Development

New development on old Observer site could total 5 million square feet

Construction at the former Charlotte Observer site, with Church Street in between the two halves of the nearly 10-acre tract.
Construction at the former Charlotte Observer site, with Church Street in between the two halves of the nearly 10-acre tract.

The development underway at the former Charlotte Observer site uptown could total 5 million square feet of residences, offices, hotels, shops, restaurants and open space, according to city documents.

The developers, Charlotte-based Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs, are requesting air rights from the city to build a pedestrian bridge over South Church Street, bridging the two sides of the site.

Charlotte City Council approved that component of the plan Monday at their meeting, where they agreed to accept a payment of $67,350 from the development partnership for the value of the air rights.

The developers have been tight-lipped about the project so far, except for one component. Bank of America is leasing about 500,000 square feet in an office tower that’s under construction now, with an expected opening date of 2019.

620 South Tryon PUBLICATION IMAGE 02 (3)
620 South Tryon, an office building that will be anchored by Bank of America. LS3P; Hal Shute

“The proposed development will include up to 5,000,000 square feet, including office, hotel, retail, residential and open space components,” city staff wrote in their description of the pedestrian bridge.

For comparison, the Duke Energy Center across Stonewall Street is about 1.5 million square feet. SouthPark mall totals about 1.6 million square feet. The Lincoln Harris/Goldman Sachs plan, at 5 million square feet, would be one of the largest development projects ever uptown.

Johno Harris, president of Lincoln Harris, couldn’t immediately be reached for more information Wednesday. Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs bought the 10 acres that were home to the Observer and Reeves Sheet Metal for about $37.5 million last year.

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In addition to the proposed pedestrian bridge, a tunnel runs between the two sides of the site, beneath Church Street. The tunnel was formerly used by the Observer to move bales of newsprint from a storage warehouse under the Church Street parking deck into the basement of the main Observer building, which fed into the printing presses.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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