By Joe Marusak and Danielle Chemtob
The owner of Ballantyne in south Charlotte announced plans Saturday for a 25-acre town center development that will include shops, restaurants, parks, an amphitheater and 2,000 apartments.
The Northwood Office LLC development is planned for land the developer owns between the Ballantyne and Aloft hotels, Northwood president John Barton said at a community meeting at the hotel on Saturday morning, multiple media outlets reported. Barton did not know how much of an investment the project would involve, according to the reports.
The developer told reporters at the meeting that he intends to seek a rezoning for the land this summer and start construction of the first phase of the project by early 2020. The first phase, called Ballantyne Center for now, will include 1,000 multifamily units and about 150,000 square feet of retail, a spokeswoman told The Charlotte Observer.
Corporations seek trendy, walkable areas
The plans come as major corporations look to trendy, walkable areas like South End for corporate relocations. In April, Lending Tree announced it would move its headquarters from Ballantyne, where it had been since 2000, to South End. The financial technology company cited South End’s amenities, such as access to light rail, that would help it attract workers in a competitive labor market.
Ballantyne is a 2,000-acre community whose business park has over 4 million square feet of office space and includes such companies as Brighthouse Financial, Wells Fargo and TIAA.
Northwood Investors bought the corporate park in 2017 from local developer the Bissell Cos. The $1.2 billion sale was the single largest transaction in Charlotte real estate history.
The corporate park sits on what was once farmland, hunting fields and trees formerly owned by the Harris family. The Bissell Cos., founded by local developer Smoky Bissell, started developing the site more than two decades ago. Bissell also developed land in the SouthPark area with longtime developer Johnny Harris before starting work on Ballantyne.
Last month, Northwood Office announced that construction of a mixed-use, office and apartment project had begun. When completed, the 11-story office tower would be the tallest building in the corporate park, The Charlotte Observer previously reported. The apartments would be the first located within the corporate park. It was the first project announced under the park’s new ownership.
This article was originally published in The Charlotte Observer.