CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AXIOS) – The City of Charlotte wants to go [to] new depths and take the Charlotte Transportation Center underground.
What’s happening: The city’s economic development committee’s Monday meeting included discussing a key component of last week’s proposed upgrades for Spectrum Center and building the Charlotte Hornets a new practice facility in a redeveloped CTC.
Why it matters: CTC, which opened in 1995, has “outlived its utility from a mobility standpoint,” according to CATS CEO John Lewis.
- The city hopes the renovations will spark a district that would turn Brevard Street into a festival street.
Yes, but: It’s expensive to build underground in Uptown.
- Figures for the project’s cost are not public yet.
- But if the city does decide to go that route, they have examples like Denver, Colorado to look to.
» Related: Charlotte leaders to discuss second draft of Unified Development ordinance
One of the biggest changes would be removing the regulations on short-term rentals like Airbnbs.
However, the project comes with additional concerns beyond cost.
- At-large council member Greg Phipps said he wasn’t comfortable with a facility like this “in the basement with all the other things on top of it.” He also said he’s concerned about air quality with buses and CTC workers being confined underground.
- However, CATS is in the process of transitioning to an electric fleet, and Lewis said buses running on fossil fuels could use other stations instead.
- Mayor Vi Lyles compared the project with the airport, because both have underground elements.
- Plus the goal is to make CTC feel like an airport terminal rather than a parking garage.
Details: The new CTC would consist of two towers, featuring street-level retail, the Hornets’ $60 million practice facility, plus hotel rooms, offices or residential units.
- The Hornets’ new two-court practice facility would slide between the two towers.
- The city received three unsolicited bids for the project, and selected Dallas-based Dart Interests and White Point Partners. The latter is a Charlotte-based development group that transformed Optimist Hall.
Yes, but: Plan B for a new practice facility is the gravel lot on Caldwell Street across from Spectrum Center.
What they’re saying: “CTC is much bigger than a practice facility,” Tracy Dodson, assistant city manager and economic development director, said during Monday’s economic development committee meeting. “It’s much bigger than a transit facility, but it has to be a transit facility first and foremost.”
What’s next: Council would vote on the project, including Spectrum Center renovations, as soon as June 13.
Take a look at the renderings, all courtesy of the city of Charlotte.
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