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Doral Apartments
Floodplain Acquisition, Flood Mitigation and Floodplain Restoration

Demolition at the Doral Apartments site is now complete!

Doral demolition     Rubble after Doral demolition   Open space at former Doral site 

 March 2011 - demolition    


  April 2011 - cleaning up rubble    


 May 2011 - planting grass seed

After years of disasterous floods, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services bought half of the Doral Apartment complex in December 2010.

In the spring of 2011, those 128 apartment units purchased by Mecklenburg County were demolished. The site was graded and grass seed was planted where flood-prone apartments once stood. The 8.4 acres of floodplain will be restored as open space. It will be maintained by Storm Water Services while the community studies options for the property.

June 2011 mailer

The County's purchase did not include more than ten acres of the Doral complex closest to Monroe Road. The current owner of Doral will decide what to do with the 132 apartment units and more than ten acres of land still under private ownership. Any renovations or construction must comply with local floodplain development regulations.

Aerial photo of Doral Apartments
Doral Apartments before demolition

Storm Water Services' Doral purchase:

  • 128 apartment units
  • 19 buildings or segments of buildings
  • 8.4 acres
  • Land and buildings at highest risk of flooding

Project objectives:

  • Permanently reduce flood losses on the site
  • Protect lives
  • Create open space in the floodplain along Briar Creek
Project costs: $4.7 million (estimated)

  • $3.1 million to purchase qualifying land and buildings
  • $1.6 million for tenant relocation and building demolition
Sources of funding:
FEMA Pre-disaster mitigation grant: $3.5 million (75%)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services: $1.2 million (25%)

See the Doral Apartments' timeline

Why a buyout?
The Doral Apartments were in Charlotte's worst flood hazard area. The complex was built in 1966 before restrictions on building in floodplains. Since 1995, Doral units nearest to Briar Creek flooded six times with damage exceeding $8 million.

Engineering studies confirmed there is no feasible way to stop Briar Creek from flooding the apartments. If the highest-risk units remained, future flood damages would be at least 400% higher than the cost of the buyout. The buyout met the cost/benefit criteria of Storm Water Services' Floodplain Buyout Program.

Giving back to the community
In February 2011, Habitat for Humanity removed reusable items from the apartments such as appliances, doors, windows, sinks, cabinets and light fixtures.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police used empty apartments for training exercises for SWAT officers and K-9 units.

During demolition in March and April, all asphalt, brick, concrete, carpets and metal products from the Doral site were recycled.

What's next?
In the coming months, Storm Water Services will ask the public for ideas on how to use the open space. Some options include:
  • features to improve water quality in Briar Creek such as wetlands or rain gardens in the floodplain
  • greenway trail
  • public park or recreational opportunities.

To comply with FEMA grant requirements, the County-owned portion of the Doral site must remain as open space. Any amenities will depend on available funding.

Cavalier Connection
Across Briar Creek from Doral is the site of the former Cavalier Apartments. Mecklenburg County bought the Cavalier compex in 2008 through the Floodplain Buyout Program. The Cavalier Apartments were torn down and the 13-acre site is now protected as open space. Storm Water Services plans to work on both sides of the creek to restore the floodplain, preserve open space and add features to improve water quality.

Read the news release about the Doral Apartments buyout.

Project Managers:

Floodplain buyout:
Robert Billings
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services

Floodplain and stream restoration:
David Goode
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services