Politics & Government

Charlotte approves Marshall Park extension, nixing key hurdle for Brooklyn Village 

A possible city-county showdown over the future development of Marshall Park was avoided Monday, when Charlotte City Council voted to extend agreements related to Mecklenburg County’s effort to redevelop a total of 17 acres in uptown.

Council members approved two separate agreements related to the proposed Brooklyn Village project. The agreements are with the county and the Charlotte Housing Authority.

One would extend the county’s deadline by a decade to sell Marshall Park, which was previously city-owned land in Second Ward. The second agreement slightly increases the amount of affordable housing.

Council members last month deferred a vote on these agreements, saying they didn’t have enough information about the implications of extending the deadline.

Mecklenburg County obtained the park in 2007 through a land swap with Charlotte in exchange for the site now home to BB&T Ballpark. That agreement stated the city could retake the Marshall Park at no cost if the county did not sell it by Dec. 31, 2019. The new agreement extends the deadline to sell to 2029.

Though the city is not directly involved in the redevelopment deal, several council members said it is important to pay attention to the development’s future.

Council member Dimple Ajmera said she still has concerns. She joined Council member LaWana Mayfield to vote against the agreements.

“I don’t want to see 10 years down the road that again it comes back to us,” Ajmera said of the deadline to sell the land. “There is a history here, and you’ve got to look at the history and vote based on that.”

The land where Marshall Park sits is part of the proposed $683 million Brooklyn Village project, which includes plans for apartments, condos, a hotel and offices, as well as shops and restaurants and open space.

The agreement with the housing authority increases the number of units reserved for tenants with housing vouchers from 30 to 35 and guarantees those units will stay income-restricted for 30 years.

Under the 2018 master redevelopment agreement between the county and BK Partners, the park would shrink from 5.5 acres to 1.6 acres. No land sale has been finalized.

BK Partners consists of Charlotte-based Conformity Corp. and the Peebles Corporation. Don Peebles, who leads the New York-based firm, has accused some city council members, county commissioners and community leaders who are now questioning the deal of “sabotage.”

This work was made possible in part by grant funding from Report for America/GroundTruth Project and the Foundation For The Carolinas.

Lauren Lindstrom is a reporter for the Charlotte Observer covering affordable housing. She previously covered health for The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, where she wrote about the state’s opioid crisis and childhood lead poisoning. Lauren is a Wisconsin native, a Northwestern University graduate and a 2019 Report for America corps member.
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