Apartments and shops could be heading to this former manufacturing site near uptown

Concrete maker Metromont closed its facility north of uptown last year.
Concrete maker Metromont closed its facility north of uptown last year. Google Earth

Developers are looking to turn the former site of a concrete plant into a mixed-use development, in what they hope will add life to a largely industrial area just north of uptown.

Owner Sugar Creek Ventures LLC and developer Dan Wendover, with CapRock LLC, are hoping to build multifamily units, townhomes, retail and potentially office space on the 18.5-acre site at 4101 Greensboro Street, near East Sugar Creek Road. Wendover said they don’t have site plans yet, but have started to talk with community groups. Sugar Creek Ventures submitted a rezoning petition for the site in January, city records show.

The goal, Wendover said, is to help connect from the Sugar Creek light rail station — which is about a block away — to the businesses on North Tryon Street.

In the year since the Blue Line extension has been open, more than $800 million worth of new projects have been recently completed or are underway. Wendover said the Metromont facility, and neighboring industrial sites, are the next part of that development boom.

“I’d like to think that this is kind of an impetus to redevelopment of the area,” Wendover said. “That can create some connectivity.”

‘Too valuable’

Sugar Creek Ventures purchased the property from concrete manufacturer Metromont last year for $7.5 million, county records show.

Metromont closed its plant last year, moving operations to its Greenville, S.C., facility which resulted in a loss of 72 local jobs, the Observer reported at the time. The Greenville-based manufacturer provided concrete for buildings like the Mint Museum, NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Hearst Tower.

Across Charlotte, former manufacturing plants, mills and other facilities are being redeveloped into retail and office space. While Wendover said it would be too difficult to adapt the buildings on the Metromont site into something else he hopes the surrounding area will embrace the concept.

The project would need to be approved by the City Council. Greg Godley, a partner at Legacy Real Estate Advisors who is working with the owner, said the first public hearing is scheduled for May.

Mark Middlesworth, president of community nonprofit NorthEnd Partners, said it likely won’t be the only rezoning petition to come to the City Council for that area. “This land is just too valuable to be sitting here with warehouses on it for too long,” he said.

Developer Flywheel Group has several projects planned or underway nearby as part of a 43-acre development at Sugar Creek light rail station, including the Station House, a redevelopment of an industrial site. The Charlotte Art League moved into the building last year after a redevelopment project pushed the group out of its South End location.

Still, Middlesworth worries that the area could turn into another South End — with an influx of development and not enough big-picture planning.

It’s going to change rapidly and we need to be cautious of how it’s going to change,” he said.

A time lapse tour of Charlotte locations.

Tax incentives

There’s also another benefit to developing the site, Godley said — it’s part of a federal program designed to help spur investment in economically distressed areas.

Created through the tax overhaul Congress passed in 2017, the program provides tax incentives to those who invest in property in census tracts known as Opportunity Zones. There are Opportunity Zones across the country, but in Charlotte, those areas include a large part of the west side and an area north of uptown that includes North Tryon Street, but stops short of NoDa.

Middlesworth also owns Extravaganza Events, at 1610 North Tryon St., and said he’s frequently being contacted about his property due to the program. His property value jumped from $542,800 to $1.2 million in the most recent countywide revaluation, county records show, and he thinks the Opportunity Zone program is part of the reason.

Still, he welcomes the change. He said the area needs more walkability and road connections to access NoDa.

“You can’t stop progress,” he said. “The sooner, the better.”

Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.