City picks firms it plans to move forward with on big Transportation Center revamp

The city said Wednesday that it had selected White Point and its partner, Dart Interests, to begin discussions over the redevelopment of the Charlotte Transportation Center, potentially a nearly $400 million project.

The city received an unsolicited offer this year from High Point-based BPR Properties to redevelop the center, which is a main hub for city buses. After that, the Charlotte Area Transit System opened a competitive proposal process that ended in July.

In a statement, CATS CEO John Lewis said the current transit center, which opened in 1995, is aging.

“We have the opportunity to convert the current CTC into a center of activity that supports current transit customers while meeting the city’s growing transit and development goals,” he said.

In the statement, CATS said the selection marks the beginning of discussion between city officials and the two firms to see if the project is feasible. If the project is determined to be feasible, the city would enter into a development agreement with the joint venture. City Council would need to authorize the plans.

The city said it selected the joint venture because of its ability to “meet the city’s future transit needs” and provide a temporary location for the transportation center, as well as its approach to the design and financial position.

The main financial contribution the city expects to make to the project is the value of the land the CTC sits on, the city said in the statement. In their proposal, the firms said they would ask CATS to give the property to an entity that they would manage.

CATS would license or lease the new transit center for free.

“The market came to us with compelling redevelopment proposals at a time when we recognize a future investment in the CTC is on the horizon,” Assistant City Manager Tracy Dodson said in a statement.

Dodson said through the proposal process, the city found a “strong partnership opportunity.”

The discussions will take place over the next couple of months, CATS spokeswoman Juliann Sheldon said.

In addition to BPR and the White Point/Dart partnership, Crescent Communities also submitted plans to redevelop the center. Crescent later said that it withdrew its proposal, but did not say why.

Two options

According to records obtained by the Observer this month, Charlotte developer White Point and Texas-based Dart are proposing two options for the site’s redevelopment.

In the first option, the firms would build a 20-story office building, a hotel and retail, with a ground-floor bus facility. Plans for the second option call for a 30-story tower and moving the transit center one block to the southwest.

In their proposal, the firms said the cost of the first option would be around $375 million, while the second plan would be about $387 million.

The goal, according to the firms’ proposal, is to create a “large-scale, mixed-use development” in the area.

“The opportunity to create a high-density, transit-focused development is unparalleled, and we look forward to commencing the process,” White Point co-founder Jay Levell said in a statement Wednesday.

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