The Dilworth Walk
RED Partners Charlotte, North Carolina Architecture Interior Design
The Right Balance As with many new urban developments, Dilworth Walk had to balance being a modern housing and retail development while honoring the aesthetic look of a historic neighborhood. Dilworth, one of Charlotteâ€™s oldest communities, consists mostly of single-family homes, and the challenge for GS&Pâ€™s design team was finding a solution pleasing to both the new residents and the existing neighborhood association review committee. S HOW C A S E T WO 91
The project includes one- and two-bedroom condominiums ranging from 680 to 1,200 square feet. Realtors suggested neutral colors and classic finishes to appeal to local home buyersâ€™ tastes.
Scott Wilson, AIA
Scott Wilson, AIA
Kristie Nicoloff, IIDA / David “Woody” Jones, AIA
WOO D Y J O N E S , B E N C OHE Y, KRI S T IE N I C OLO F F
The client wanted the new design to blend in with the historical area. What kinds of challenges did you encounter at the start?
Three houses on the site had been demolished to make room for the new structure. There was also a mixeduse building close by that did not blend well with the existing environment and had not been successful, and neighbors were skeptical of the new plans. The area was very restricted in terms of what they would allow, so it was really up to us to find a way to make them happy. The dwelling had to fit into their neighborhood so everybody would be happy with it. It was a little bit of a challenge to do that. Woody:
What were some of the site issues you had to work through?
The area had a lot of 1920s and ’30s bungalows, groves of trees, and sidewalks, and most of the area has been very well renovated. It’s one of the more sought after neighborhoods. It’s right outside the downtown area, but you feel like you’re in the suburbs with a lot of parks and sidewalks. We had great input from the realtors we were working with who were able to tell us what sells and what people look for in this area. We took all our cues from them and incorporated their input into the interior and exterior to make sure that we could blend with the community. Kristie:
Describe the site location.
one of the more sought after neighborhoods
Ben: The three houses they tore down had been vacant. They weren’t even suitable for an office building, so they were pretty unsightly. There is a one-way street on one side and a major thoroughfare on the other side.
The road splits, and where it splits to a one-way street, the project is right in the middle of it. It’s a pretty neat little piece of land that everybody passes. Kristie:
Woody: Detail was the key, and we chose materials that would fit with other buildings. For instance, the brick looked like a residential brick. There were three residential levels plus a parking deck level. So, we placed brick walk-ups along the street to give it the appearance of an older neighborhood.
We also added a couple of water fountains on the front and side of the building to fit the look of the building to the surroundings.
Some of the buildings are set back, because of the green space across the whole front of our building.
Kristie: We were just going in to restore some beauty that had been lost through age and neglect, and now it’s become a nice focal point for that area considering there are a couple
After you’d developed a plan to address the challenges, what elements did you incorporate in your design to make it blend with the community?
We didn’t have a whole lot of push back. We had some that weren’t going to budge either way, but people were fairly receptive from the start. Instead of building a really large structure, we kept it to scale, which was acceptable to the neighborhood.
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Woody: There were a number of problems we had to deal with. It was a very tight site, so to meet the client’s requirements, we maxed out every inch. There were also easement issues and power lines that were an eyesore, but, we couldn’t change them because it was the main power line. The building had covered parking on the grade level and some drainage issues. We even had to relocate a four- or six-foot diameter storm drain that was part of the sewer system that ran perpendicular through the property, so we were challenged just about every step.
Did community opinion change as the building progressed?
The first-floor plan showing a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. A two-bedroom detail highlights the concept for upgraded materials.
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of other buildings around there that had been torn down and left as parking lots. What were some of the design features of the units that enabled you to blend the new with an older established area?
sold out... before it even went on the market
We kept everything on the neutral side and took a lot of cues from the realtors who had suggestions and ideas of what they wanted included in the mortgage packages. We created a basic unit, and then upgrades. Essentially, the units were neutral with good classic finishes. They have porcelain tubs, sinks, tile, and hardwoods. In fact, the standard package was so nice the majority of buyers didn’t feel the need to purchase upgrades, which was a big value point. We also used a lot of the materials the realtors requested since they know what sells and what’s hot. Then, we worked with the local distributors to find the best price on a lot of these different materials to put together a superior package. KRISTIE:
What part of this project is the most gratifying to you?
We are very proud of the fact that one of the buildings pre-sold out in about three days before it even went on the
market. We got a huge reaction from the investors. The project was a financial success. The team really pulled this one together. When the market started going south, we definitely served the client. As a result, they’ve come back to us with a medical office building and a full retail center that has been very successful and has had probably 70% leased out.
KRISTIE: It was a great feeling to know that it was such so well received in the community and sold out so quickly. Dilworth was one of the first true condo projects out of our office, and for this project to be so successful is especially gratifying. ■
David “ Woody” Jones, AIA, has 15 years’ experience in corporate and urban design with a Planning Masters in Architecture from Clemson University. He was project architect and designer for Dilworth. Ben Cohey, ASSOC. AIA, has 18 years’ experience in corporate, urban, residential, and retail design. Ben served as project professional and CAD coordinator on Dilworth Walk. Kristie Nicoloff, IIDA, graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in Interior Architecture and has been a practicing interior designer for 13 years. As the project’s interior designer, her involvement was critical in the success of the units’ interior appeal.
EXISTING OFFICE BUILDING
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The 64-unit condominium project is comprised of two 35,000-square-foot buildings set back from Kenilworth Avenue to create a green space with brick walk-ups. Through use of residential brick and neutral colors, Dilworth Walk blends in with the surrounding community. Architectural details like exterior fountains mimic historical elements found elsewhere in the neighborhood.