Downtown wish list is expansive and expensive
Charlotte boosters spent more than $700,000 — most of it tax money — on a Center City 2020 Vision Plan that focuses on what they want to see downtown but is fuzzy on details of how to get it. Paid for by Charlotte Center City Partners, the city and Mecklenburg County, it’s an exercise that’s been done every 10 years or so since the 1960s. But this one, according to David Walters, UNC Charlotte professor of urban design, ignores the post-recession reality: “It’s not a business-oriented plan except that it is trying to imagine that business will be just like it used to be.”
Even the plan’s architect has issues with it. For these kinds of plans to succeed, cities must form “implementation teams” to carry out the goals, says urban designer Daniel Iacofano, CEO of Berkley, Calif.-based MIG Inc. No such teams are in the works. “They were not within our scope,” Iacofano says. “I would have liked to have made it our scope.”
The City Council will vote on whether to endorse the plan this month, but the action won’t be binding. “This is a vision plan for the next 10, 20, 30 years,” says Cheryl Myers, Center City Partners senior vice president of planning and development. “Who knows what’s going to happen? This is a plan getting ready for that.”
The 2020 Vision Plan’s 14 priorities
• A baseball stadium for the Charlotte Knights in the Third Ward
• Develop land between Stonewall Street and Interstate-277
• Restaurants, retail and residential projects on West Trade Street
• Additional communal areas downtown
• Freeway caps with plazas and parks over parts of I-277
• A park along the light-rail system’s Blue Line
• Technology hub similar to Research Triangle Park
• A mixed-use facility that can be used by colleges and universities
• New art and design school
• Retail shops in office and residential buildings
• Turn Charlotte Transportation Center into a mixed-use complex
• New high school in the Second Ward
CHARLOTTE — American International Group, the New York-based insurance giant, filed a $10 billion lawsuit against Bank of America. AIG alleges that BofA and its Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch units misled it about the quality of mortgage-backed securities.
CHARLOTTE — Time Warner Cable plans to build a data center that will create about 225 jobs with an average salary of $61,044 when it opens late next year. The New York-based company could receive up to $2.9 million in state incentives. It employs about 3,000 locally.
MONROE — Mattress-pad and pillow maker Perfect Fit Industries will lay off 123 of the 188 employees at its local factory this month. The Charlotte-based company supplies bedding to Target, Kmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and JC Penney.
CONCORD — Celgard, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Polypore International, will add 250 jobs at its battery-parts plant here during the next two years, increasing its local employment to about 850. It could get up to $2.3 million in state incentives.
CHARLOTTE — NewDominion Bank hired Marc Bogan, a former executive of Georgia-based Ameris Bank, as president and chief operating officer, a new position. The bank is also looking for a chief financial officer. The shake-up comes less than a year after John Hipp took over as CEO.
MOORESVILLE — BestSweet will add 37 jobs in the next three years at its factory here, giving it more than 300 workers. The company, which makes lozenges, could receive $50,000 in state incentives.
MATTHEWS — Harris Teeter has begun selling their own private-label beer. Barrel Trolley will come in three varieties: Belgian White Ale, Pale Ale and Amber Ale. A six-pack will retail for $7.99.
CHARLOTTE — Positec USA, based here, is moving its retail-distribution headquarters from Long Beach, Calif., to Huntersville, increasing local employment to 140.