Back before this vacant piece of turf was set to become a new upper-class townhome project, it was one of the most visible landmarks in Charlotte.
The piece of land is up for a rezoning decision in front of the City Council tonight. But as I looked into it, I was captivated by the history.
It was once the home of Garr Auditorium, a 30s-era church building.
The building was home to Garr Memorial Church, and erected in 1932 from the salvaged materials from Charlotte City Auditorium at Fifth and College streets. The congregation was an offshoot of a Pentecostal tent revival that gained momentum in 1930. (You can read more about the founding here).
Garr Memorial moved elsewhere after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and the building fell into disrepair. Even preservationists agreed it was beyond saving, and the building was town down in 2010.
It was especially known for the “Jesus Saves” sign.
The neon sign went up in 1949 and was highly visible by passengers flying in to Charlotte Douglas. When the building came down, the sign was saved and is now in storage locally.
The land has been vacant five years. The plan now is to turn it into townhomes.
Hopper Communities will build up to 85 townhomes on the land, between 1,400 and 2,000 square feet apiece and priced in the high $200,000s to low $400,000s.