Road improvements surrounding the burgeoning development around Providence Road and I-485 are ongoing, Charlotte Department of Transportation officials told a full room at the Ballantyne Hotel as part of an update on issues that affect the Ballantyne community.
Carlos Alzate, engineering project manager with Charlotte Department of Transportation, acknowledged May 13 that traffic moving north on Providence Road in the mornings can back up considerably to enter I-485 ramp. He said that plans to add a right turn lane to the interchange – while still in beginning stages – should help.
“This will benefit a lot of people who commute from farther south on Providence Road,” Alzate said.
Traffic is expected to continue to increase in the area as construction progresses on Waverly, Rea Farms and Providence Farms, three new developments that will bring housing, retail and office space all around the intersection of Providence Road and Ardrey Kell Road.
Waverly and Rea Farms are expected to generate more than 50,000 vehicle trips per day, Alzate said.
Alzate and other officials from private and public agencies addressed the crowd at a meeting of the Ballantyne Breakfast Club, which meets regularly to share information with the community about pertinent issues.
Dan Gallagher, Charlotte Department of Transportation transportation planning manager, outlined the “breakneck speed” of the area’s growth and noted that on average 44 people a day move to Charlotte – a rate of growth he said could continue for 20 years.
“As a community, we’ve got to address how we’re going to accommodate that level of growth,” he said.
In the Providence Road area, transportation improvements include a new I-485 interchange at Weddington Road with construction slated for 2018 and improvements at the intersection of Providence and McKee roads. Officials also discussed the possibility of widening of Ballantyne Commons Parkway.
Officials addressed issues surrounding the extension of Ardrey Kell Road through Waverly to Tilley Morris Road. While some of the extension will be built, a “missing piece” that runs across private land is not planned right now.
Other officials at the meeting addressed the Ballantyne Corporate Park, which the Bissell Co. sold earlier this year to Northwood Investors. Bissell spent more than 20 years developing the corporate park, a 535 master-planned business community.
Tom Pizzo, president of property services for Northwood Office, said Northwood was working to retain the Bissell Co.’s 600 employees and Northwood saw the Ballantyne Corporate Park as a “long-term opportunity.”
He described properties that Northwood has invested in in Europe and across the United States, including sites in Charlotte such as The Vue Charlotte on Fifth and the Pinehurst on Providence apartment complex.
Pizzo said Northwood Office planned to continue developing the corporate park and likely will publicize some of its ideas by the end of the year.
Audience questions included whether there were plans that would impact the The Golf Club at Ballantyne’s golf course, to which Pizzo replied that there weren’t at this time, and how the corporate park could attract more millennials.
Pizzo said that was one of their “top priorities” and they wanted to continue to “turn on this area after hours” with evening and weekend events.
Chris Thomas, a managing partner for retail with Childress Klein, also gave an update on Waverly. Development on the mixed-use property is “in the homestretch,” he said, and several key properties will open soon, including the grand opening of Whole Foods on the site later this month.
In response to audience questions, he acknowledged the ongoing construction while parts of the development had opened had been chaotic, but he said he hoped “the result will be worth it.”
Thomas also told an audience member concerned about parking that an 840-space parking structure that would open in two weeks would provide plenty of spaces. “We have enough parking at Waverly,” he said.
Developers soon should announce details about a spec office building and two women’s clothing boutiques that will open in Waverly, Thomas said.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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