As a follow-up to my blog in the spring of 2016 "West Charlotte River District", I am happy to announce that on November 21, 2016, Charlotte City Council members  quickly and unanimously voted to approve the nearly 1,400 acre development consisting of office space, shops, hotels, apartments, single-family residences, retirement living and open/green spaces.  The River District will be Charlotte’s largest new planned development since the development of Ballantyne in the 1990s. The development is a large-scale version of the Riverwalk/River District in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which is also located on the Catawba River. The project is estimated to take anywhere from 20 to 30 years to complete and will consist of three phases. 

A significant amount of infrastructure is needed to support the planned development, which includes new roads, sewage facilities, schools, police stations and fire stations. Many council members expressed concern over the influx of traffic, affordable housing availability and the costs associated with building additional infrastructure. Currently, the total costs are estimated at $131 million. Major road improvements include extending West Boulevard, widening the interchange at I-485 and a new bridge over the Catawba River into Gaston County.  According to preliminary agreements, the developer plans to pay for $53 million in improvements. The city’s current plan allocates $44.7 million worth of bond funds to improve roads in the area. The rest of the money is expected to be paid by local and state governments or financed through a grant subsidy. 

Despite the costs involved, the River District is likely to generate taxable property in excess of $3 billion for the city and create a significant amount of jobs in the currently undeveloped area. 

Published on January 11, 2017