Developers disclose plans for LangTree Lake Norman

MOORESVILLE – At LangTree Lake Norman – recently rechristened from Langtree at the Lake – newly completed apartment buildings rise around pedestrians like a miniature and mostly silent city.  

Within the apartment clubhouse, walls are painted a deep gray. Through the window, the expansive outdoor pool offers a view of Lake Norman. Everything about the sleek armchairs and futuristic lemon-yellow barstools says modern elegance.

And that's exactly the look RL West Developers Barry Rigby and Steve Welly are banking on.

A look inside the clubhouse at LangTree Lake Norman.

(Lauren Odomirok / Herald Weekly photo) 

The sprawling $1 billion complex surrounding Exit 31 boasts 300 acres. Its first phase includes 300 luxury apartments and 52,000-square-feet of retail space built on 15 acres south of Langtree Road and west of Interstate 77.

"Charlotte is a burgeoning city. From a national scope, it's much easier to see," Rigby said. "To own and control a virgin interchange, right on the outskirts of that, on the lake, with two national headquarters on the doorstep – Lowe's and Ingersoll Rand – that's rare to be creating an absolute new market."

Apartment sizes range from the one-bedroom, 926-square-foot "Cobalt" to the 1,340-square foot, three-bedoom "Sundancer." 

About half of the development's apartments are move-in ready, with the rest to follow by the end of February, Rigby said. He anticipates all the shops and restaurants of the first phase, which are located on the ground level of apartment buildings, to be operational by June 1. Those include Bacchus Wine and Tapas, Beth & Company Salon and Day Spa, Lipp Boutique and Yogurt City. 

Just four of 22 retail spaces remain in limbo at this point, but Rigby said conversations are being finalized with interested parties.

"We're working with tenants that everyone around here would want to have," he said. "You have to be careful as a developer because you have to be aware of what the market wants (the space) to be. We've learned the market wants it to be more of an entertainment component with a health-conscious aspect of it, as well." 

The first quadrant – what drivers look at while cruising south on I-77 – comes in at 58 acres. Welly and Rigby anticipate that parcel will be finished within 6 1/2 years.

The second phase of that quadrant will include 70,000 square feet of medical office, retail and general office space, Welly said. The duo hopes to have construction underway by late spring and open that portion in spring 2015.

For the third and final phase of the quadrant, a $90 million, 12-story DoubleTree by Hilton hotel will steal the show, along with a convention center housed inside.

LangTree Lake Norman apartments under construction.

(Lauren Odomirok / Herald Weekly photo) 

The structure will hold 227 guest rooms, a rooftop bar and pool and 37 condominiums, as well as an assortment of retail space. The convention center – estimated to be 20,000 square feet – will offer a banquet room to hold at least 500 people for corporate events. 

Groundbreaking on the hotel should begin this summer and be complete by spring 2016.

When all's said and done, the 58 initial acres will boast a 3 1/2-acre pond, outdoor amphitheater, green space with walking trails and a dog park.

"Around the pond, there will be two-story bars and restaurants," Welly said. "If you can picture this, it's along a boardwalk, overlooking a two-tiered retention pond with a beautiful waterfall."

Entertainment options such as live music venues, a comedy club, a boutique, and an upscale movie theater are all priorities for the "live, work, play" village.

"We're looking at stuff that just doesn't exist around here that people have an appetite for," Welly said.

A boardwalk is already built for visitors to stroll along and take in water views.

Rigby said Mooresville's town officials have been very supportive of creating boat docking space at LangTree, too. But deals need to be worked out with Duke Energy before that's a possibility.

Blue waves of another sort – at the complex's state-of-the-art aquatic center – will also be part of the first quadrant.

"We'd love retailers that fit into its vision of health and fitness nearby, like a Speedo store or one for the U.S. National Whitewater Center," Welly said.

The entire project – all 300 acres wrapping around Exit 31 – has a ballpark completion date of the end of 2020, if Welly had to guess.

"It is challenging. You get a lot of people who say, 'You said this' or 'You said that' about the timing," Rigby said. "That lacks a little bit of understanding about the massiveness that all this takes.