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Open-Air Market Could Offer Artisans, Street Venders — But Take Away Some Of NoDa’s Parking

Open-Air Market Could Offer Artisans, Street Venders — But Take Away Some Of NoDa’s Parking
Davidson Street Public House

The parcels of land that house Davidson Street Public House restaurant and its connecting parking lot and patio could be primed for change after the property owner pitches a rezoning to Charlotte City Council Feb. 19.

If the rezoning petition from Neighborhood Services to transit-oriented development for mixed-use (TOD-MO) is approved, the property owner and a local developer have plans to eliminate the restaurant’s parking lot and create an open-air arts market in its place.

The lot offers seven parking spaces reserved for Davidson Street Public House diners. Losing those spots will not have a large effect on the neighborhood’s infamous parking issue, but it is an opportunity for a creative use of the space that is an eyesore, property owner Not His LLC’s Elizabeth Grillo said.

“That spot needs to be alive. It needs to be something that is a central, pedestrian-oriented, fun, exciting and interactive part of the neighborhood — that draws people to the Arts District,” said Grillo, who is also the owner of EG Real Estate Consultants.

Grillo and Miller Development Co. President Tom Miller said their plans include 10-12 pop-up spots for greenhouses, artisans and street vendors. The spaces would begin as temporary structures, eventually becoming permanent if the market is successful. Miller said if the market were unsuccessful, it would simply revert back to parking.

Grillo: Restaurant is vacating property

Davidson Street Public House
Davidson Street Public House

Grillo said Davidson Street Public House is moving out in a month or more, and said she is searching for another restaurant tenant to fill the space. Davidson Street Public House did not respond to requests for comment.

In addition to a new tenant at the restaurant, Grillo said she would love to see an Airstream in the parking lot with a bartender serving craft cocktails, as well as other forms of culinary arts represented. The market would operate independently from the restaurant, she said.

“Artisans in nature would encourage a creative vibe, and it would help restore the Arts District that has been eliminated due to gentrification,” Miller told NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association members at their monthly meeting last week.

Critics voiced concerns about the lack of parking in an already crowded area. Some neighbors said they feared a bait-and-switch, saying once the property is rezoned, the neighborhood would have no control over what would actually be created. NoDa NBA members overwhelmingly voted against offering support to city council (24-10, with nine abstentions).

The property behind Davidson Street Public House’s parking lot, on Yadkin Avenue, is largely undeveloped. Grillo once owned the property and sold it to Short Development Group in 2011.

Davidson Street Public House parking lot
Davidson Street Public House parking lot

“Years ago, there was a plan to connect the two properties,” creating a mixed-use project similar to Latta Arcade or an open-arts market, she said. Grillo cited neighborhood infighting and lack of support from city council as a reason the idea never manifested.

The NoDa NBA will meet Tuesday to approve the meeting’s minutes and consider whether to agree with the members’ vote not to support the rezoning, or whether to override the vote and offer support. A third option would be to ask the petitioner to delay the Feb. 19 city council hearing and present to the NBA at its next monthly meeting on March 2. The final city council vote on the rezoning is scheduled for March 8, Miller said.

NBA President Hollis Nixon has recused herself from discussions on this property, stating a potential conflict of interest.