Wingate University’s satellite campus is leaving Matthews.This summer, current programs will move from the Matthews Station Street site to Ballantyne Corporate Park, owned by Bissel Co.Classes will begin at the Ballantyne campus in August and will include an MBA program, graduate programs in sports management and education, undergraduate programs for working adults, and other professional and continuing-education programs. Wingate President Jerry McGee had praise for Matthews during a recent interview and said the decision to relocate was driven by the lack of space. “We’ve had a presence in Matthews since the fall of 1992,” said McGee. “The people there have always embraced us and supported our efforts. “But we just ran out of space. We finally had all the space available, and it still wasn’t enough.” The announcement surprised Matthews officials and developer Lat Purser. Both were anticipating a new Wingate campus to be developed at the corner of Interstate 485 and John Street. The university purchased 8 acres there several years ago, part of a larger planned Wingate Commons development, and had been in talks with Purser about building the new facility. Robert Supernaw, Wingate’s vice president for graduate and professional programs, said several factors played into the university’s decision to relocate. “It did not appear to be a viable project at this time,” said Supernaw. “We were hoping there would be a lot of retail around the property we had purchased. We didn’t want to be out there all by ourselves. “And the Ballantyne offer trumped everything. It was already built with infrastructure all around. There is ample ability to expand, ample parking and security. This appeared to be a much more viable option, at least for the next few years.” Bissell Co. President and CEO Ned Curran said in an email that the university is a welcome addition. “With Wingate’s presence in Ballantyne Corporate Park, we will strengthen our commitment to maximizing quality of life for those who work and live in the area,” Curran said. In an email, Purser said his company will be looking at alternatives for the site. “Wingate was a definite presence in Matthews Station for many years and, obviously, we had hoped to see that presence expanded at Wingate Commons,” said Purser. “With Wingate leaving the project, we have been looking at what variations of the current plan might be desirable for ourselves, as well.” “We feel that the economic changes of the past five years have shifted the way development should be balanced when deciding how strongly to weigh retail, office, service, institutional and residential against each other. As proud as we were of the Wingate Commons concept, we feel that certain re-balances might be appropriate and look forward to developing this property to its best potential.” Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor said the space Wingate leaves will offer additional opportunities for downtown.“While we are excited for Wingate’s new chapter in delivering educational opportunities, we are sorry to see them leave Matthews,” Taylor said.“But we are constantly fielding questions from business owners who are looking to move to Matthews. Wingate’s relocation will now free up space in our downtown core for multiple businesses.”
Friday, Jun. 14, 2013
Ballantyne offer ‘trumped everything’
Learn more: The 13,657-square-foot facility to which Wingate is moving will consist of 10 classrooms, administrative offices and a computer lab. Wingate University Ballantyne’s physical address will be 13024 Ballantyne Corporate Place, Suite 150, on the Ballantyne Commons Parkway near Interstate 485. Details: www.wingate.edu.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer for Union News. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less