Jan 23, 2024 - News

Charlotte airport expansion includes hotels, a brewery and a medical office

CLT Destination District conceptual site plan. Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport

CLT Destination District conceptual site plan. Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte Douglas International Airport could have a brand-new "front door" by 2026.

  • This means the sprawling land you pass going into the airport will one day look a lot different.

Driving the news: Airport officials unveiled plans for CLT Destination District on Tuesday afternoon along Wilkinson Boulevard.

  • The airport is looking to develop roughly 90 acres it owns along North Josh Birmingham Parkway and Stafford Drive near the airport entrance off Wilkinson Boulevard.

Why it matters: Charlotte's airport is booming. Its growth, both in passenger traffic and development, doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Catch up quick: The airport is in the midst of massive overhaul. Destination CLT, as the $3.5 billion capital investment project is called, spans everything from the lobby and the terminal to the runway.

  • Of note: CLT Destination District is a separate project from Destination CLT.

What they're saying: The airport experience will extend to Interstate 85, Stuart Hair director of commercial & community engagement tells, Axios.

  • "That's what this development is about, being that front door as we expand the airport out toward 85 on the north side," Hair says.

Flashback: The airport opened its existing "front door" off Wilkinson Boulevard in 2015.

Details: Its proposed new "front door" could include:

  • Two hotels
  • Nine food and beverage establishments, plus a brewery
  • A gas station
  • A medical office
  • A pharmacy
  • Convenience service retail

It would also have space for the LYNX Silver Line.

Of note: The airport does not intend to invest in the project beyond providing the land, per Hair. Three possible lease options are:

  • A straight ground lease.
  • Leasing the land in a similar manner to what they do with concessions inside the airport, where the airport has guaranteed income on the back end.
  • A public-private partnership.

What's next: The airport will issue a request for proposals on Jan. 25 from developers. The deadline to submit proposals is Feb. 22 at 5pm. Selected proposals will be notified on April 2.

  • The airport will request Charlotte City Council approval of the proposed agreement with the selected developer(s) this fall.
  • After that, it's a 15-18-month process to get everything up and running, meaning you could expect businesses to open in 2026.

The big picture: Ultimately CLT Destination District could expand up to 500 acres, but the current focus is on developing the first 90 acres.

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