Mecklenburg County to vote on Project Charlotte spending

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The redevelopment of 7th and Tryon would bring a new office tower, apartments, hotel and plaza to a two-block plaza in the downtown area.

The redevelopment of 7th and Tryon would bring a new office tower, apartments, hotel and plaza to a two-block plaza in the downtown area.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners will vote Tuesday on spending $15.6 million to help fund public improvements related to a major downtown redevelopment.

The developer, Virginia-based Metropolitan Partnership, has requested a public-private partnership to fund $24.4 million in public improvements, such as 250 parking spaces, an outdoor plaza, an expanded bike path and the reconstruction and l street improvement.

It is the next step in the start of construction of the $600 million 7th and Tryon project which is expected to bring a new office tower, apartment building, plaza and other improvements to a block of about two squares from the city center.

Although technically a separate project, a new $154.5 million, 115,000 square foot Main Library branch and two theaters in Spirit Square will be incorporated into 7th and Tryon.

The library, theaters and the 7th and Tryon project will be connected by plazas, county officials said, meaning there has been a lot of design coordination between the two.

The county will vote to pay for its share of public improvements with tax-raising grants.

A tax increase grant, or TIG, typically works like this: a developer builds a new taxable property, and the city and county then reimburse the developer for a portion of the new taxes to help pay for the project.

Grants are provided on a reimbursement-only basis and are not paid until the entire project is complete, according to the City of Charlotte’s website.

The county will pay its share over 15 years, or about $1.1 million a year, according to county documents.

The city of Charlotte has yet to vote on its share of $8.8 million in tax increase grant improvements; a presentation on tax subsidies is scheduled for next month and a vote will take place at a later meeting, a city spokesperson told the Observer.

7th & Tryon Rendering - View of the tower from 6th street.jpg
A view from 6th Street in downtown of a proposed office tower as seen in this rendering. The tower would be part of the redevelopment of 7th and Tryon. Rendered courtesy of the County of Mecklenburg

Downtown Revitalization at 7th and Tryon Streets

The $600 million 7th and Tryon project includes construction of a 17-story, 400,000 square foot office tower along 6th Street and a 354-unit apartment tower.

It also includes a public parking lot, an outdoor community plaza around 6th and 8th streets, a 200-room hotel and numerous businesses, according to the latest county documents.

Most of the county’s tax grant share, $13.7 million, will go toward building 250 public parking spaces. The office tower will have 100 of these spaces; the building will contain the rest.

That works out to $54,897 per seat. The development team originally planned to build the underground parking lot, County Executive Dena Diorio told commissioners this month. This option turned out to be too expensive, she said. It would have cost around $80,000 per seat.

About $5 million of the grant will go toward building the plaza, including decorative paving, art, seating and landscaping. The developers will also extend an existing bike path along 6th Street.

The project is seen as a step towards revitalizing an approximately two square block section of downtown.

Two years ago, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners voted to move forward with the sale of public land and allocate $14.5 million for affordable housing on properties adjacent to the development and elsewhere in the count.

Last year, commissioners approved nearly $3.8 million for four ongoing affordable housing development projects by nonprofit developer DreamKey Partners.

The money will come from the sale of the 1.5 downtown blocks designated for the Seventh and Tryon project.

Downtown construction schedule

The next step in the plan would be for the city, county and Bank of America to complete the sale of the land within six months, Mark Hahn, the county’s director of asset and facility management, told commissioners this month.

Demolition and construction would then begin with an estimated completion date of around mid-2025.

In October, the plan called for the new main library and theaters to open in late 2025, according to county spokeswoman Pam Escobar. The total cost of the new library and renovations to the McGlohon and Duke Energy theaters is $154.5 million, Escobar told the Observer.

The library and Spirit Square closed to the public this fall.

This story was originally published March 14, 2022 2:02 p.m.

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Gordon Rago covers the growth and development of The Charlotte Observer. He was previously a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., and began his journalism career in 2013 at the Shoshone News-Press in Idaho.

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