EthoSphere vertically integrates “a mix of uses in an urban or new urban area, minimizing its environmental impact, and reflecting the social, philanthropic and moral ideologies of its community.”
Overcash coined the term and created 13 tenets that define an EthoSphere, including LEED-certification and a flexible design scheme.
Part of what will make the brick-and-stone EthoSphere versatile, according to Overcash, is that it’ll be a mixed-use building with interchangeable floors, meaning its hotel rooms, office spaces and shops can switch roles over time.
Overcash said column placements within the design scheme are flexible, making it easier to morph a set of cubicles into a hotel suite.
“It’s trying to be designed so that it won’t be torn down in 35 years, so that it can change with the times.”
Welly said the EthoSphere’s first floor will include boutique shops. The second and third floors will house offices, while the fourth through ninth floors will be home away from home for hotel guests. Floors 10 to 12 will contain residential condo space, complete with a rooftop pool and bar.
Welly said the there’s been a “fair amount of interest” in the hotel’s office space, but he can’t announce tenets yet.
Adam Zembruski is president of Pharos, the company that will run the hotel’s daily operations. Zembruski said the hotel will include a full-service restaurant, room service, an outdoor pool for guests, a concierge desk, suites, a rooftop bar, 20,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center and a major business center for those who need to work on the go.
“Most of the guest rooms are going to have lake views, which we’re excited about,” he said.
Welly added that in the past, Lowe’s employees commuted to Charlotte’s Ballantyne for meetings and are excited by the EthoSphere’s meeting spaces. Overcash said the spaces will accommodate anywhere from 12 people for a board meeting to 800 people in a banquet hall.
“For people that work at Lowes, we’d like to get some sort of trolley between Lowes and our campus,” Welly said.
Welly and Overcash both said an “edgy” bowling alley might be added to the mix as part of this connected space. It could include a live music venue, nightclub element, and perhaps a sushi restaurant.
Welly anticipates it’ll take between five and eight years to complete his entire vision, but he knows there will be walking trails around the whole four miles of lakefront property for the public to enjoy.
Rick Howard, the original developer of Langtree at the Lake, said that’s what it’s all about.
“My whole original vision was how can we open up the majority of this property, if not all of it, to the public?” he said.