Crews demolish uptown building as Knights stadium work continues

Crews demolish uptown building as Knights stadium work continues


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 5:15 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Crews started demolishing the old Virginia Paper Company building in uptown Tuesday.  It marks the next step in the Charlotte Knights’ move to uptown on Mint Street, where the old building has been for decades and where the new $54 million dollar BB&T Ballpark will be built and ready to go by the start of the Knights’ 2014 season.

The banging and sound of chunks of concrete falling to the ground isn't exactly music to Michael Prater's ears.

He lives and works in uptown and he can't stand baseball.

"I absolutely hate baseball.  It's the most boring sport in America," Prater said.

But one man's distain is a team's gain.

The Knights say they are losing money playing in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

The new stadium is expected to double the Charlotte Knights annual attendance, from 300,000 to 600,000 fans a year and capitalize on thousands of people who can walk up to the stadium after work.

Charlotte Center City Partners says developers are already eyeballing lots near the new BB&T Ball Park for apartments, which will help build Third Ward.

(Click here to see construction photos)

The demolition isn't music to Henry Mason's ears either.

He recently moved to Charlotte and also works uptown.  He's sad to see the old paper company building go.  It's one of the biggest and last industrial plants to be built in uptown and was a distribution center for wholesale paper.

"That's a landmark," said Mason.

Prater and Mason both say the ballpark will be a visual stunner.

"I'm all for the beautification," Prater said.

But they aren't as thrilled as other neighbors who stop to look and wait for the crack of a bat to replace the crunch of concrete.

Mason used to live next to Yankee Stadium in New York.

"These tenants, they don't know what they are in for," Mason said, acknowledging BB&T Ballpark will be much smaller and hold only around 10,000 fans.

"Baseball to me is just going to make more traffic, higher prices on parking, fewer places to park, so forth. It just seems to be a big hassle for the community," Prater said.

The team says it is on schedule to close on the loan to build the ballpark but did not give a specific date.