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A periodic series in which we’ll visit neighborhoods going through change, big and small.

Thumbs Down On Mixed-Use Project In Cherry, For Now

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

Charlotte’s city council members gave a thumbs down to a proposed mixed-use development in the historically African-American Cherry neighborhood.

The proposed project called for apartments, ground-floor retail space, a hotel and a parking deck on about two acres at Baxter Street and Kings Drive.

But several aspects of the development don’t meet the city’s long-term plan for Cherry. For one, the main building would be 106 feet tall. That’s six feet higher than the plan calls for—a major sticking point for City Council member Patsy Kinsey.

“It was much higher, the setbacks were not as great as the plan called for and overall, it didn’t meet the plan,” Kinsey said. “No plan is written in stone but I had some questions about it and most of it for me was the height.”

Council adopted the long-term plan three years ago to preserve the character of the Cherry community as it undergoes redevelopment, but that hasn’t happened to a large degree. Gentrification has hit the neighborhood in a big way.

Located just a mile southeast of uptown, Cherry's quaint bungalows have some of the best views of the city's skyline. The community was established in the 1890's to provide affordable housing for African-American families. In recent years, large expensive homes have been built throughout the neighborhood, pricing out many long-time residents.

Credit Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE
The 100-acre Cherry community was established in the early 1890s to provide affordable housing for African Americans.

Kinsey says she wants to see changes in the project and talk to residents in the community before deciding if she will support it. The project was turned down in an initial vote of eight to four by council members. The developer, Midtown Area Partners, will resubmit their plans at next week’s meeting. 

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.