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City Votes Tonight On Massive River District Development

The Charlotte City Council will take a historic vote this evening about the future of development in west Mecklenburg County: a rezoning decision about the massive River District development.


The 1,370 acres between the Catawba River and Charlotte Douglas International Airport is mostly undeveloped, and zoned for single-family housing. Lincoln Harris and Crescent Communities want the area to be much more, built out over as long as three decades: 8M SF of office space, 500k SF of retail space, about 4,000 residential units (single- and multifamily) as well as a hotel component.

When the plan was unveiled earlier this year, Crescent Communities president of commercial and mixed-use Brian Leary said "the River District represents a rare opportunity to master plan a walkable community where people can live, work, shop and play within a natural setting.”


Natural setting because about 552 acres of the site, or more than a third, will be kept as open space, especially near streams that could suffer from erosion. The City Council has held—unusually—more than one meeting on the development, as members had a number of questions about the many major infrastructure upgrades required to make the project a functioning community

For instance, there will need to be new roads to accommodate as many as 120,000 daily vehicle trips, as well as miles of water mains, sewers and other infrastructure, such as schools and police and fire stations. The last time greater Charlotte saw a proposal of this scale was in the mid-1990s. That's when, with little land left for development in SouthPark, Bissell decided to focus a few miles south, starting the development of the 2,000-acre Ballantyne.