CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A towering skyscraper crowned by a large, glass pyramid will soon transform uptown Charlotte by becoming one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.
Construction crews are already building the foundation next to Bank of America Stadium and I-277.
Many hope the enormous project will succeed in bringing the key retail industry to uptown when nothing else has.
The striking skyscraper called Legacy Union will rise 33 stories. It will be the city's fourth-tallest building.
Bank of America has already claimed most of its office space.
"I think it's a beautiful design. It's a very nice building. Probably will be great for the skyline," resident Godfrey Bell said.
The tower will pierce the sky but the developer is focused on how it will interact with people on the street.
"We created the large stairs that are like the Spanish steps in Rome and other great cities where people can gather," developer Johno Harris said.
He said they want to add a mix of places to eat, drink and shop that will make the large outdoor plaza the city's new front lawn.
Preliminary renderings show a plaza with a grassy meeting place lined with trees.
There are 10 acres, so developers have plenty of room to land hotels, apartments and retail shops.
In a business district dominated by the office crowd, many see the development as a chance to add something new.
"More shopping. Only shopping is South Park Mall, so it'd be great to have local boutiques up here,” resident Mollie Black said.
Her sister Katie chimed in, saying, "I'd like to see more culture up here."
The developer gave a nod to the history of the site Thursday morning as the Charlotte Observer's former headquarters.
Workers dressed like newspaper heralds handed out newspapers with information about the skyscraper to pedestrians.
"It'll make a difference. I think just one more building will make a difference here," resident Laura Black said.
Those who want to see how the project come together will have to wait a few years. The skyscraper is expected to be finished in 2019. Construction on other phases of the project could start in 2017.
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