Under Way: Campus conference center, science building and more

Under Way: Campus conference center, science building and more

The crane looming over the ATAPCO apartment building on North Tryon Street is the biggest sign by far of a building boom across University City – but hardly the only one. Here’s a rundown of major projects under way at UNC Charlotte, including the conference center and hotel, science building, and campus recreation center. More “Under Way” reports: Hospitality, dining, shopping and greenway Office building renovations and major upfits Apartments and townhomes Marriott hotel and campus conference center – North Tryon Street at J W Clay LYNX station. Site clearing and blasting started recently for the 24,000-square-foot conference center and full-service 226-room Marriott Hotel. Total cost is $84 million. Completion is expected in late 2020. More Campus Recreation Center – Craver Road beside Popp-Martin Student Union. The new facility for student activities will offer indoor and outdoor pools, four multi-purpose courts, exercise equipment on four levels and 5 studios for fitness activities. The center will open in fall 2019. More New science building – The May 31 groundbreaking ceremony for the university’s $90 million science building featured a fitting “salute” of exploding chemicals. The building is under construction at Craver and Mary Alexander Roads. The facility will have 130,000 sf of classrooms and labs and will replace existing science facility erected in 1984. More Gage Undergraduate Admissions Center – University City Boulevard. The 18,000-square foot admissions center, located near the main campus entrance, will be a hub for visitors and prospective students when it opens later this year. This will be the starting point for campus tours and student orientation. Veterans Park – On University Road beside Memorial Hall,...
Under Way: Hospitality, retail, dining and greenway

Under Way: Hospitality, retail, dining and greenway

The crane looming over the ATAPCO apartment building on North Tryon Street is the biggest sign by far of a building boom across University City – but hardly the only one. Here’s a rundown of hotels, restaurants, retail and a greenway under way in University City. More “Under Way” reports: University hotel-conference center, science building and more Office building renovations and major upfits Apartments and townhomes Fairfield Inn and Suites – 535 Collins Aikman Drive. 105-room hotel located behind the Homes2Suites by Hilton on McCullough Drive. Construction bids were recently requested for a seven-story Hyatt Place hotel near the Fairfield Inn. More Armored Cow Brewing Co. – 8821 J W Clay Blvd. in University Place. New brew pub just opened. Specialty is gluten-free beer, along with other standards. Serving brunch, plus food-truck offerings. More. Facebook page Rack Room Shoes – IKEA Blvd at University City Blvd. New store joining Burlington, T.J. Maxx and Outback Steakhouse in cluster at Belgate Shopping Center. This store will replace existing store at University Place that will close soon for major property redevelopment. More about Belgate Chick-fil-A – University Executive Park Drive at W.T. Harris Blvd. Chick-fil-A at University Place will relocate to new building with twice the capacity and 34-vehicle drive-through lanes. Site has been cleared. Construction starting soon. Barton Creek Greenway – The new greenway will connect J W Clay Boulevard in University Place to the Mallard and Clarks Creek greenways via a 0.7-mile paved path down a steep, rocky stream that winds between several residential communities. The trail may open late this year but more likely in spring 2020....
The time for parks is now!

The time for parks is now!

A message from Darlene Heater: Our campaign for more parks now in University City and Charlotte moves forward. In the past two weeks we have: Addressed our Mecklenburg County Commissioners, who fund our parks, about the crisis of an exploding population and disappearing land for new parks. Helped launch Voices4Parks.org, a website that explains why commissioners must take action now, as they shape the budget that begins July 1. Kept working with parks boosters countywide to light the fire under elected officials.   If you share our passion for parks, join us, now! Visit Voices4Parks.org to learn why there is little time left to act for parks. Read our April 15 call to action to the Mecklenburg County Board. Send your own message for parks to the County Commission. Get contact info here. There is still time. Our commissioners do listen. Let’s make a difference, now!   Thanks. Darlene Heater, Executive Director University City...
Why parks? Why now?

Why parks? Why now?

Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners, addressed the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners on April 15, 2019, about the urgent need for funding to buy park land. This is the text of that address. Dear County Commissions, County Manager and Parks Director, Thank you for allowing me time on the Monday evening public comments agenda to share the reasons that parks are important to building livable communities that attract and serve residents. I am sharing them in written format via this email. As I shared, land for parks is disappearing before our eyes–and especially so in high growth areas including University City. I am urging you to plan for our future that will include easy access to parks. We are at a tipping point, and parks make Charlotte livable, inclusive, healthy. And, they strengthen our community fabric.   Parks reflect a community’s quality of life Parks are a tangible reflection of the quality of life in a community. They define the shape and feel of a city and its neighborhoods. They provide identity for citizens and are a major factor in the perception of quality of life in a given community. Parks also ensure the health of families and youth and contribute to the economic and environmental well-being of a community and a region. Access to parks and natural amenities is the foundation of great places – they are what attract people … and investment. Most importantly, public parks can provide rich and equitable opportunities for all residents. Here’s why:   Parks create community People gather to share experiences, socialize and to build community bonds in common...
Where Will They Play?

Where Will They Play?

We need more parks now – YOU CAN HELP A crisis caused by Charlotte’s explosive growth and government inaction threatens one of the most important assets of every truly livable city – public parks.   A recent nationwide study revealed that Charlotte has the least parkland per person of any comparable city in America! Mecklenburg County has added nearly 200,000 residents in 10 years yet provides virtually no more parkland for 1.1 million people than it did a decade ago for 900,000. Now, land prices are soaring while sites suitable for new parks are being lost to development. A University City without parks Nowhere is the situation more dire than within walking distance of University City’s growing community.  University City Partners and the Parks Department staff jointly funded a parks master plan five years ago—anticipating this growth. Nothing in the plan has been done. That radical change can happen – with your help, now! The time is now for all of us to tell commissioners that we demand more and better parks. Our commissioners will respond when enough citizens call for change. Email each of the commissioners. Encourage friends and family to do the same. Together, let’s make that happen. Darlene Heater Executive Director University City Partners Email addresses of decision makers and email copy for easy action. lee.jones@mecklenburgcountync.gov Dena.Diorio@mecklenburgcountync.gov Vilma.Leake@mecklenburgcountync.gov george.dunlap@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov ella.scarborough@mecklenburgcountync.gov pat.cotham@mecklenburgcountync.gov trevor.fuller@mecklenburgcountync.gov elaine.powell@mecklenburgcountync.gov Mark.Jerrell@mecklenburgcountync.gov Susan.Harden@mecklenburgcountync.gov susan.rodriguez-mcdowell@mecklenburgcountync.gov Want a shortcut to writing your emails? Feel free to use any or all of the content below: RE:  More Parks Now for University City Please fund parks so our Future University City will have vibrant, active and safe park spaces...
Learn about NC 49 ‘Superstreet’ at April 23 meeting

Learn about NC 49 ‘Superstreet’ at April 23 meeting

ARTICLE UPDATED MARCH 19, 2019 The state Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting on April 23 to share plans to transform 1.2 miles of University City Boulevard into a six-lane “Superstreet” and close the Back Creek Church Road railroad crossing. The meeting will take place 4-7 pm April 23 in the Lucas Room at UNC Charlotte’s Cone University Center. The meeting will be held drop-in style, with state staff available to explain the project, answer questions and receive comments. Parking is available at the Cone Parking Deck. Directions Visit the project website for details and a survey about the plans.   Project details The state plans to convert part of University City Boulevard near UNC Charlotte, now a four-lane divided highway, into a six-lane “Superstreet”. The Superstreet design would eliminate most left turns and straight-across traffic between John Kirk Road and I-485. The design is intended to reduce current heavy congestion and help the highway absorb significantly more traffic in the future. Construction of the $41.8 million project could start as soon as summer 2022. Along with widening University City Boulevard, the state project has three other significant components: Extend Mallard Creek Church Road, which now ends at University City Boulevard, southward under the NC Railroad Corridor. This roadway is also called the Eastern Circumferential. Close Back Creek Church Road just south of the NC Railroad Corridor, as a way to improve safety along the rail line. Create new ways for local traffic to circulate once the railroad crossing is closed. The state cites several reasons for the project and its design, including:   Improved traffic volume,...