Plans unveiled for massive west Charlotte 'River District'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Real estate developers announced Wednesday a plan to overhaul part of west Charlotte and turn it into a booming business, residential and shopping hub.

Crescent Communities and Lincoln Harris filed a rezoning petition for roughly 1,300 acres between Charlotte Douglas International Airport and the Catawba River. They hope to build a walkable, mixed-use community in an area referred to as Charlotte’s River District.

The tentatively named "River District" would include:

  • 40 percent of the total acreage preserved for greenways, parks, trails and open spaces
  • A waterfront gathering space that will be open to the public
  • 8 million square feet of office space
  • 500,000 square feet of retail space
  • 4,000 single-family homes and multifamily units, hotels
  • Hundreds of acres of green space and other community amenities

Crescent and Lincoln Harris had been talking about the potential for a development on the west side of Charlotte for the past two years and are now working to coordinate their plans for the area with the City of Charlotte and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Construction of the development would take years to finish due to how large it would be.

“The River District represents a rare opportunity to master-plan a walkable community where people can live, work, shop and play within a natural setting,” said Brian Leary, president of commercial and mixed use at Crescent Communities. “With our partners at Lincoln Harris, we look forward to building a diverse, accessible destination that will benefit the entire Charlotte region.”

Crescent and Lincoln Harris have partnered together in the past on projects, including Piedmont Town Center, the mixed-use development in SouthPark.

One Charlotte leader said it will be a thriving area for residents and is full of promise.

“We have 20,000 people at the airport now,” Charlotte City Council at-large member Vi Lyles said. “Think about the opportunities for other business growth that utilize the airport. Think about the people living close to the airport now who will have job opportunities.

Developers said the project would be a unique addition to Charlotte.

“With unparalleled access to the airport and major interstates, the River District will be a destination unlike anything else in the Southeast, and we are thrilled to be working with Crescent Communities on this transformative development that will bring sustained economic development to an important growth corridor in Charlotte,” said John W. Harris III, president of Lincoln Harris.

A rezoning hearing is expected to take place during the third quarter of 2016. The project would take decades to complete.

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