CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Monday afternoon, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and other members of city council met during a special meeting. The meeting was called by Roberts to discuss the proposed River District development, an enormous development, that, if approved, would develop more than 1,400 acres of vacant land west of Charlotte-Douglas Airport into a new community similar to Ballantyne.
Two developers, Crescent Communities and Franklin Harris, are behind the plan and say the development would include 8-million square feet of office space, 500,000-square feet of shops and restaurants, 1,000 hotel rooms, 2350 apartments, 600 attached houses or townhouses, 1700 single-family detached houses and 200 retirement units.
Monday's special meeting was called by the mayor with the goal of having questions regarding the development answered, as they pertain to infrastructure, the development's environmental impact, and the creation of schools and city services such as fire, water and transit.
Also discussed is how much the development is expected to cost. The number is $131 million, which officials say does not include an additional $16.2 million price tag to extend and widen West Boulevard between I-485 and Billy Graham Parkway.
To keep up with the additional population, the development would look to add capacity to surrounding roadways, including extending West Boulevard and connect the development to I-485. There would also be realignment work and capacity improvements to West Boulevard, Billy Graham Parkway, airport roads, and the addition of an interchange.
The plan details how West Boulevard and Garrison Road would both need to be realigned, however, they say Dixie River Road will remain unchanged.
In addition to infrastructure, another major concern among council members was the addition of public schools. Right now, the plan would reserve two school sites (15 to 25 acres each) that would be located within the residential area. But Mayor Roberts is concerned two won’t be enough.
The plan also calls for reserved space for a future Fire Engine/Ladder Company and a 3.5-acre site for a future police office division.
City Council also requested a timeline for the amount of time the city has been working with the developers and for specifics on how long the project would take to complete. Right now officials estimate the development being built in three phases over the next 10 to 20 years.