As I was legally loitering around Ballantyne Village for this article, I accosted a random human being for his thoughts. “The Village is coming back,” he said, briskly walking back to work and away from me, an equally random human being.
The word comeback implies a return to something that used to be great. The Village’s prior struggles have been well aired in the media, with bankruptcy, an ownership change, and a sordid parking dispute making headlines. It’s been a soap opera, with customers and businesses caught in the middle.
Fast forward to the present and the drama appears to be over. All parking spaces are open (however, watch out for the concrete blocks waiting to take a chunk out of your car) and Vision Ventures, current owner and previous owner of the EpiCentre, is working on a long range plan to rebrand the mixed use, but mostly retail, 166,000 sq. foot space.
The rebranding efforts are working. There’s a buzz happening in Ballantyne Village and it’s generating an energy for families, professionals, and anyone else looking for a quaint atmosphere with unique dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences.
Why You Should Go:
The 3H Shoppes: Homemade, Homegrown, Handmade-open Tuesdays and Saturdays 12-6, featuring local vendors chosen on a juried program. Vendors that pass a juried program sound pretty legitimate.
Services, Services: Get your wig blown out, your nails did, your ‘stache trimmed, your crib pimped, and more.
Prime People Watching: There’s nothing better than sitting outside on a nice day, scoping out the crowd. Plenty of outdoor dining and loitering options are scattered around the meticulously landscaped property. There’s tattoos, suits, and lots of athleisurewear to take in as you sip your coffee.
Speaking of Coffee: People who Agenda love their coffee. We have a lot of love for local coffee shops and Rush Espresso deserves a spot in this tribe. Rush has a charming European flair and in addition to coffee, they serve breakfast and lunch. Rush is a great place to set up shop to knock out a few hours of work or daydreams.
Village Kids: There’s at least one family program a month featuring music, games, and fun. It’s all free and card carrying members also receive discounts around the Village. Not sure what the age limit is, but I’m submitting my application.
Food, Food, Food: The Blue Taj, Terrace Café, JADE Asian Fusion Sushi Bar, Villa Antonio, Mellow Mushroom…there really is something for everyone here, it’s a melting pot of restaurants. There are a few chain eateries, but mostly the Village cuisine is a Charlotte experience.
Did Someone Say Art House Theatre? The Regal Ballantyne Village Stadium 5 is one of three Regal art house theatres in Charlotte. Get cultured at this gem with new releases, indies, throwbacks, and other specialized, interesting films that will make you smarter. The seats are super plush in vintage theatre style and they offer wine in concessions. Yes, wine.
On the Horizon: There’s new tenants and changes in the pipeline, here are a few highlights:
- Tinder Box: An upscale cigar shop with a humidor made of Spanish cedar. Tour, please.
- Nouveaux: A couture, and luxury woman’s consignment shop. Sounds like a freelance writer’s budget dream.
- Village Market: 11,000 sq. foot market featuring specialty foods in a cluster of seven-eight retail outlets. Chocolates, fresh seafood, craft beers. This concept sounds incredible.
- BlackFinn Ameripub: EpiCentre patrons know this restaurant already, BlackFinn will be bringing their American food, craft beers, and cocktails to the Village in 2016.
- Gusto Pasta: Villa Antonio will relocate from their current location and re-concept into a smaller space featuring sangria, fresh pasta, and tapas.
Let’s talk about the architecture: In addition to a “Main Street” and Art Deco feel, Charlotte firm, aiDesign Group, was asked to create a “landmark architectural statement” and they delivered. You can’t miss the “Crown,” the three story glass tower that houses the theater. The Crown is lit with programmable LED lighting capable of an infinite number (that’s a lot) of color combinations and is a beacon for Ballantyne that comes with a matching fountain.
Have you seen the new fountain?! It turned out better than we even imagined! pic.twitter.com/tLIXCFsAOy
— Ballantyne Village (@BtynVillage) April 9, 2015
Indeed, the Village IS coming back. Check out Ballantyne (B-Town as Ted calls it). The Village is on the bustling corner of Johnston and Ballantyne Commons Parkway, across from The Ballantyne Hotel. It’s not as far as you think, you can see Uptown from here, even on a cloudy day.