Developers announced plans Tuesday for a 23-story luxury apartment building in uptown, the latest in a string of rental projects announced for the area.

Novare Group, Grubb Properties and Batson-Cook Development Co. would partner to build SkyHouse Charlotte at a vacant lot at 10th and Church streets, at uptown s northern edge.

The project comes after a several-year pause in the rapid boom in high-rise uptown housing that took place in the last decade.

During the mid-2000s, developers announced at least 20 high-rises in the center city, all for-sale condos. Then the recession hit, and fewer than half were built.

In their wake, apartment complexes have become a favorite among investors and developers, who have announced plans to build thousands of new units for Charlotte.

The 27-story Catalyst on South Tryon Street, for example, was planned as a condominium project but later converted to apartments. In 2011, Catalyst, also developed by Novare Group, was bought by an investor that paid the highest per-unit amount in the Carolinas apartment market.

The 51-story Vue at Fifth and Pine streets, uptown s tallest residential high-rise, also converted to rentals, a testament to investors belief that the center city will continue to attract young professionals.

The SkyHouse project, which is still in the planning stages, would have about 320 units with one, two and three bedrooms and feature floor-to-ceiling glass.

A SkyHouse will sit on the 23rd floor and include a club room, fitness area and outdoor plazas that will have lounge space, fireplaces and a swimming pool. Developers say the project will be environmentally sustainable and Energy Star certified.

Generation Y appeal

Developers said they believe the project will appeal to the Generation Y professionals who want to live in urban infill areas close to business centers, night life, culture and public transportation.

Charlotte has focused on creating a live-work-play environment in uptown, has been very successful in that, and is continuing that with Bearden Park and the Knights new stadium, Novare Group President Jim Borders said. It is one of the best places to be in the southeast, and SkyHouse fits perfectly with that dynamic.

SkyHouse apartment complexes also are planned for Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando and Austin, Texas.

SkyHouse Charlotte will be built on the 2.17-acre site of the former Renaissance Place Apartments, which was demolished in 2007. At the time, developers envisioned the property to become the next big urban development project, but the economy fizzled.

The block is bounded on the Ninth Street side by the 525 North Tryon condo building and on the 10th Street side by the North Carolina Dance Theatre and the McColl Center for Visual Art.

Too many apartments?

Each of SkyHouse s development partners has worked on prominent Charlotte projects.

Atlanta-based Novare also built the Avenue condominium tower on Church Street, which sold out in 2008. Batson-Cook worked with Charlotte-based Grubb Properties as the general contractor on the Ratcliffe condominiums on South Tryon Street. Batson-Cook also built uptown s Trademark condo tower and Courtside condo project.

As we studied markets for this innovative product with Novare, we were looking for job growth and a dynamic, vibrant live-work-play cities, said Mark Stewart, director of investments with Batson-Cook Development Co. Charlotte, a city with which we are quite familiar, is ideal for SkyHouse from that perspective.

Some real estate analysts have started to wonder whether the apartment market is being overbuilt.

In a commercial real estate forecast Tuesday, the director of real estate research with PricewaterhouseCoopers said that some markets may start to overheat in 2014 or 2015.

Others have said demand nationally and in Charlotte should remain strong from younger workers who want to live, work and play without having to drive a car.

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