CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Work will start in just a few days on the biggest development to come to Charlotte in years.
The city council unanimously approved plans for what's will be called the River District Monday night for the undeveloped area just west of the airport. It has been in the works for years.
The project is so massive that they're calling it the next Ballantyne. It is anticipated to spread across 1400 acres of undeveloped land that will be turned into shops, homes, restaurants and office spaces.
Currently, the tree-covered land stretches for miles. It is the kind of place where minutes go by without a car driving by.
However, Dixie's Grill has been a longtime establishment and popular lunch spot on the area the development is coming to. The grill has been mostly unchanged for 90 years and is not so sure about the coming changes.
“It'll be a lot different I'm sure," said Mike Johnson. "It's actually a shame in a way."
“It’s beautiful, the way it always was and now they want to change everything, I guess that's a good thing,” says Peggy Smith, the owner of Dixie’s Grill.
Smith admits to mixed emotions but says ultimately, she understands the development that's expected to mean billions of dollars in taxable property is good for the area.
“I’m all for progress I’ve just thoroughly enjoyed this and I hate to see all the trees go, but I’m good with it, I’m good with it," Smith says.
“Honestly it will be a shame to lose another rural community. I understand the city's wanting to expand but it is what it is, progress I guess,” Johnson adds.
Smith says, “As long as they do everything within reason..I’m happy with it.”
A project this size will take 20 to 30 years to complete, however, the construction of bike trails is set to begin in November.