Mecklenburg County to pay CMS $5.6 million for Walton Plaza site uptown

The Bob Walton Plaza on Stonewall Street.
The Bob Walton Plaza on Stonewall Street.

Mecklenburg County commissioners agreed this week to pay Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools just over $5.6 million for the school system’s 50 percent interest in a key piece of uptown land.

Walton Plaza, an office building jointly owned by CMS and the county, makes up a major part of the 17-acre Brooklyn Village plan to revitalize Second Ward. Last month, the county selected a development group called BK Partners to lead the redevelopment, with a plan to build a massive, $683-million, mixed-use development that would include 1,244 residential units, hotels, shops, restaurants and apartments.

Mecklenburg plans to sell the land to BK Partners for $50 million. The group, a partnership of national developer Peebles Corp. and local firm Conformity Corp., would then develop the project over the next decade.

Acquiring the Walton Plaza building outright is an important step in the process: The county will soon own all of the land required for Brooklyn Village (in addition Walton Plaza, the land includes Marshall Park and the former Board of Education building), and can proceed in negotiations with BK Partners.

“We will have obtained full ownership of all the properties,” said County Manager Dena Diorio, speaking at the commission’s Wednesday meeting.

Combined with the almost $21 million the county has agreed to pay CMS for the shuttered Board of Education building next to Marshall Park, Mecklenburg will have spent about $26 million acquiring the land necessary for Brooklyn Village. CMS is moving workers out of Walton Plaza, as is the county. The building should be vacated by 2018, but a county staff member said that the process can be sped up if need be.

County commission Chairman Trevor Fuller pointed out that the costs to Mecklenburg of acquiring CMS’s interest in the land will erase much of the county’s immediate proceeds from the Brooklyn Village land sale.

“Even though we hope that the revenue will be $50 million, the net is going to be half that, maybe,” said Fuller.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo