University City

Landlord seeks zoning change

Plans for a community theater and nightclub in Derita are on hold until the Charlotte City Council decides whether to grant rezoning for the project.

Louis G. Ratcliffe Inc., a longtime Derita family business, has requested rezoning of more than 3 acres at West Sugar Creek Road and North Graham Street.

Mixed-use zoning is needed for a business where alcohol is served.

The former Eckerd drugstore building is zoned as commercial and office space.

"This fills a need in the community," said David Ratcliffe, the company's vice president. "They can put on talent shows and workshops and theater productions."

Louis Ratcliffe Inc. also operates a floral wholesale and brokerage business known as Derita Floral Supply.

For decades, the Ratcliffe family had a retail shop on South Tryon Street in uptown. Today, the company's warehouse is on West Sugar Creek Road.

The company's tenants at the nearby commercial and office space Derita Corners include Players Sporting Goods, which has been a tenant for about 17 years in a former Harris Teeter building.

Rhodies Barber & Styling and Citizens Tax and Financial Services relocated to the former Eckerd building from properties in the path of the Graham Street Connector project, Ratcliffe said. That project will extend Graham Street to Mallard Creek Road.

Others who have shown interest in a remaining space hoped to open a check-cashing center or a computer sweepstakes game room.

A local playwright signed a lease for the 4,000-square-foot space in October. Catering also would be part of the business at The Nile Theatre.

The city's planning staff is still reviewing the rezoning request.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the request July18.

Louis Ratcliffe Inc. will host a community meeting, as required for rezoning, June28 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2020 W. Sugar Creek Road.