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Cavalier Apartments

Flood Mitigation and Open Space Restoration

Cavalier Apartments in 1997.    Cavalier Apartment site in 2009.
         Cavalier Apartments in 1997                     Cavalier Apartment site in 2009

What was the Cavalier Apartments is now 13 acres of open space. The flood-prone apartment complex along Briar Creek was purchased by Mecklenburg County in 2008 and torn down in the spring of 2009.

March 2010 mailer

Restoring the floodplain
Public meetings have begun to discuss future uses for the Cavalier site and more than eight acres directly across Briar Creek that was once part of the Doral Apartments. Storm Water Services, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, and nearby residents are considering options such as:

  • water quality features like rain gardens or wetlands
  • greenway
  • public park or recreational opportunities
  • green space

During demolition, crews left as many large trees as possible. Grass was planted where the apartment buildings once stood. The open space will be maintained by Mecklenburg County. Over time, a multi-step process will evolve to make the Cavalier and Doral sites a natural and beneficial part of the urban floodplain.

Project Objectives:

  • Reduce threat of loss of life or property due to flooding
  • Save money on flood insurance claims and emergency response services
  • Restore the floodplain to a more natural state
See a video from the March 12, 2009 Demolition Ceremony showing the benefits of this project.

See the Cavalier Apartments' timeline.

Why a buyout?
Three devastating floods in nine years caused millions of dollars in damage to the Cavalier Apartments and the belongings of those living there. In its application for FEMA grant funding for this project, Storm Water Services said this apartment complex has "the most floodprone buildings and the highest cumulative flood losses in Mecklenburg County." The buyout of the 192 apartment units was the largest single purchase in the history of Storm Water Services' Floodplain Buyout Program.  

The August 2008 flood that occurred during the tenant relocation process confirmed the importance of getting the residents out of harm's way and tearing down the complex so it would not flood again.

The Cavalier site did flood again on May 5, 2009. By that time, all of the buildings had been torn down and the site was cleared. Unlike previous floods, no lives were in jeopardy and no property was damaged.

See a video showing how the demolition of the Cavalier Apartments helped Habitat for Humanity.

Cavalier Project Cost: $9.6 million

  • $6.6 million to purchase land and buildings
  • $3 million for demolition and tenant relocation
Sources of funding:
FEMA Pre-disaster Mitigation Grant: $5.4 million
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services: $4.2 million

Project Manager:
David Goode (Stream restoration and redevelopment of open space)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services