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Luncheon Summary

April 2024 Luncheon: “Thriving Submarkets in Charlotte”

Submitted by Julie Pruett, Marlboro Development Team

CREW Charlotte’s April luncheon showcased Charlotte’s remarkable ascent to becoming the fifteenth largest city in the United States, with a particular focus on its most vibrant submarkets, including South End, University City, SouthPark, and Ballantyne.

Marguerite Novak, representing City Center Partners, provided insights into the staggering $41 billion investment within the City Center footprint. Among the notable current projects is McColl Park, paying homage to Hugh McColl’s legacy. The park’s design is currently being refined, with construction slated to commence in 2024 and an anticipated opening in the summer of 2025. City Center Partners also unveiled their ambitious long-term plan, featuring the North Tryon Tech Hub, a long range plan that will span two decades.

Keith Stanley of University City Center emphasized the unprecedented growth of the University City submarket. Encompassing 8 square miles in North Charlotte, the area boasts 4,700 businesses, a population of 150,000, and a workforce of 100,000. Future developments along the boardwalk, a $40 million library and a research park that will be linked by a pedestrian bridge to UNC Charlotte, promise to further elevate the area’s stature.

Adam Rhew, representing SouthPark Community Partners, revealed that SouthPark is experiencing a surge of $1 billion in new development. Encompassing just one square mile, SouthPark is home to 100,000 residents and a workforce of 32,000. Notably, the newly established municipal service district, including the highly successful SouthPark Mall, underscores the area’s economic vitality. With ongoing renovations at Phillips Place and plans for experiential retail, SouthPark Community Partners is spearheading the 2035 Vision Plan, envisioning enhanced walkability, green spaces, and a vibrant park-centric environment.

Lastly, Christina Thigpen, representing Northwood Office and a board member of South Charlotte Partners, provided insights into the transformation of Ballantyne’s campus. The former golf course is evolving into a dynamic mixed-use development. Groundbreaking in 2021, Ballantyne’s revitalization has been supported by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County with assistance with road and water enhancements. The “New Heart” of Ballantyne, encompasses both indoor and outdoor spaces, with Olde Mecklenburg Brewery anchoring the development with a 1-acre beer garden set to open next month. With plans for a 26-story residential tower, a 6-acre stream park, Amp @ Ballantyne which will be an outdoor concert venue, and Greenway acres facilitating connectivity to uptown via bike, Ballantyne’s reimagination promises to redefine contemporary living in Charlotte.

As these ambitious projects take shape, Charlotte is poised to not only maintain its status a major metropolitan hub but also emerge as a beacon of urban excellence, offering its resident and visitors unparalleled opportunities for living and thriving in all areas of the Queen City.

CREW Charlotte’s February 2024 Luncheon: “What’s Next at CLT?”

Submitted by Julie Pruett, Marlboro Development Team

A record-breaking 245 people attended CREW Charlotte’s February Luncheon! Located 6 miles from the city center, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) stands as the seventh busiest airport in the United States, boasting a remarkable achievement in 2023 by accommodating over 53 million passengers, marking it as a record-breaking year. Ted Kaplan, Chief Business and Innovation Officer at CLT, elaborated on the airport’s economic significance. With 180 nonstop destinations and 36 international destinations, CLT generates $32 billion annually in economic impact in North Carolina, constituting 5% of the State’s GDP. Owned and operated by the City of Charlotte, CLT operates under a self-sustaining federal mandate, necessitating that all expenditures at the airport be covered by aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues.

Stuart Hair, Director of Commercial and Community Engagement, outlined CLT’s response to its exponential growth through various airport renovations and expansions. The completion of the terminal lobby expansion, representing a $608 million investment, is anticipated by 2025. Concurrently, the ongoing Concourse A Expansion – Phase II, set to add 10 new gates, is slated for completion in 2024. Furthermore, the construction of a fourth parallel runway, earmarked for completion in 2027, symbolizes a monumental investment of $1 billion.

In tandem with aeronautical advancements, Jennifer Thompson, Commercial Engagement Manager, unveiled CLT’s endeavor to diversify revenue streams by releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of a destination district. The RFP, aimed at generating non-aeronautical revenue, sets the deadline for proposals as February 22, 2024, with the selection of a developer scheduled for April 2024.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) exemplifies not only a vital transportation hub but also a cornerstone of economic activity in North Carolina. With its ambitious expansion plans and strategic initiatives to bolster revenue, CLT is poised to continue its trajectory of growth and serve as a catalyst for economic development in the region.

January 2024 Luncheon: “The National and Regional Economy in 2024”

Submitted by Ashleigh Mellon, Geo-Hydro Engineers


At the January luncheon, economist Laura Ulrich, with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, delivered an optimistic message, assuring that the current data does not indicate a potential recession in 2024. Despite potential roadblocks, the resilience of consumer spending amid inflation stands out as a key factor in averting an economic downturn. Ullrich noted that the Federal Reserve has concluded its rate increases, and there are signs of rates starting to decline. Global supply chain issues have largely subsided to levels below those seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, although some isolated challenges persist. Housing starts and permits have seen an uptick in recent months, although they remain below 2021 levels, and the pervasive issue of housing shortages persists across communities. Notably, North Carolina emerges as a strong performer in employment recovery, with Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte leading the way in exceeding the state’s 7 percent job growth. Despite the positive outlook, the tight labor market is acknowledged, and there is a recognition that it may continue to tighten in the future.

For Laura’s full presentation, please click here.


CREW Charlotte’s December Luncheon: “The Power of Partnerships: An Inside Look at the Brookhill Village Redevelopment”

Submitted by Julie Pruett, Marlboro Development Team


The final CREW luncheon of 2023 emerged as the pinnacle of inspiration and upliftment for the year. Guided by Antoine Dennard, a Partner at Quore Advisors, the event featured a captivating panel discussion which included his partner is in the Brookhill Village redevelopment, Mike Griffin with Griffin Brothers, Colin Pinkney with The Harvest Center and Warren Wooten with the City of Charlotte.  Together, these entities united their efforts to redevelop 100 units in Brookhill Village, originally established in 1957.

The overarching objective of the Brookhill Village redevelopment was to retain current residence in their units while preserving the development’s affordable housing status. Notably, Brookhill Village marked the inception of affordable housing for African American in the City of Charlotte. Dennard emphasized several times throughout the presentation, “Our goal was to put the residents first and everything else would work out.” In some instances, there were 5th generation residents living in Brookhill Village and it was the partner’s ultimate goal to improve their lives.

Beyond the redevelopment of the existing living units, Quore Advisors and Griffin Brothers envision a mixed-use development to include vertical tiny homes, retail and wrap around services provided by the Harvest Center to include a gym, kitchen and training center. The partners also aspire to pay tribute to Tremont Station and the spirit of South End.

The Brookhill Village redevelopment stands on the precipice of transformation, buoyed by substantial support from the City and County, as well as a $3 million investment by Harvest Center, announced during the CREW luncheon. This initiative not only promises to reshape the landscape of the area but will also change lives.


CREW’s October 2023 Luncheon: “Higher Ed Meets Healthcare”

Submitted by Beth Burleson, DOD Office Interiors

On Tuesday, October 10th, Hillary Crittendon, Dennis W. Miller, and Bennett Thompson introduced us to The Pearl – a mixed-use, innovation district combining office, retail, residential, a medical school and lab, and community gathering spaces.

Atrium Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and the North American home for IRCAD – an international experiential surgical training facility, will anchor this exciting innovative destination generating $81M to our local economy and over 11,000 job opportunities.



August 2023 Luncheon “The River District: Charlotte’s Newest Master-Planned Community”

submitted by Julie Pruett, Marlboro Development Team

The Crescent Communities River District team, consisting of Fran West, Jennifer Sharraba, Lisa Phocas, and partner Bart Landess of Catawba Lands Conservancy, captivated a full audience with an update on their ambitious project, The River District. Departing from the conventional suburban model, this visionary 1,400-acre sustainable community seamlessly blends urban elements like homes, retail, dining, offices, and educational facilities with the enchantment of parks, trails, woodlands, and the Catawba River.

The River District, “The Soul of a City in the Heart of Nature,” is set to encompass 2,300 homes, 2,350 multi-family units, 550 acres of open space, 1,000 hotel rooms, 500,000 square feet of retail space, and a vast 8 million square feet of commercial space. A pivotal feature, Project Breakpoint, a world-class tennis facility, will host an annual 2-week tennis tournament and 26 concerts, with the debut tournament scheduled for August 2026. Anchored by 30 parks, 30 miles of mountain biking trails, and a 2-acre working farm, this master planned development is conveniently situated within 5 miles of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, effortlessly connecting urban living to nature.

Environmental stewardship lies at the core of The River District, adhering to the One Planet Living principles through a comprehensive action plan addressing ten sustainability pillars. The collaboration with Catawba Lands Conservancy underscores the commitment to preservation, as evidenced by their in-depth nature study, fostering both existing and new wildlife habitats.

With its sprawling expanse, innovative components like Project Breakpoint, and unwavering dedication to sustainability, The River District stands poised to redefine community living while preserving and nurturing the environment.

June 2023 Luncheon – The State of CLT

Submitted by Meg Davis, Office Environments


Assistant City Manager Tracy Dodson spoke on “The State of CLT” at CREW’s luncheon on June 13,  giving attendees a comprehensive look at upcoming projects the city has invested in as well as diving into her strategy for recruiting companies to the area.

While sharing some of Charlotte’s recent accolades (CLT was recently ranked #8 Best City to Live by U.S. News & World Report), Tracy dove into how they align with Select CLT to entice companies to the area. She shared some recent announcements such as Albemarle Corp., ACC, alpitronic, The Bank of London, Rexroth, Solve, RXO, Columbus McKinnon, USAA and Ircad France. These announcements reflect a $300m capital investment, 1,500 new and retained jobs, and 1.5m square feet of office under construction.

Large economic development projects that the city has invested in include Project Break Point/River District, Charlotte Transportation Center, and Eastland Mall Redevelopment. Project Break Point, or more commonly referred to as the River District, is a 1,400-acre project near the airport that will include single-family, multifamily, along with retail, office, schools, and potentially a world-class tennis stadium. The Charlotte Transportation Center project boasts of bringing the bus station underground to allow for more street-level retail and office space. Eastland Mall Redevelopment project is currently looking for a project to develop the 30 acres that Tepper Sports & Entertainment originally planned to build a Charlotte FC practice facility on. Current options include an indoor sports complex and an events and esports center.

Corridors of Opportunity is another initiative the city has undertaken, outlining the often forgotten communities and ensuring they become safe and prosperous communities. The six key corridors are Graham Street/North Tryon, Sugar Creek Road, Albemarle Road, Beattie’s Ford/Rozelles Ferry Road, West Boulevard and Freedom Drive/Wilkinson Boulevard. The projects vary from each corridor and include affordable housing, community safety, infrastructure, transportation, workforce and business development, and urban design.

Signature Luncheon with Sarah Thomas “Breaking Through: My Journey to Becoming the First Female NFL Official”

Submitted by Stephanie Moore, Nine Dot Arts

CREW Charlotte’s Signature Luncheon featured Sarah Thomas who changed the game in the world’s most quintessential male-dominated sport—football—by becoming the first female NFL official. Today, Sarah Thomas’s hat, whistle, and flag are on display at the NFL Hall of Fame and serve as a testament to this historic achievement.

Sarah shared the story of her path to becoming an NFL official and how the values of self-knowledge, inner drive, hard work, and preparation led to her success. Sarah engaged the crowd with humorous tales about her journey, including wins and setbacks, as a female in a male-dominated industry.  Sarah also provided timely insights into finding and pursuing your passion while maintaining a work-life balance.


Sarah’s grit and determination were on display when she shared a video from a Christmas Eve game where she was tackled and injured on the sidelines but asked to be bandaged up and return to the game. Sarah motivated the attendees with tales of her accomplishments and that with the mindset of being the best you can be, no barrier or ceiling is impenetrable.

April 2023 Luncheon – Turning Greenways into Green $$ as an Amenity

Submitted by Julie Pruett, Marlboro Development Team

Bart Landess of the Catawba Lands Conservancy and Carolina Thread Trail shared with our membership their mission to save land and connect lives. He explained that the dynamic growth in the Charlotte region brings potential threats to our ability to continue to connect with nature. Our choices determine our ability to create the places we want to live and land conservancy provides a path to protecting wildlife habitats, connecting our population to nature, and preserving our clean water. There are over 1,400 acres of green space protected which has allowed the growth of the 1,600-mile Thread Trail which traverses 15 counties in a master trail plan. Landess imparted good news for us, as Mecklenburg County is “going big” on the trail system and linear parks. There are multiple economic benefits as well, especially if you own property near a trail.

In addition, we heard from Kim Kendall of Colliers, and Alice Benner and Todd Spitzer from Bamboo Equity Partners who sought to capitalize on the appeal of the Thread Trail with their new development Creekside @ The Greenway which is taking advantage of McAlpine Creek Greenway adjacency while prioritizing health and personal comfort, in a creative work-play community. Brenner and Spitzer with Bamboo Equity Partners take a unique approach to adaptive reuse and always look for collaborative spaces to give people a reason to return to work. Located off Independence near the McAlpine Creek Greenway trailhead, Creekside @ The Greenway provides a large office park on 20 acres with pickleball courts, food trucks, and outdoor event space. Spitzer explained that they saw an opportunity to bring new life to the area with the right vision and strategy. Colliers is the leasing partner for the project, as explained by Kendall. The project offers unique attributes with its South Charlotte location near Matthews, single-story buildings, and outdoor amenities, making it very attractive to tenants as they seek to bring workers back to the office.

March 2023 Luncheon Summary “ESG:  A Tool for Mitigating Risk and Increasing Value of your CRE Assets”

On Tuesday, April 14,  Allison Kirby, Associate Director of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) & Sustainability with Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy & Sustainability Asset Services presented to our membership on this city government-led development standard for commercial real estate funding. She spoke of the goals of the ESG standards, its evolving levels of compliance, and the challenges attached to each level. Also, the Inflation Reduction Act, recently passed by Congress, incentivizes developers to comply with ESG goals. Though different from LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design), the ESG standards complement LEED design and intent. Allison stated the markets she sees evolving are Multifamily, Class A office, and development in cities where local government has passed ESG initiatives.

Click here to view her presentation.