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Mixed-Use Development Approved For Cherry Neighborhood

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

Charlotte’s city council approved the zoning for a mixed-use development in the historically African-American Cherry community Monday night after voting down the same project last week. 

Developers presented much of the same design for the Cherry project to council members. It calls for up to 300 residential units with ground level retail, a 225-room hotel and a 7,000 square-foot parking lot to be built on two acres at Baxter Street and Kings Drive. There’s just one small change. The height of the building was reduced from 106 feet to 100 feet.

Council member Patsy Kinsey represents the Cherry neighborhood near uptown and cast the only no vote. She says some aspects of the project, such as the parking lot, do not comply with the plan the council approved for Cherry three years ago.

“The parking deck did go over the limit and into a residential portion of the property. That was on the back of the Cherry community,” Kinsey said.

Kinsey thinks the parking lot will have a negative impact on the community.

Some Cherry residents filed a protest petition with the council, saying the project was too large for the community. Kinsey says ignoring the plan that was approved to preserve Cherry’s character, sets a bad precedent.

“We’ve got communities like Cherry in the inner city, all around the ring of uptown, not just in District 1 and if we’re not careful, all of those neighborhoods are going to be totally decimated and that’s not good for our city,” Kinsey said.

Many long-time Cherry’s residents, who rented small bungalows built in the early 1900s, have been displaced in recent years as their homes were torn down and replaced with large, expensive houses.

Credit Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

District 3 Council Member LaWana Mayfield says she understands the concerns the community has about changes Cherry has experienced. But she says she supported the new project because more than 100 units of affordable housing are planned for two other sites in Cherry. The Tall Oaks project will consist of 81 work-force housing units and the city has set aside an acre of land in another section of the community for 31 affordable housing units to be built.

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.