Development

Whitewater Center adds 488 acres with $5.3 million purchase

The U.S. National Whitewater Center at dusk. The center operates a variety of recreational facilities, including an artificial river, zip lines, rock climbing, mountain biking and trails. It has also been host site for the Canoe Slalom Olympic Trials and other competitions.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center at dusk. The center operates a variety of recreational facilities, including an artificial river, zip lines, rock climbing, mountain biking and trails. It has also been host site for the Canoe Slalom Olympic Trials and other competitions. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The U.S. National Whitewater Center has purchased 488 acres near its Charlotte campus, significantly expanding the recreational center’s holdings, according to real estate records filed this week.

The center, which borders the Catawba River north of Interstate 85, plans to preserve the area, which adds to the 700 acres it already owns.

“The U.S. National Whitewater Center’s plan for now is to preserve and protect the land in its natural state,” said Eric Osterhus, a representative for the center, in an email.

Much of the $5.3 million purchase is vacant land between the Whitewater Center’s entrance and Belmeade Drive. The Whitewater Center already owns a patchwork of parcels along the road; the new acreage extends and solidifies those holdings.

The center now totals more than 1,100 acres. Osterhus said the purchase was funded with income from operations. Real estate records show the center paid $1.2 million cash and will pay the balance by December 2020.

The center opened in 2006, with subsidies from local governments. In 2010, a group of more than 40 banks and other lenders forgave $38 million of the center’s debt, which amounted to roughly two-thirds of the center’s mortgage.

The center operates a variety of recreational facilities, including an artificial river, zip lines, rock climbing, mountain biking and trails.

It purchased the new land from Clariant Corp., a specialty chemical company whose North American headquarters are in Charlotte.

“Clariant has always been a great neighbor to us and was a great partner to work with on this deal,” Osterhus said.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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