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Posted: 6:12 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
By Jim Bradley
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
For years, city leaders have struggled to find a way to re-energize development on Wilkinson Boulevard. But now a four-story building many hoped would be the catalyst for big change sits empty.City leaders told Channel 9 finding a new tenant is critical for the area.Just five years after it was built, with a bird’s-eye view of the uptown skyline, the former Charlotte School of Law building is vacant.The school has moved and now the parking lots are empty, neighboring lots are overgrown and the promise of new growth is stalled once again.“The School of Law was moving onto Wilkinson Boulevard was going to be a catalyst. Unfortunately, we know that economy dipped,” said Charlotte City Council Lawana Mayfield.And with that dip, the original plan for more office buildings and 2,000 homes never materialized.That’s a major disappointment for west side boosters like Greg Auten, who built his popular Pinky’s restaurant a few blocks away.“We had high hopes for it because they said they were going to build more and it was going to be this massive complex,” said Auten.The only signs of progress are the classroom trailers for a charter school going in across the street.City Economic Development Manager Brad Richardson admits any more new development is uncertain at best.“We’ll see a different kind of development. Probably not the intensity that you expected five years ago,” Richardson said.But Richardson and others believe the key rests in breathing new life into the building.“It’s a great location and conversations are very real and happening to make sure that space doesn’t stay dark for long,” Mayfield said.The firm marketing the property didn’t respond to Channel 9’s request for an interview. But Mayfield said there is no one right now expressing immediate interest in moving there. She said the first step is to change that.
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