Controversial ‘Luminous’ project approved in Davidson

The Beaty Street project would be known as Luminous

July 12. By Dave Vieser. Despite fierce opposition from a wide range of residents, the Davidson Town Board approved the sale of 19 acres of town-owned land along Beaty Street to Davidson Development Partners Tuesday evening. The developer, who is not registered with the NC Secretary of State, plans to build a mixed-use development called Luminous on the site. It will include residences, a hotel, shops and restaurants, as well as a seven acre park.

The vote was 3-2 in favor of the sale, with Commissioners Jim Fuller and Beth Cashion opposed. “The people of this town have spoken and I vote no,” Fuller said. Prior to his vote, Fuller had unsuccessfully tried to get the board to table the measure indefinitely.

However a majority of the board agreed to move the project forward. “This is the best plan we are going to get for this property,” said Commissioner Stacey Anderson. Commissioner Rodney Graham said Davidson is a growing town “we have to develop” to accommodate that growth, and voted with the majority.

Packed house at Town Hall. Photo by Marco Wertheimer

Opponents of the deal said the vacant property was sold to the town in 1985 by the Clontz family with the understanding that it would be used for a park and recreational purposes.

Feelings have grown so strong in the quaint college town that a group, named Save Davidson, was formed to oppose several development projects under consideration, including the Beaty Project. Denise Beall, founder of the group, said she has support from the business community in Davidson. Mayoral candidate Rusty Knox, a well-known Realtor and son of the late Mayor Russell Knox, is also opposed to the project. He said  the request for proposal process was flawed as well.

A protest against the project was held prior to the meeting, with hundreds of residents circling Town Hall—as well as TV news from Charlotte—with signs asking the board to reject the proposal.

One protester, Jeff Davis, said that, by approving the sale, the town demonstrates a breach of trust with citizens.

The proposal by Davidson Development Partners, which had been modified several times at the town board’s request, calls for a purchase of the wooded property for $1.65 million.

Thereafter, the developer agrees to build a seven acre public park on the site, up from 6.5 acres in the original proposal. The development would have also included retail,132 condominiums, a maximum 135 room hotel, 11 single-family houses, 21 townhouses and the Davidson Learning Center, a facility for community-wide educational programs. A total of 12.5 percent in affordable housing units was also pledged.

With the approval, town officials will now negotiate a final agreement with Davidson Development Partners. That agreement will have to come back for another vote by the town board. At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners also agreed to add two citizens to the team which develops that final agreement.



2 Responses to “Controversial ‘Luminous’ project approved in Davidson”

  1. Sad and disturbing that Davidson commissioners disregarded a signed contract between the Town and the original seller that said the land was to be used as a park, playground or other recreational purposes. Sad and disturbing that the Davidson commissioners did not listen to the strong opposition voiced by citizens. Sad and disturbing that the Davidson commissioners disregarded a UNCC study that projected this region to be 98% built out by 2030 and there will be no more open space. They also ignored recommendations by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation commissioners that any municipality that has open space should hang on to it. Rodney Graham, Brian Jenest and Stacey Anderson refused to listen to citizens and voted to pave paradise. Sad.

    Posted by Leah Chester-Davis | July 12, 2017, 12:25 pm
  2. Davidson needs new leadership.

    Posted by John B. | July 12, 2017, 2:35 pm

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