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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.

Brooklyn Village project finally moves forward

Mecklenburg County sold the first portion of land to the developers of Brooklyn Village on Monday, July 31, 2023.
Brooklyn Village website
Mecklenburg County sold the first portion of land to the developers of Brooklyn Village on Monday, July 31, 2023.

A long-anticipated development project that's expected to reshape uptown Charlotte took its first real step forward this week. Mecklenburg County on Monday announced the sale of nearly six acres at the corner of McDowell Street and Brooklyn Village Avenue to a developer for just over $10 million. For more, we turn now to Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter for our segment BizWorthy.

Marshall Terry: Tony, this is part of the Brooklyn Village development project. Remind us just how big is this project expected to be? What is it going to include?

Tony Mecia: Yeah, Marshall, it's a pretty big-size project for uptown Charlotte. It's ultimately envisioned to be 17 acres and would have 1,200 residential units, including affordable housing. It would have 712,000 square feet of office space; 252,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; 280 hotel rooms. So, it would be a big mixed-use development really in a couple of different sections, one by Marshall Park and the CMS building over there. And then another one a couple blocks away, the old Walton Plaza and the adjoining parking lot — that's the piece that's sold. The county announced this week that's 5.7 acres. This is a project between Peebles Corporation and Conformity Corporation. They've been working with the county on it for some time.

Terry: Now you write in the Ledger that a land sale like this typically isn't exciting, but people have been waiting for a long time for this. If you had a baby when the county started planning Brooklyn Village, it would be going into third, or maybe even fourth, grade now.

Mecia: Well, that's a good way to put it, Marshall. But yes, they have been working on this for a long time. The county first started taking bids on this in 2015 or so, 2016 maybe. So it has been a long time. There's been a lot of skepticism among local developers that this would ever get off the ground. There's been a long series of negotiations with the county and approvals and meetings, and nobody has really seen anything happen. This land sale is an indication that something could be about to happen there because the agreement calls for the developers — after the land sale — to have three years before the first building has to open up. The other piece that's significant on this, Marshall is of course, that it's on the land of the old Brooklyn neighborhood. Uptown just historically was a Black neighborhood, center of Black commerce in Charlotte that was flattened for urban renewal in the 1970s.

Terry: Now staying in uptown for a moment, Charlotte's Center City Partners says people have been returning there to uptown in large numbers, but not for work. So what? Clubbing? Sports?

Mecia: Well, those are good guesses. But Charlotte Center City Partners says, you know, looking at mobile phone location data, that on July 14 and 15, a bunch of cultural performances, bands and a musical drew record numbers of people to uptown. They had 256,000 people on July 14 (and) 264,000 on July 15. Those were the biggest numbers since December of 2019, when there was a big football game at Bank of America Stadium. Just so you know, in mid-July last month we had the Luke Combs concert and the Blink 182 concert and “Six The Musical” was also playing at Belk Theater.

And Marshall, I should mention that Tom Murray, the head of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, gave a speech at Charlotte Rotary this week in which he said that there were more visitors in the Charlotte region in 2022 compared to 2019. He said that Charlotte has really become a visitor destination in a way that it hasn't in the past. Although he said business travel is still down from pre-COVID levels because of the persistence of remote work and people working from home.

Terry: Finally, you report that a piece of Charlotte's past was recently uncovered during a renovation in Elizabeth. What was it?

Mecia: Yes. As Shops on 7th Street in Elizabeth were being renovated last week, at the old Dollar General building there they were doing some renovation work, and they uncovered the old sign for Stanley Drug Store in sort of old-time, big-block lettering. That's a drugstore that was there from 1934 to 1997. So it's sort of a historical gem that they uncovered. But it's now being renovated — that whole shopping center is — to a retail center known as Shops on 7th.

Support for WFAE's BizWorthy comes from Sharon View Federal Credit Union and our listeners.

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Marshall came to WFAE after graduating from Appalachian State University, where he worked at the campus radio station and earned a degree in communication. Outside of radio, he loves listening to music and going to see bands - preferably in small, dingy clubs.