North State makes its case for real estate developments in Lake Norman area

By Collin Huguley – Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

On June 17, David Dupree could finally breathe a sigh of relief. That’s when the Mooresville Board of Commissioners handed down rezoning and annexation approvals to North State Development, where Dupree is a managing partner.

The approvals will pave the way for North State’s project at 443 Alcove Road with 350 townhomes and at least 10,000 square feet of commercial space. The lengthy rezoning process saw North State scale back its project plans twice — down from an initial proposal that called for 660 residential units, including apartments. Dupree was able to slowly win over commissioners with new plans after the town’s planning board recommended denial of the rezoning in September.

The Alcove Road project is the latest addition to Cornelius-based North State’s portfolio in the Charlotte region. Dupree and his partners are particularly active near Lake Norman.

The developer faced another contentious rezoning process in late 2020 and early 2021 for its Huntersville Town Center mixed-use project. The development is considered a key catalyst in Huntersville’s plans to revitalize its downtown.

Huntersville Town Center is on track to begin delivering later this year after breaking ground in 2022. The project includes 134 apartments, 41 townhomes and 11 single family homes. The project’s apartment building at 113 Gilead Road will also include ground-floor retail space.

Dupree and his partners — Shane Seagle and Shane Buckner — also lead North State’s sister company, Madison-Simmons Homes and Communities. The companies often collaborate on residential projects.

North State won Mooresville approvals in early June for a 72-unit townhome project that will break ground next year, and Madison-Simmons recently began construction on a townhome project near downtown Huntersville. Dupree’s portfolio includes projects in Asheville, too.

Dupree spoke with the Charlotte Business Journal about his development activity in the region, his role in the future of downtown Huntersville and where North State will look to invest next. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How do you feel about the Alcove Road rezoning process? We’re pretty happy with the site plan. After talking to town staff and hearing from the commissioners, we knew we’d have to change some things. I think we just decided that we needed to do what was right and to get it done. The landowner was good to work with. That is the real key to those things.

It was a collaborative effort. We had a good team with our engineers and the owner of the properties and our guys. We had good communication with Mooresville. And we had just rezoned the Rinehardt Road (72-unit townhome) project. That gave us a good indication of what we they were looking for too.

Why Mooresville for your two latest projects? They both started on two different timelines; they just happened to come together at the same time. Which is unusual. It’s two totally different projects as well.

We obviously like the Lake Norman area. It’s a great area for us to be in. We’ll laugh sometimes because we’ll drive 200 miles to do a project and miss 50 that are in our backyard.

Where does construction on Huntersville Town Center stand? Still on track to be delivering later this year. It really is revitalizing downtown Huntersville. We’ve seen a lot of changes down there because of it.

The new board has been complimentary of what we’re doing there. They’re investing new money in the town hall. We saw the brewery come in. We’ve seen other projects come in. We have one down the street called Townes at Maxwell, where we’ve got 35 townhomes we’ll be selling as well. Just up the street on Gilead Road, there is another project there.

I think you will see downtown Huntersville change a lot in the next couple of years.

What did you learn from the rezoning process and how do you see that changing? What we found was there probably were a few people that just made a lot of noise. Good, bad or indifferent, that’s the way it happens. We worked through that as well with the town board. The town board at the time — the majority of them — had a pretty good vision that stuff needed to happen in downtown Huntersville. Thank goodness for them.

I think what happened was a lot of the folks that were opposed to it lost the election (this past November). We had a whole new board come in, and I think this board realizes your downtown should be something you’re proud of. The only new money in downtown Huntersville in years (before Huntersville Town Center) would have been public money. I think we’ll see a whole new feel for downtown Huntersville in the next five to 10 years.

How are you deciding what types of projects you are focusing on now? Outside of the multifamily — which we have the multifamily project on Sam Furr Road as well — part of North State’s vision is to supply lots for our homebuilding company, which we own, called Madison-Simmons Homes and Communities.

A lot of these are dual driven, where North State may find something that might fit Madison-Simmons. Or Madison-Simmons might find something like that and they collaborate with North State. That has been our focus.

Where will your future projects focus? Will it be more in the Lake Norman area? Are you eyeing any new territory? The Charlotte MSA is certainly our target. It’s a broad target. We do like the northern part and have a project getting ready to go in Statesville. So, with land acquisition you just have to look around and work through it.

We’re kind of in the middle. We’re not a small developer just looking to do little things. And we’re not necessarily looking to do some huge mixed-use projects.

What do you see as your niche? We have the capacity to do bigger projects. We have some good partners. We also have the ability to build a lot of the stuff we’re doing, especially in the townhomes and single-family area. Being local, I think we are a little more sensitive to doing it right and not just getting it done.  ... When you run into someone at the grocery store, you want to be proud of what you’re doing.


Title: Managing partner

Organization: NorthState Development

Education: B.S., East Carolina University

Background: Dupree was a founding partner in a startup NASCAR-licensed memorabilia and apparel marketing company that was sold in the late 1990s to a publicly traded national distribution company.


This article was originally posted by the Charlotte Business Journal.