Cover Story: SKYE high for Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Skye is the limit.  It's new life for an uptown eyesore just in time for the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.

Condos in a half-empty high-rise are once again for sale.

The project once known as The Park is now called the Skye Condominiums.

Construction is moving right along and the developers say, when it's finished, it'll be unlike anything else in Charlotte.

The eyesore emblematic of the housing boom and bust is coming back to life.

Not too long ago Charlotte was the city of cranes.  Good times in bank town.

Developers were building condos like crazy.

"The Park" included.  In 2000, it was touted as the city's first luxury condo tower.

Then the Great Recession happened.

Money quit flowing free.  "The Park" went belly up.  And Charlotteans went sour on "The Park" some calling it an eyesore.

Not any more.

"An 18,000 square foot restaurant."

With pictures still on the floor the sales center (which is located inside EpiCenter) for the condo tower they're now calling SKYE Condominiums will open next week.

Shane McDevitt is a Center City real estate broker representing the developer.

"It's been completely reconfigured inside and out," he said.

It's now planned to be a 22-story high-rise with fewer condos (67 units).  Developers have added a hotel (Hyatt Place Hotel) and street-level retail.

SKYE Condos will also house the city's first rooftop restaurant

Also at the top, two two-story penthouse condos priced at $2.3 million each.

Michael Smith with Charlotte Center City Partners says it's a win for uptown

"We're thrilled with having this being re purposed," he said, "adding hotel rooms.. being able to bring in more hospitality and maybe being able to get this done in time for the DNC. Those are all wins."

That was the concern when the tower went into foreclosure and was abandoned for more than two years.

It's in a prime spot on 3rd Street and Caldwell in between the Arena and the Convention Center and would be seen by throngs of press people who will be covering the Democratic National Convention.

Emma Littlejohn, a real estate consultant, says you can't underestimate image.

"The DNC will bring us tremendous national recognition and a tremendous amount of activity in the downtown market both for the residential market and the office market for future years. So having this great place and this building complete is very important for that venue," said Littlejohn.

Construction on the tower resumed in April.  Condos go on sale next week.

"It'll be good for the city to not have that building still sitting there as a skeleton," said McDevitt.

The developer Florida-based Small Brothers LLC bought the building for $4.5 million in a private auction in 2009.

They're building even before having sold any condos.

Right now they're looking at it being a two-year project.  So that means it won't be completely finished in time for the DNC - which is 12 months and one week from now.

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