Leaders lay out plans to revitalize area north of uptown

by: Jenna Deery Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bold plans were laid out Friday to revitalize the area just north of uptown Charlotte. City leaders have called it the Applied Innovation Corridor. It's an area that has been on the city's agenda to change for a while.
 
This week, a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute spent time studying the area which is roughly bordered by Interstate 277, Interstate 77, Interstate 85 and North Davidson Street. The panel is made up of property developers, urban planners and consultants. 
 
Former Orlando mayor, Glenda Hood chaired the panel that looked at the North End and made proposals to revamp it like Charlotte's South End, but with more of a focus on research and technology office space since UNC Charlotte is close by.
 
The panel found the area in need of an urban face lift with features like grocery, retail and office space, affordable housing and hotels, however; they found many of the city's zoning ordinances are outdated to support that kind of new construction.
 
Some suggestions include making the Amtrak station an anchor for a retail development like Union Station in Washington, D.C.
 
The panel also suggested burying I-277, turning it into a boulevard to break the barrier between Uptown and the North End.
 
Deputy city manager Ron Kimble said the ideas are bold and city leaders will consider them.
 
"Those will require more analysis, more research but clearly that's the value of a panel of experts coming," said Kimble. 
 
The owners of NoDa brewery moved their business to North Davidson Street because owner Todd Ford saw an opportunity for growth.
 
"We've seen a tremendous amount of people move to the area," said Ford.
 
City leaders say they will rely on public-private partnerships to fund the projects that have ford hopeful he invested in the right part of town.
 
"With a little additional planning, I think the outlook is really positive," said Ford. 
 
The panel called for the city to develop a North End Corporation to oversee the development.