University City

Report: University City economic growth of past year could attract more

A report detailing the mix of development the University City area has seen over the past 12 months could be a tool for attracting more growth in the future, according to officials say.

University City Partners recently released its first economic development report for the area. According to that report, 61 public and private construction and renovation projects have been announced, are underway or have been completed.

The sale of 10 large properties also contributed to the $2.4 billion development investment in the area, according to the report.

“There’s a tremendous investment in infrastructure and commercial real estate,” said Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners.

The report is broken down according to the type of development: office, residential, institution, hospitality, retail, transportation/infrastructure and property sales.

Residential development included multifamily apartment communities, as well as four student housing developments.

Electrolux was one of the office projects included in the report, after the company announced plans to construct a six-story building beside its headquarters on David Taylor Drive. Construction is scheduled be finished by fall 2017.

Institutional development included multiple projects on the UNC Charlotte campus, as well as the announcement from Elevation Church that it plans to construct a four-story building on IBM Drive.

Heater said she and her staff needed about three months to compile the information.

The goal will be to refresh the report every six months, she said.

“We often hear that development follows investment and infrastructure.  (The report) is a very compelling document,” she said.

Heater joined University City Partners in December 2013.

She said meetings with municipal and civic organizations, as well as commercial developers and property owners, made it clear that UCP needed to compile the development data in one place.

“There was a lot of information and a lot happening. Until you put that together in a complete source, it doesn’t create a complete picture,” she said.

The report was created to support future growth, as well as to establish University City Partners as a resource for those interested in development or business in the area, Heater said.

A number of factors have contributed to the growth during the past year, particularly the development of the Blue Line Extension of Charlotte’s Lynx light rail system.

The light rail will create even more access in addition to Interstate 77, I-85 and the projected completion of the I-485 outerbelt, Heater said.

Growth on the UNC Charlotte campus also helped spur other types of development in the surrounding area, Heater said, calling the university the area’s anchor.

The availability of undeveloped property also has made the area attractive.

“There’s a lot of momentum, and (there is) a reason it’s occurring up in this area,” Heater said.

“University City is very well positioned for future growth and development.”