Brooklyn: Past, Present and Future
Submitted by Diana Quarry, Womble Bond Dickinson
On January 15, 2019, CREW Charlotte’s luncheon program featured speaker Monte Ritchey, Founder and President of Conformity Corporation and Principal of BK Partners LLC. Mr. Ritchey addressed a sold out crowd, and spoke about the history and cultural significance of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Charlotte. Brooklyn was a predominantly black community that thrived as a self-sustainable town within a town. With vibrant shops, schools and places of worship, Brooklyn was home to some of the black community’s families from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and housed critical operations for the community, including Second Ward High School, Charlotte’s first high school for African American children. Unfortunately, during the 1960s and 1970s, Brooklyn was razed in Charlotte’s first wave of “urban renewal,” displacing thousands of neighborhood residents and ultimately destroying more than 1,480 structures.
BK Partners LLC, a venture spearheaded by Mr. Ritchey and business partner Don Peebles, was selected by Mecklenburg County to revitalize the area with its Brooklyn Village development. Mr. Ritchey discussed the future and vision for Brooklyn Village, a mixed-use development that will include residential units (including affordable housing), office, retail, community and cultural spaces. Mr. Ritchey discussed the important role that community outreach and honoring the history of Brooklyn played in putting together the master plan and vision for Brooklyn Village.