Archive for the ‘Retrospective’ Category

EpiCentre Entertainment & Retail Complex

Nearly a decade has passed since the people of Charlotte agreed upon a blueprint of what the downtown area of Charlotte could look like if guided to its best self. Since 1966 Charlotte has produced downtown master plans every decade. Given the unparalleled growth of the city (over 14% growth during the 00-06 years alone), the Center City 2010 Vision Plan was by far the most pivotal plan to date. Collectively approved of and supported by the City Council, County Commissioners and the public at large, the Center City 2010 Vision Plan was indeed a homerun by all accounts.

As we again embark upon a new plan with new goals we review one of the many milestones that now make our downtown area great place to Live, Work, Shop and Play.

Epicentre rendering

Epicentre rendering

Many long term residents will remember the where the city’s old convention center stood; yet another big box blight to downtown Charlotte. Enter The EpiCentre: a $275 million mixed-use complex including offices, clothing stores, night clubs, dining, coffee shops, condos, a hotel, a bowling alley and even a movie theater.  Centrally located in the heart of downtown Charlotte, The Epicentre truly boasts something for everyone, underlining again the theme of Live, Work, Shop and Play.

Epicentre upon opening

Epicentre upon opening, photo: James Willamor

Though The Epicentre has a glamorous ‘big city’ look it offers various price points to ensure every resident and visitor can drop by and feel at home. CATS Lynx line as well as their bus routes run parallel through the complex giving it open accessibility to all. No doubt Queen Charlotte would be proud.

Inside Mez

Inside Mez

With $750,000 pledged by the Charlotte Center City Partners, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to ensure the new 2020 master plan is every bit as successful as the previous one, the new study will look at more than Uptown by focusing on connecting adjacent neighborhoods and breaking down the I-277 barrier.

Metropolitan Midtown redevelopment and greenway

Metropolitan from the air

One of the major goals for the Center City 2010 Vision Plan was a redesign of intersections around Stonewall and Charlottetown, redevelopment of the old Midtown property, and extension of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway along Kings Drive. Today, that vision has nearly reached completion.

Originally an indoor mall, Midtown Mall had fallen into decline since its opening in the 1950’s. The project to redevelop the site was a joint venture between the county, the city, and developers.

Metropolitan shops along the greenway

Metropolitan shops along the greenway

Metropolitan Midtown is now home to Trader Joe’s, Target, Marshalls, Staples, Best Buy, West Elm, and others. As a mixed-use development, the site also has condominiums and offices.

The intersection at Stonewall, Kenilworth, and Charlottetown has been redesigned for better traffic flow. Bike lanes have been added to this stretch of Charlottetowne, and sidewalks and bus shelters have been improved.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

For years, the majority of Little Sugar Creek between Charlottetowne and Morehead  was capped with concrete. It was treated as nothing more than a forgotten drainage ditch. The 2010 plan sought to reclaim and restore this stretch of creek, and build an adjacent greenway connecting this new section to the existing greenway that runs from Morehead, to Freedom Park, to Woodlawn near Park Road Shopping Center.

Greenway development

Greenway development

This section of greenway is planned to open in the coming months. Future plans will expand the greenway and connect the existing sections, making it fifteen miles long from the South Carolina border to Cordelia Park in NoDa.

All photos by James Willamor. View these and more on Flickr.

ImaginOn, UNCC Uptown & First Ward Park

In 1999 citizens of Charlotte came together and created a unified vision for their city in 2010. Nearly a decade later, the time has come now to realize those dreams and draft new ones. Charlotte Center City Partners, in conjunction with county & city government, all pledged $250,000 a piece to survey Charlotteans and find Charlotte’s collective 2020 vision.  This time around the emphasis will not be on Uptown itself, but on the surrounding neighborhoods and how to connect them to center city Charlotte.

With the creation of ImaginOn, the building of First Ward Park on 7th Street and construction plans for a new UNC Charlotte building, one of the many dreams of the 2010 vision that has been achieved is the successful the creation of an education quad in First Ward.  The community and educational benefits of having places like ImaginOn, UNCC – Uptown Campus and First Ward Park in our area are many.

Imaginon

Imaginon

ImaginOn, which sprung from a partnership from the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, opened in 2005 and regularly holds children’s theatre classes, provides a place for teens to lounge in a safe, learning friendly environment, maintains a library for all children and has recently been equipped with a tech center and sound recording booth for kids to live out their dreams and explore their creative side.

UNC Charlotte's Uptown Campus

UNC Charlotte's Uptown Campus rendering

UNC Charlotte's Uptown Campus under construction

UNC Charlotte's Uptown Campus under construction

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Uptown campus, which is still in the construction phases as of October 2009, promises to establish UNCC as a respected and prominent public learning institution in the South. Its design is sleek and sophisticated, designed by Kieran Timberlake of Philadelphia partnered with Charlotte-based Gantt Huberman Architects. Scheduled for completion in 2011, the facility will open at Ninth and Brevard and will not only provide 143,000 square feet of learning space, but also host the school’s MBA programs and Urban Design Studio.

Finally, First Ward Park houses an array of community benefits as well. The recreation center holds regular kick-boxing and Pilates classes, has a full size gymnasium, has a fully equipped gym for adults, hosts cheer & dance classes weekly and has a really neat indoor playroom that is perfect for birthday parties and special events.

These three things are all but tiny parts to a wonderful 2010 vision that is successfully forming to shape Charlotte’s future. To find out more, please visit http://www.centercity2020.info.

All photos by James Willamor. View these and more on Flickr.