Charlotte’s biggest redevelopment project in years wins approval

Camp North End mural.
Camp North End mural.

Charlotte City Council on Monday approved the city’s biggest redevelopment project in years, paving the way for huge changes to a former industrial site north of uptown.

The project, called Camp North End, will reshape more than 76 acres off Statesville Avenue that previously housed a Ford Model T factory, a Rite Aid distribution center, a munitions dump and a missile assembly plant. New York-based ATCO has spent almost $15.7 million acquiring the dilapidated warehouses and former factories between Statesville Avenue and North Graham Street.

The plan passed unanimously. It’s the latest in a series of major changes coming to Charlotte’s North End, including the Blue Line light rail extension, hundreds more apartments and a new, high-end butcher shop and brewery from Heist.

“This is a really transformative petition for this area in our city,” said Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

ATCO’s plan will take years to complete, and the developers envision reusing about two thirds of the buildings (mainly older ones) while tearing down and building new ones on other parts of the site. When it’s finished, the plan is expected to include up to:

▪ 1,500 apartments.

▪ 1.5 million square feet of office space.

▪ 200,000 square feet of shops and retail space.

▪ 300 hotel rooms.

▪ 80,000 square feet of restaurants, bars and other eating and drinking establishments.

▪ 65,000 square feet of light industrial space.

Council members said they expect the project to help the area, which District 2 representative Carlenia Ivory said was once one of the most “drug-infested areas in this city.”

But council member Vi Lyles said the city should take steps to protect residents from gentrification, as small, older bungalows shoot up in value.

“As we make this change, how do we protect those folks?” she asked.

Council member Kenny Smith, a Republican who is competing against Democrat Lyles in this fall’s mayoral election, said the project will “breathe new life” into the area, especially for small businesses reusing old warehouses.

Camp North End has already started signing up tenants. They include Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas; co-working space Hygge; Goodyear Arts, a nonprofit arts venue; as well as a local coffee roaster, custom motorcycle parts builder and marketing agency.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo