Dec 18, 2023 - Development

7 major developments underway in Charlotte in 2023

commonwealth development plaza midwood

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

About a decade ago, the city was celebrating Charlotte’s comeback from the Great Recession, evidenced by the cranes in the sky.

  • Construction had halted during the economic downturn. But by the mid-2010s, as the Blue Line extension neared opening and the growing population called for new housing, construction was “roaring” back to life.
  • Today it’s not just apartments, hotels and offices that are going up. Developers are more innovative with their designs, incorporating waterways, transit stations and even highway infrastructure into their plans.
  • Projects underway right now are filling gaps throughout the city, bringing attractive amenities to overlooked communities and introducing powerful resources, such as a medical school.

What we’re watching: What’s unclear is who will fill all of these offices. Some of the buildings about to open haven’t announced tenants yet. Vacancies are high, especially in older offices. But companies in the market for space are more likely to opt for these newer, shinier facilities.

  • Also, next year could be a slow one for new construction. Many developers are holding off on big plans because of market demand and financing hang-ups.

Below is a look at seven of the most transformational projects in Charlotte.

The Pearl

Wexford Science & Technology
Courtesy of Wexford Science & Technology

It looks like a traffic cone disaster now, but where Baxter and McDowell streets meet will one day be a medical campus known as “The Pearl” that will elevate Charlotte as a research and innovation hub.

Atrium Health and Wexford Science & Technology — a real estate company that partners with universities — have teamed up on the mixed-use development. It will be the home of the new Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

  • Work is underway on the 14-story campus building, called the Howard R. Levine Center for Education. Next door, a 300,000-plus-square-foot, 10-story research facility is going up. IRCAD, a France-based surgical training institute, will operate its North American headquarters in 100,000 square feet.
  • Also underway are parking garages, an outdoor plaza connecting the two buildings, road and utility work, and landscaping.

Timeline: The school and research building will open in 2025.

  • Across more than 26 acres at The Pearl, there will one day also be a hotel/hospitality center and residential tower.

Why it matters: Charlotte is the largest U.S. city without a four-year medical school. Over 15 years, The Pearl is anticipated to create more than 5,500 onsite jobs and around 11,500 total throughout Mecklenburg County, according to Atrium.

110 East

Stiles
Courtesy of Stiles

The latest addition to South End’s evolving skyline will be ready for office workers to move in later this winter.

  • It’s a 23-story, 370,000-square-foot tower, appropriately named 110 East (like its address). Florida developer Stiles and California real estate firm Shorenstein are behind the project.

Timeline: 110 East has been a massive construction zone along the busy South Boulevard corridor since its January 2022 groundbreaking. Crews are expected to roll out by late March or early April.

  • Stiles hasn’t named any tenants yet.

Why it matters: The self-proclaimed transit-oriented development is unique in how it’s built directly on the light rail platform. On the first floor, retail and restaurants will lead to the East/West station.

  • There will still be 900 parking spaces in the parking garage on levels two to 10.

Queensbridge Collective

Courtesy of Goettsch Partners

As 110 East completes, Queensbridge Collective will follow close behind as the next largest stamp on South End’s horizon. Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development is erecting two towers: a 42-story multi-family high-rise with 409 high-end units, and a 35-story, 600,000-square-foot office building.

  • It’s located where Midnight Diner and Uptown Cabaret used to be.

Timeline: Construction will continue through 2025.

Why it matters: Queensbridge Collective will bridge the gap between Charlotte’s biggest office submarkets — Uptown and South End.

Eastland Yards

Eastland
via City of Charlotte

Much of the news about Eastland Yards in 2023 revolved around chaotic plans for a 29-acre gap on the site, where Tepper Sports and Entertainment was supposed to build a soccer facility.

But there is other progress happening on the rest of the 80 acres:

  • By late fall, work will finish on a 70-unit senior affordable housing building.
  • Mecklenburg County is designing a $12.3-million park on about 4.5 acres to open by 2026.
  • The City of Charlotte and its partner developer Crosland Southeast are closing on land to build 280 multi-family housing units and about 15,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial. Construction will take two years. Once complete, they’re aiming to lease to minority, women-owned businesses from the east side.

Future phases may include offices, more retail and a grocery store.

  • The development will include a sports and entertainment destination, tentatively called “The Complex.” Site plans so far call for a 120,000-square-foot indoor sports facility with multipurpose courts, a community fitness center, an ice rink, medical and physical therapy offices, a community learning center, six outdoor turf fields, and up to 12,000 square feet for food and drink businesses.
The Complex
via City of Charlotte

Of note: Charlotte City Council recently learned it may be asked to contribute up to $15 million more for The Complex. Some members were resistant to the idea since they already approved $30 million in October.

Timeline: Ground broke in August 2022. Some mixed-use components will be ready in 2025.

Why it matters: This revitalization of the old Eastland Mall site will return to the east side what was lost from the mall’s decline. It’s expected to boost the economy and drive visitors to this area of the city.

Commonwealth

Commonwealth, a redevelopment of the 12-acre Central Square shopping center in Plaza Midwood
Renderings courtesy of Crosland Southeast. BB+M, Axiom, Land Design and 505 Design are the architects.

2024 will be another busy year for Crosland Southeast, with the opening of the first phase of its massive development on Central Avenue called Commonwealth. The entire site is four buildings:

  • A 150,000-square-foot mid-rise office building with a rooftop terrace and ground-floor retail
  • A 363-unit multi-family building with ground-floor retail
  • Two rehabbed, early 1900s brick mill buildings for retail

Timeline: The office building is opening this August. Apartments will be ready in four phases, between May to September.

  • Retail tenants will be announced soon, per Crosland Southeast. Spots will open between June to August.

Why it matters: The scale of this project alone will transform the quirky Plaza Midwood neighborhood. It will also introduce hundreds of new residents and office workers to the neighborhood and its businesses.

The River District

Courtesy of Crescent Communities

The River District will make a whole new, 1,400-acre community out of undeveloped, natural land in west Charlotte.

  • Crescent Communities, with investments from the city and county, is building 8 million square feet of office, 5,000 homes and apartments, 500,000 square feet of retail and 1,000 hotel rooms.

Timeline: Crescent Communities will start vertical construction of homes and commercial in 2024. It began infrastructure work in 2022.

  • The first phase is called Westrow, a 70-acre town center. It will have 514 market-rate apartments, around 40,000 square feet of office and retail, restaurants, event space, proximity to trails, parks, an event lawn and a 2-acre farm.

Why it matters: This long-term economic development project will make use of a valuable location, between the Catawba River and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The Pass

Third & Urban The Pass
Courtesy of Third & Urban

An Atlanta developer has taken control of an quieter but high-potential pocket of land near NoDa. Under the Sugar Creek overpass and close to the light rail, Third & Urban is creating a walkable development, incorporating new construction and old warehouse buildings.

  • This year it completed about 80,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and office space.
  • In all, The Pass will have 335 apartments and 260,000 square feet of office and retail space once the second and third phases are done.

Timeline: The first tenants open this spring, and residents will move in summer 2025.

Why it matters: At 12 acres, this project will create a new, cool node of Charlotte. With incoming tenants like Soul Gastrolounge, it already has some clout.

  • The development will also be home to an event venue called PINE and Borderline Bar & Billiards.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories

Charlottepostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more