‘North Tryon Vision Plan’ to be unveiled Thursday

The north side of uptown, seen looking east from the new SkyHouse apartment tower roof.
The north side of uptown, seen looking east from the new SkyHouse apartment tower roof.

The vision for Charlotte’s “North End” should get a bit more clear Thursday, when Charlotte Center City Partners unveils a draft plan that’s meant to guide development in a part of the city that could be on the cusp of a boom.

The “North Tryon Vision Plan” covers the area bounded by North Poplar Street, Fifth Street, North Caldwell Street and 13th Street, a 50-square-block rectangle that straddles parts of First and Fourth wards uptown. The city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Foundation for the Carolinas and other local groups have been working with Center City Partners and MIG Inc. consultants on the plan for almost a year.

The area on uptown’s north side hasn’t grown as fast as the south side of Tryon Street, where developments such as the Charlotte Knights ballpark, the Levine cultural campus and museums and a slew of apartments have transformed whole blocks. Still, developments such as the SkyHouse apartment towers on North Church Street, First Ward Park and Blue Line Extension have started to change the north side of uptown.

The “vision plan” is supposed to lay out a broad framework and help catalyze development. It won’t have the force of law or tell developers what they can and can’t build, but the document will still be influential in planning and redeveloping the area.

Despite everything the North Tryon area has going for it, the area still faces challenges. Negative perception is still an issue, and surface parking lots and pedestrian dead spaces dot much of the landscape.

And as my colleague Mark Price detailed, there’s conflict between some business owners and two facilities, the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and Urban Ministry Center, that serve the homeless in the area. The facilities draw hundreds who walk in the area to access services and shelter, which the nonprofit North End Partners has called an “eyesore.” The group has said the North Tryon corridor won’t reach its full development potential until the centers are relocated.

Center City Partners CEO Michael Smith has said it makes sense to keep the shelters near uptown and transportation options, rather than shunting them away to harder-to-reach areas, and the groups plan to stay. North End Partners isn’t a partner on the “vision plan.”

Center City Partners is hosting a reception to publicly discuss the plans and get feedback Thursday night at UNC Charlotte’s uptown building. The event was open to the public, but it is full and registration is closed.

Check back later this afternoon for a story with more details about the plan.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo