University City

Electrolux seeks rezoning to allow Charlotte University Research Park growth

The requested rezoning of 90 acres within University Research Park is just one recent component of the overall growth of the park, officials say.

In December, Electrolux North America Inc. announced plans to develop a second building, beside its existing headquarters, in an expansion that would create 810 local jobs by 2017.

The $85 million expansion will take about two years, company officials said. The six-floor building will have 375,000 square feet, be LEED-certified and feature solar panels and a rooftop garden, among other amenities.

The rezoning for the acreage – on the southeast quadrant of the intersection of David Taylor and Claude Freeman drives – has been requested to make the expansion possible, as well as construction of a new public street, according to the rezoning application.

Darlene Heater, executive director for University City Partners, said Electrolux’s expansion and the construction of the new street fit within the University Research Area Plan, which helps guide development in the park. The Charlotte City Council adopted the plan in June 2010.

The street will provide access for Electrolux employees and improve mobility inside the park. “The plan calls for additional roads to be built … to enhance opportunities for people to get in and out of the park in different ways, not adding more vehicles to fewer streets,” Heater said.

University City in general is the second-largest employment center in Charlotte, after uptown, and mobility and access will help the area remain attractive, Heater said.

Increasing greenway connectivity in and around the park, as well as making existing roads more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, are just a few of the priorities University City Partners is focused on.

Electrolux isn’t the only company in the park that’s growing, Heater said, noting Rack Room Shoes is doubling its campus size.

Crescent Communities’ Alexander Village, a new apartment community off Mallard Creek Church Road, is tentatively set to open in October, Heater said. Some residential and retail development is part of the area plan to transform the park from a tenant base made entirely of employers to mixed-use, making it a “live, work, play” destination, Heater said.

Other growth for University Research Park includes the 1,200-seat Elevation Church campus slated for Innovation Park, tentatively scheduled to open by Easter 2015.