Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s leaders envision a significant office and retail development just north of the airport, along with an automatic people mover to whisk passengers from Wilkinson Boulevard to the terminal.
The airport discussed its long-term vision Monday with City Council for the land surrounding the airport, much of which is privately owned.
Much of the plan calls for the development of warehouses and other transportation-related industries. But the airport wants to make its “front door” more appealing and useful to passengers as well. The front door is north of the airport and south of Interstate 85.
The airport said it would like to build an “office village” that could house airport-related employees, but also perhaps a business that simply wants to be close to the airport. The office park would have on-site meeting space.
Besides the office village, the airport hopes to partner with a private developer to build a “retail village” and a plaza nearby. Aviation director Brent Cagle said he believes the airport is now large enough that it creates demand for restaurants and stores nearby.
Cagle said the airport also believes there is a market for a limited-service hotel that would be built near the office village and retail.
The airport said it doesn’t know where the development would be located, though land along Wilkinson Boulevard would be viable.
Charlotte Douglas would like to build an automatic people mover to connect the hotel and retail village to the terminal. The people mover could also be adjacent to a possible transit stop on Wilkinson Boulevard. The Charlotte Area Transit System has long-term plans to build either light-rail or a streetcar along Wilkinson Boulevard.
Some of the projects could take years to be built.
But the airport is looking to buy land along Wilkinson Boulevard, including a 40-acre site owned by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that’s for sale. It also plans to issue a request for proposals to build a gas station and convenience store at 5920 Wilkinson Blvd.