Charlotte area residents may be seeing more street-level retail as opposed to parking garages thanks to a building code change initiated by Charlotte architect Dan Hartley, a partner in Bartlett, Hartley and Mulkey Architects.
Hartley recently petitioned the N.C. Building Code Council to allow multiple stories under a podium in mixed-use developments in Charlotte. The petition was approved by the state and has also been approved by the Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement (MCCE). It will formally become effective Jan. 1, 2018, but architects and developers can incorporate the change into their planning now.
Previously the local Building code department in Raleigh had allowed this type of multi-story development, but Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement had interpreted the code to allow only one level below the podium, usually a parking garage.
A podium in building construction refers to a raised concrete base or “horizontal assembly,” often about 20 feet above ground level, providing structural stability and allowing for additional levels, often wood framed, to be built on top of that. The concrete podium provides fire separation, allowing for mixed uses in the structure. For example under the podium might be one level of high-ceiling retail backed by two levels of parking.
“This rule change will open up a wide range of options for developers doing podium style mixed use projects in Charlotte, especially for more attractive street-level retail,” said Richard Bartlett, president of Bartlett, Hartley and Mulkey Architects (BHM). “This allows for better economic performance and more variety of uses such as the addition of retail, townhomes or offices under the podiums, whereas previously it tended to be just parking garages.
“We intend to use this new flexibility more and more as we design new projects for our developer clients according to this new interpretation of the code,” Bartlett added. “For example we can now put office on the mid-level above retail, allowing for more attractive properties which are also more economically viable. This is going to energize multiuse development in Charlotte.”
Bartlett Hartley & Mulkey Architects specialize in mixed-use developments and renovations, and have designed upgrades for SouthPark Mall and many other malls across the country owned by Simon Properties, as well as a wide variety of projects for other developers and owners. The firm focuses on how people and organizations use and experience place and space through architecture, master planning and consulting. They work closely with their clients, communities and end users to create buildings that function on every level.
For more information, contact Richard Bartlett at 704-333-5931 or use our online contact form.