May 13, 2016 - News

3 visions for the revival of Brooklyn Village Uptown

Crescent-Walton-Plaza-cover

Crescent-Walton-Plaza-cover Photo courtesy of Crescent

Recently we gave you a little background on Brooklyn Village, a once historic and predominantly African-American area of Uptown that was destroyed in the 1960s and ’70s. 

Recently Charlotte is trying to remedy its many, many mistakes of the past — and reviving Brooklyn Village is one piece of that. 

Mecklenburg County has put out for bids to redevelop numerous acres in the Second Ward neighborhood. Three companies are currently competing to hold the sole development oversight of the land bordered by I-277 to the south, 3rd Street to the north and McDowell to the east.

Brooklyn-Village-development-map
Photo via Google Maps

Citiscupt, BK Partners (Conformity, Peebles Corporation and Stantec) and Crescent are the three names behind the proposals and each have their own pros and cons. Let’s take a high level overview of all three.

Citiscupt

Option A:

  • 1,161 residential units
  • 560,000 square feet of office space
  • 352 hotel rooms
  • 93,000 square feet of retail

Option B:

  • 1,934 residential units
  • 560,000 square feet of office space
  • 252 hotel rooms
  • 93,000 square feet of retail

Both options have space dedicated to open plaza space and public park area.

Citisculpt-Brooklyn Village
Photo courtesy of Citisculpt
Citisculpt Brooklyn Village siteplan
Photo courtesy of Citisculpt
Citisculpt-Brooklyn Village Ground-Level
Photo courtesy of Citisculpt

Citisculpt’s is very much a “master plan” that would be developed by multiple developers over time. Citisculpt will not be developing the entire scope themselves so this adds a little worry in terms of what the final product will amount to.

Hotel, retail, office and residential all come together here to essentially create a community in the heart of Second Ward. Their site plan and general idea come off a little safer to me in terms of design.

Correction to previous remarks: Citisculpt has a master plan and will be developing the area to serve the community and transform Second Ward.

BK Partners

  • 1,243 residential units
  • 680,700 square feet of office space
  • 280 hotel rooms
  • 252,100 square feet of retail
  • 3,700 square feet of cultural amenities
  • 1.77+ acres of open/park space
Conformity-Brookly Village-Overview
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Brooklyn Village Site-Plan
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Phase-Breakdown-2
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Phase-Breakdown-1
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Brooklyn-Village-Overview
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Brooklyn Village-Pedestrian-Level
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Brooklyn-Village-Art-and-Retail
Photo courtesy of BK Partners
Conformity-Brooklyn-Village-Public-Space
Photo courtesy of BK Partners

BK Partners plan throws a ton of numbers out there and, like Citisculpt, incorporates just about everything you can have in a mixed use development. There is an incredible amount of detail to the street level in this project. There’s an absolutely bonkers amount of retail, and the plan would surely transform Brooklyn Village into a destination that the other two proposals simply couldn’t.

There would be art scattered throughout the development and the “Myers Passage” and public park, as seen in the site plan, will no doubt create a public area that could become the preeminent park and open space in Uptown.

Crescent

  • 650 residential units
  • 200,000 square feet of office space
  • 160 affordable housing units 
  • 65 mixed-income for sale town homes
  • A large but unspecified amount of retail encompassing the site
  • A community gym
  • Large public park
Brooklyn-Village-site-plan-Crescent
Photo courtesy of Crescent
Crescent-Brooklyn-Village-Site-Plan
Photo courtesy of Crescent
Crescent-Brooklyn-Village-site-connectivity
Photo courtesy of Crescent
Crescent-Brooklyn-Village-Looking-East-on-MLK
Photo courtesy of Crescent
Crescent-Walton-Plaza
Photo courtesy of Crescent

Crescent’s plan is certainly the most polished in terms of presentation. However, it is also a bit odd that they didn’t provide concrete numbers in terms of site usage. They detail the usage on the site plan but not the actual amount of square footage and units.

The architecture they are proposing is certainly unique and would provide the area with a strong identity. Retail is focused on the main pedestrian corridors (MLK & Stonewall), while residential is surrounded by green space and a public park.

My apprehension here is Crescent is already developing two major projects nearby (Crescent Stonewall Station & Tryon Place) and it may lend the area to all “feeling the same.” That said, Crescent would be completely developing this themselves, unlike the first two proposals, and that certainly has a huge benefit when it comes to having a consistent vision throughout the entire development site. 

Which one should be selected?

There is no right or wrong answer here and all three proposals look excellent. The thing to note is that they all take into account the primary need and desire in Charlotte: walkability. 

All proposals have a substantial amount of retail, public space and ground level focus. The pedestrian is the key ingredient in all the proposals and that’s what should be at the root of every project of this magnitude.

Of all these proposals, if I had to pick it would have to be BK Partners. Their amount of retail just cannot be denied. But beyond that, they have the most comprehensive and detailed plan which says volumes of their dedication to the site. The public space is very well thought out and the street level is unlike anything we have seen in Charlotte. The architecture is well thought out, the sidewalk and ground level invites pedestrians in rather than pushes them away and the overall site plan all add up to a proposal that is surely to give Uptown a new area to be proud of.

There is currently no timeline for construction on any of these projects, but they are all funded so once the ball gets rolling, it will roll relatively quickly. Stay tuned as the city will pick a winner very soon.

Cover image courtesy of Crescent

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