by: Jim Bradley Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Big changes could be coming to east Charlotte that some say could transform the Monroe Road corridor.
At the abandoned Silver Oak Apartment complex, the residents are long gone, doors and windows are broken or boarded up and a wrecking ball will soon be on the way.
"It has been pretty dreadful," said neighbor Kathy Hill.
But Hill is more interested in what's coming next for the land, which sits along Monroe Road between Idlewild Road and Conference Drive.
She's talking about the landowner's plan to tear down the old apartments and build a complex of upscale apartments, shops and businesses.
The development will be called Meridian Place and is expected to resemble the kind of buildings going up in Southend.
"We want to bring our families and have dinner and a drink and come for ice cream and stroll around," Hill said.
The 20-acre site sits in the shadow of blight along East Independence Boulevard where years of road construction have devastated local businesses.
But Meridian Place has shops and businesses facing Monroe Road.
Urban planner David Walters said it's just the kind of development east Charlotte needs.
"Buildings have got to front up to streets. There's got to be shop fronts, there's got to be stoops, doorways, windows. The old cliché ‘eyes on the street’ is totally true," Walters said. "This could be a real transformative project that would set a new direction for that part of town."
Developer Roy Goode wasn't available for comment about his plans, but associates said he is planning an announcement regarding the project soon.
City Councilman John Autry said while so much energy has been spent on the prospects for the old Eastland Mall property along Central Avenue, it is Monroe Road that might see an impact first.
"Once we have the community coalescing around it and supporting it and participating with these shops and vendors that are going to be in there, I think that's just going to help encourage that same kind of redevelopment all up and down Monroe Road," Autry said.
Find out more about the project by clicking here.