Looking around Charlotte, there are so many cranes that you might forget for a moment that we’re in the midst of an economic downturn.
From SouthPark to Uptown, Ballantyne to South End, a few of the biggest development projects currently underway have the potential to significantly change the personality of their respective neighborhoods.
Below are some of the projects we’re watching closely.
Note that this is not an exhaustive list. To be sure, a number of other huge projects are planned, including the River District that will go up along the Catawba River in the western part of the county. Or the Uptown entertainment district the Carolina Panthers and city are planning near Bank of America Stadium. There’s also the planned redevelopment of Central Square, the 12-acre site in the heart of Plaza Midwood.
For other major projects, the pandemic has affected plans or timelines. One example is the Publix-anchored 10 Tryon development Uptown, which is currently on hold.
Vantage South End
Description: Charlotte developer The Spectrum Cos. is behind the Vantage South End development, a mixed-use project at South Tryon Street and Carson Boulevard. It will include two 11-story office towers, retail space, a boutique hotel, and an urban park. LendingTree, the fintech company formerly based in Ballantyne, will occupy 175,000 square feet of space in the first tower, which is wrapping up construction.
Timeline: The first tower will be done in January 2021. The second tower (East Tower at 1120 South Tryon) delivers in March 2022, the developer says.
Why it matters: This project is among the largest underway, and it’s helping to quickly turn South End into a hot office submarket. The Spectrum Cos. has also made green space a priority, a change for an increasingly dense neighborhood.
Design Center Tower
Description: Mooresville-based Lowe’s is building a 23-story office tower in South End, at the corner of Worthington and Camden, that will serve as the company’s global tech hub. Called the Design Center Tower, the 375,000-square-foot building is a joint venture between Childress Klein and Ram Realty Advisors.
Timeline: Lowe’s broke ground on the project last year and has said its goal is to finish construction late next year.
Why it matters: The Lowe’s tower will be Charlotte’s tallest building outside of Uptown. Like Vantage South End, it’s adding to the corporate office space in South End. The fact that Lowe’s plans to employ 2,000 tech workers at the hub is a nod of confidence to Charlotte’s growing tech workforce. Lowe’s had also considered Dallas for the project.
Description: A Boston developer called The Fallon Company recently unveiled plans for a major mixed-use development on a 16.7-acre site on the edge of Dilworth. It is down the street from the Dowd YMCA where Strawn Cottages once stood. The $400 million Centre South project will include affordable housing, retail, a hotel, and office space.
Timeline: Construction on the first phase of the project, which’ll include housing and a 310,000 square-foot office building, starts in 2021.
Why it matters: A redevelopment of the property is years in the making. The single-story Strawn Cottages opened in October 1971 as public housing for elderly residents. Eventually, the cottages were torn down, and for more than a decade, the city has been trying to decide what to do with the property.
Description: Developers Childress Klein and Ascentris are building a mixed-use project that will include hundreds of luxury apartments, green space, retail space, and a 175-room hotel. It will also have a new building for SouthPark Church, the new name for Sharon United Methodist Church, or the “Ski Slope Church,” which was torn down two years ago.
Timeline: Construction has been underway for a while and should finish in summer 2021.
Why it matters: Sharon United Methodist Church built its original church decades ago, when SouthPark was little more than farmland. As SouthPark grew and commercialized, the church’s property became more valuable. Sharon United made about $15 million for the sale of its property in 2018. The development of Apex also comes as SouthPark leaders are working to make the neighborhood more pedestrian-friendly.
Seventh and Tryon/Main Library
Description: This summer, a $600 million North Tryon redevelopment moved forward after years of planning. It’ll redevelop 1.5 blocks on North Tryon bordered by Sixth, Seventh, and College, the area that includes Spirit Square. This is a public-private effort that includes the city, county, and Metropolitan Partnership, a real estate company in the Washington, D.C. area. Eventually, the Seventh and Tryon site will include restaurants and shops, a 25-30-story office tower, residences, a walkable plaza, sidewalk cafes, above-ground and underground parking.
And as a central part of the project, a new main library building will replace the aging branch on North Tryon. Last fall, library and county officials unveiled plans to tear down the old and build a $100 million, state-of-the-art facility in its place.
Timeline: Currently, Metropolitan is doing documentation work on the development plan. The county and city will approve that plan sometime early next year. The main library will close next summer. Construction on its replacement will start sometime in the fall of 2021. The whole project will wrap up sometime in 2024.
Why it matters: The redevelopment promises to invigorate a stretch of the city center that’s been quiet for years. It also aims to be a catalyst for growth, connecting the bustling center of the city to the rest of the North Tryon corridor. Plans for a new library and a new life for Spirit Square date back to 2008, but various plans over the years have fallen apart. Earlier this year, the project almost collapsed because of disagreements over whether to have affordable housing on site. (It won’t, but the plan is to build affordable housing next to the project, on North Tryon and Eighth.)
Description: In partnership with the city, Crosland Southeast will redevelop 69 acres at the old Eastland mall site in east Charlotte. Eventually, the property will have apartments and other housing, retail space, a 10,000 square-foot Atrium Health facility, a three-acre central park, and the MLS academy headquarters. A few weeks ago, the project team said that Charlotte’s MLS team headquarters will not be at Eastland as originally planned. Instead, it’ll be at Bank of America Stadium.
Timeline: City council will vote on the Eastland plan on November 9. Construction will begin next year.
Why it matters: Ever since Eastland mall closed in 2010, the city has been trying to figure out some plan to revitalize the property. Over the years, a few interesting proposals arose, including one to add a ski slope and skate park to the property, but none got off the ground. Now the city sees turning the property into a mixed-use attraction where families can work, play, eat, and live as a way to bring energy to the neighborhood.
Description: In July, St. Louis-based Centene Corp. announced plans to build a massive new regional headquarters and tech hub in the University City area. A few days later, the health insurance service company bought the 80.7-acre property on Governor Hunt Road. The $1 billion campus will include 1 million square feet of office space, an early childhood development center, a training facility, and walking trails, according to CBJ.
Timeline: Construction on the first phase of the project began in August and should wrap up sometime in 2022. The next phase will be done in 2024, according to the company.
Why it matters: Centene could get up to $450 million in tax incentives if it adds all of the 3,200 jobs it promised for the new regional headquarters. That means Centene’s is the largest single jobs announcement in state history. Charlotte beat out Tampa and York County for the project.
Description: In 2017, Northwood Investors bought the Ballantyne corporate office park for $1.2 billion, the biggest real-estate deal in Charlotte’s history. Northwood plans to transform the 454-acre property into a walkable district filled with offices, retail, townhomes, 2,000 apartments, trails, an 8-acre “stream park,” a 2,000-seat amphitheater, and other entertainment.
Timeline: In June, city council approved the rezoning of the corporate park. The whole project will take several years to complete. Currently, construction is underway on an 11-story office building, and it will wrap up in spring 2021.
Why it matters: The project will overhaul a buttoned-up corporate park filled with beige buildings and parking lots into a mixed-use family destination. The developer’s plans include shutting down one of the longtime staples of suburban life — the golf course — to make room for parks and residences. This all comes at a time when young people are flocking to close-in, walkable neighborhoods like South End.
Ally Charlotte Center
Description: Crescent Communities is building a 26-story tower on Stonewall that will include 725,000 square feet of office space, ground-level retail, and a public plaza. Additionally, the property will have a 22-story JW Marriott hotel. Ally Financial has signed a lease at the building and will move in in the middle of next year.
Timeline: Construction is underway and will wrap up next year.
Why it matters: The stretch of Stonewall that includes the Ally building has been evolving significantly in recent years. Ten projects are either underway or wrapped up relatively recently on the Uptown street, including the Whole Foods and hundreds of apartments.
Charlotte Metro Tower
Description: Duke Energy’s 40-story tower underway will have roughly 1 million square feet of office and retail space. Childress Klein and CGA Capital bought the property last year for $675 million and signed a long-term lease with Duke. The tower will hold up to 4,000 Duke employees and contractors. It’s in a former parking lot on South Tryon, next to the Gantt Center.
Timeline: Construction will finish in late 2022. The first tenants will be able to move in early 2023.
Why it matters: Duke’s new 40-story tower will be one of the city’s tallest, and it will change the Uptown skyline. By comparison, the Duke Energy Center across the street is 48 stories.