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CATS CEO John Lewis says he misunderstood question before giving City Council wrong information

The city of Charlotte has proposed building an underground bus terminal on the site of the main bus station uptown.
City of Charlotte
The city of Charlotte has proposed building an underground bus terminal on the site of the main bus station uptown.

Charlotte Area Transit System Chief Executive John Lewis said in a statement Tuesday that he gave City Council the wrong information Monday about two consultants working on designs for uptown’s main bus station.

The city is considering partnering with White Point Partners, a developer, to replace the 27-year-old Charlotte Transportation Center and build a new bus station underground. That would clear the way for a new tower, with offices, retail, and a hotel. It might also include a new practice facility for the Charlotte Hornets.

Some council members, however, are concerned about whether it’s a good idea to place the station underground.

City Council voted to hire a sister firm of White Point Partners to study different possibilities for the bus station, including building it underground, at street level and on a second or third floor.

Council member Dimple Ajmera is concerned that the city might not get an independent assessment because White Point has already stated that it wants the station underground.

In response to questions from Ajmera and council member Ed Driggs, Lewis said the city had independent consultants working for CATS to evaluate plans for the bus station.

Lewis told Driggs that the consultants, Kimley Horn and Perkins Eastman, were working for the city. But those two firms are actually working for White Point Partners.

Lewis said he misunderstood what Driggs asked him. He said CATS has other consultants that will evaluate what to do with the bus station.

CATS said it will host public hearings in October about the bus station before the City Council reviews the project again.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.