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Each week, WFAE's "Morning Edition" hosts get a rundown of the biggest business and development stories from The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.

Myers Park Country Club Sued Over $27 Million Renovation Plan

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Google Street View
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The Myers Park Country Club is seen in an undated photo.

One of Charlotte’s oldest and most prestigious county clubs, Myers Park Country Club, is being sued by one of its members.

According to the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter, the member says in the lawsuit he wants more information about the club’s plans for a massive $27 million renovation plan that has stirred controversy. For more we turn now to the Ledger’s Tony Mecia for this week’s Biz Worthy.

Marshall Terry: So, Tony, what is the renovation plan, and why has this member sued over it?

Tony Mecia: Marshall, Myers Park Country Club is one of the oldest country clubs in Charlotte, founded in 1921 at its current site — big golf course, pool complex, very stately in one of the wealthiest areas of Charlotte. The club came out last year and said that for its 100th anniversary, it wanted to do a big renovation — redo the main level, redo the lower level. It would be a $27 million plan — sort of refresh the site. You know, people pay a lot of money to join the Myers Park Country Club. The initiation fee is $95,000. There's another $1,000 or so per month in dues, so they want to make it pretty nice for their members.

This particular renovation plan, though, Marshall, when it came out in the fall, some of the members there raised some eyebrows about it because one of the things that it called for was expanding the men's only section of the club. There's a men's locker room, a men's lounge. They wanted to make it a little bit bigger, move it into a place that's now casual dining. Some of the women at the club and their husbands said, "Well, wait a minute, that's not really fair. The women don't really have anything comparable." so there's been sort of this ongoing rift really for the last few months.

It's come to a head in the last few weeks. At the end of March, one of the members of the club, Mark Erwin, who's a former U.S. ambassador who served under President Clinton, he sued the club, and he's asking for financial information and other information about the renovation because he says that the club leadership hasn't been transparent.

Terry: What has the club said?

Mecia: Well, the club is not saying much publicly, but in communications to members, they have said that this plan was designed in collaboration with members, they've worked with a design firm, and that this is a renovation plan that is going to meet the needs of all the club's members. They say they're continuing with the plan, and they say that construction is supposed to start in July.

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Michael S. Harrison
The "Bob & Sheri" show might need a new radio home.

Terry: Let's move on to some radio business news now. The owner of one hundred seven point nine, the link has dropped the Bob and Sheri show. Now, that's been on the air in Charlotte for almost 30 years. What's behind that move?

Mecia: Yeah, it's really interesting to see. Longtime radio show on 107.9. The "Bob & Sheri" show is syndicated in about 70 other markets. It really sort of came into being here in Charlotte, so to be dropped in Charlotte is sort of a big deal.

They're looking for someplace else to go in Charlotte so they can continue to be on the radio. This has happened just in the last few months, Marshall: 107.9, as well as a couple of other radio stations in town -- WBT and WFNZ, a couple of AM stations -- they were acquired by a company called Urban One, which is primarily a media conglomerate that owns mostly urban format radio stations — hip-hop, R&B. And so, they're making some changes. We don't really know the full extent of that. Urban one is becoming one of the bigger players in the Charlotte radio scene.

Terry: There was some big news this week involving the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. It announced that billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott donated $18 million to the organization. Why did she do this?

Mecia: Yes, well, we knew in December that she was donating a bunch of money to organizations across the country. She, by the way, is the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. She's a billionaire. She has a whole bunch of money contributing really to organizations kind of to help out with COVID, but also to advance racial and gender equity and upward mobility.

What we didn't know was exactly how much money the YMCA was going to be getting. We knew the Goodwill here locally had received $10 million dollars from her. But now the YMCA of Greater Charlotte is receiving $18 million, they said this week. And so they're going to use that on health and nutrition programs and programs for teens and youth, primarily in west Charlotte and in some of the underserved communities in Charlotte.

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Amazon
An Amazon worker seals a box in one of the company's Fulfillment Centers.

Terry: Finally, Tony, speaking of Amazon, the company has announced it's expanding again in the Charlotte area. What are the plans?

Mecia: Yeah, Marshall, you and I have talked before about this huge increase that we've seen for industrial sites, for warehousing and distribution. That's really accelerated during the pandemic as people are ordering things online from home. Amazon has just been really on a tear, just opening up all kinds of facilities in North Carolina. They've got a handful in Charlotte.

This new one that was announced this week in Pineville, it's a pretty big one. But they have a number of other facilities as well. They've got one out by the airport, one in north Charlotte, one in Kannapolis. They have 19 sites in North Carolina, and they're really on a on a hiring spree to try to address this huge influx of business.

Terry: All right. Tony, thank you.

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