Real Estate

Stopped: Davidson terminates ‘Luminous’ project

Sept. 29. Officials in Davidson have terminated the Luminous project, the controversial plan to develop 19 acres of town-owned land. Town officials and the developer were unable to agree to contract terms.

The board of commissioners had approved plans to enter negotiations for the $1.65 million sale of wooded land near Main and Beatty streets to a developer who planned a mix of housing, shops, restaurants, a public park and a hotel.

An independent property appraisal commissioned by Save Davidson, citizen group, later came in much higher, at $4.6 million. The appraisal underscored the already shaky status of the deal.

“This current board of commissioners will not pursue development of this land, but options could be considered for the property going forward,” Davidson Mayor John Woods said in a statement.

Save Davidson fought the proposed development for months, citing numerous concerns with how the town conducted business without sufficient citizen input.

Davidson Development Partners hoped to build 138 residential units, a 135-room hotel, 28,000 square-feet of retail space and a seven acre-park.

The potential annual tax revenue to the town would have been about $350,000, according to the town web site.

But Save Davidson founding members Denise Beall said the group fought “Luminous” because the mixed-use, high-density plan was in direct opposition to the intent of now deceased landowner Venie Clontz who sold the property to the town 30 years ago for use as a park.

Beall, who lives behind Beaty Street, said current town officials were not transparent during the development process, especially when town officials denied the existence of documents stating Clontz wanted the property to be used for recreational purposes.

A sale contract and correspondence regarding the sale did turn up after an open records request, Beall said.

“We were basically steamrolled by our town elected officials on the issue,” said Beall.

Although the “Luminous” plan included a seven-acre park, Beall said the use of the park would primarily be for hotel guests and not Davidson residents.

What’s more is that two of the seven acres of the proposed park includes a pond and four of the seven acres include a deep gully watershed that cannot be built upon, Beall said.

The town said the Beaty Street property was not deed restricted to only allow a park.

The town appraisal also low-balled the value of the property.

On Aug 24, the group released an appraisal from a firm it hired to obtain an outside opinion on the Beaty Street property’s valuation.

Valbridge Property Advisors appraised the property at $4.6 million, more than double the town of Davidson’s appraisal of $1.9 million, according to the citizen group.

The $1.9 million town appraisal, released in July 2017 by T.B. Harris & Associates, was an updated valuation from the same firm’s $1.6 million appraisal originally conducted in spring 2016.

Save Davidson members said the private developer could have soldl a portion of the land for a hotel at at much higher price.

Save Davidson is also gearing up to fight several other proposed developments that could bring more cars to the town’s roads and put a strain on infrastructure, including the proposed construction of a four-story, 115-room hotel with plaza and retail space to be built on two acres at Griffith Street and Davidson Gateway.


2 Responses to “Stopped: Davidson terminates ‘Luminous’ project”

  1. CONGRATULATIONS Save Davidson on a job well done 👍

    Posted by Lynn Fezza | September 30, 2017, 10:11 pm
  2. Another lose for Davidson by a small minority. Holding onto the past will make us irrelevant in the future!

    Posted by Dave Carson | October 3, 2017, 4:52 pm

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