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A big bank is opening a Charlotte ‘innovation studio’ at a repurposed old factory

Ally Financial is the latest tenant to sign on at Camp North End, a major renovation that’s transforming old warehouses, a former car factory and missile plant north of uptown Charlotte into hip new office and retail space.

The bank will open a 2,200 square-foot “innovation studio” at Camp North End, developer ATCO Properties & Management said Monday. Ally Financial is also the anchor tenant for a 26-story building at Stonewall and South Tryon streets, under development by Crescent Communities, that’s scheduled to open in 2021.

Ally’s Camp North End space will be called TM Studio. Ally teams will rotate through the space doing “rapid prototyping and design sprints for new consumer banking concepts,” the bank said in a statement. Jobs will include user experience designers, product engineers and web developers.

“This new lease gives the company the unique ability to expand and further cultivate a center for innovation in the North End Smart District,” said Damon Hemmerdinger, co-president at ATCO Properties & Management, in a statement.

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ATCO paid more than $15.6 million for the site, and plans to renovate four other old warehouses and factories between North Graham Street and Statesville Avenue, as well as add new buildings. Eventually, the site will include up to 1.5 million square feet of office space, much of it in renovated industrial buildings, as well as up to 1,500 new apartments and a hotel.

Ally Bank’s space will be located at the “Boileryard,” a central space that was once home to a huge boiler which powered much of the factory operations there almost a century ago. The 75-acre site between Statesville and North Graham streets has been home to everything from Ford Model Ts to Hercules missiles to a munitions dump to a Rite Aid Distribution center.

“Our goal through TM Studio is to expand our foundational culture of innovative thinking to further transform business processes, leverage design thinking principles and deliver innovative solutions for consumers,” said Anand Talwar, an executive with Ally overseeing deposit and consumer strategy.

Early retail tenants and some smaller users have already moved in, including a coffee roaster, a custom motorcycle builder, a nonprofit fostering black tech workers and entrepreneurs, a hair salon and Goodyear Arts.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; @ESPortillo
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