By Ashley Fahey, Charlotte Business Journal
June 16, 2020
Two major redevelopments took a big step forward on Monday after members of Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to approve both of them.
Rezonings were approved for the redevelopment of Atrium Health’s midtown flagship campus and the former Eastland Mall property to accommodate, in both cases, substantial projects that would reimagine two key sites in midtown and east Charlotte.
The Atrium rezoning, which covers about 70 acres at Carolinas Medical Center, will allow a new bed tower, rehabilitation hospital, medical and general office space, colleges or universities, dormitories and affordable housing. Part of the midtown campus will be razed to make way for new health-care facilities, but the rezoning also allows an increase in development to 4.8 million square feet, up from the existing 3.3 million square feet at CMC.
The rezoning for Eastland includes 78 acres of mostly city-owned land at North Sharon Amity and Albemarle roads and Central Avenue. It will accommodate a Major League Soccer headquarters and mixed-use development. Plans call for up to 1,050 residential units and a range of commercial uses, such as retail, office, hotels, athletic fields and operations buildings, transit facilities and public parks.
Charlotte-based Crosland Southeast is leading the redevelopment along with the city and Tepper Sports & Entertainment.
The Atrium rezoning had a number of nearby residents signed up in opposition at the project’s public hearing last month. But Larken Egleston, district council member, said Monday the Dilworth Community Association was supportive of the changes made to the rezoning by Atrium after several meetings and negotiations with the organization. The DCA was previously agnostic on the petition.
Changes include a firm commitment to providing affordable housing if residential development is pursued and changes to building height on a portion of the site.
“I think an incredible amount of work has gone into this,” Egleston said.
Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt said the petition was a tough one.
“Atrium has worked collaboratively with neighbors but it does affect a lot of people,” Eiselt said. “It’s frankly an elephant in the neighborhood. This could be something that is a catalyst for that neighborhood or it’s something that just overwhelms it.”
She said she hoped the hospital system would work with developers on future projects so the Dilworth area has a campus feel. ZOM Living and other developers are potentially pursuing a mixed-use project that would stretch from the southern edge of Atrium’s campus out to East Boulevard, including where the Dilworth Starbucks is today.
During the Eastland Mall vote, council member Dimple Ajmera said the board has received many emails requesting a delay for the vote and expressing concerns about the future of Eastland’s skateboard park, open-air market and other issues.
Discussions on those topics will continue, even after rezoning approval, Ajmera said. “We do need to address economic opportunities in east Charlotte,” she said, adding many residents must travel out of the district for work.
Council member Matt Newton, who represents the district that includes Eastland, said it was encouraging to see where the plan stands today.
“After this passes tonight, I’m really, really looking forward to what will become a very dynamic, wonderful development at the Eastland site,” he said.
Other rezoning petitions approved on Monday: