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A skyline that sprouts new buildings at a dizzying pace. Neighborhoods dotted with new breweries and renovated mills. Thousands of new apartments springing up beside light rail lines. The signs of Charlotte’s booming prosperity are everywhere. But that prosperity isn’t spread evenly. And from Charlotte’s “corridors of opportunity,” it can seem a long way off, more like a distant promise than the city’s reality.

City plans to open 'opportunity hubs' in six low-income areas

A "For Lease" sign at a new development in front of old buildings in Charlotte's North End corridor of opportunity.
Ely Portillo
A "For Lease" sign at a new development in front of old buildings in Charlotte's North End Corridor of Opportunity.

The city of Charlotte plans to open physical hubs in all six of the city’s designated Corridors of Opportunity to connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with resources. The city already partners with several organizations to provide training and access to capital. These hubs would bring those partnerships directly into historically overlooked and underinvested communities and be run by groups located there.

Monica Holmes, who oversees the city’s corridors initiative, says residents will be able to find other help there too.

"Is that housing resources? Is it county resources? Public health? Who are all the other partners to bring to the table so that we are really providing a robust opportunity for our communities to access these different resources," Holmes said.

The plan is to open the hubs in 2024. Charlotte has received 21 applications from groups opening the six hubs, and staff are going through the proposals now. The city will provide three years of funding to get them started.

Holmes also told a city council committee Tuesday that Sugar Creek and Interstate 85 will soon see more real estate deals that will further decrease the number of hotel rooms there. That’s long been a goal of surrounding neighborhoods, where residents say the glut of low-priced hotel rooms attracts crime. The city purchased a dilapidated motel this spring to reduce crime in the area and provide stable affordable housing.

Holmes said another 300 hotel rooms may soon be transformed to a similar purpose by private entities, without the use of city dollars.

The city of Charlotte bought the Economy Inn for $4.2 million. The main attraction: it was a hotspot for crime in an area that sees a lot of violence. The plan is to demolish the motel, add affordable housing and begin to change an environment where crime thrives.

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Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.