Submitted by Stacia Neugent, GreerWalker
The Lynx Blue Line began servicing passengers in March of 2018. It extended light rail service from uptown Charlotte’s Seventh Street Station to the UNCC campus in the University City area. The extension of the light rail has created great opportunities for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). This development was the focus of CREW Charlotte’s June luncheon, “The Girl on the Train.”
Alan Goodwin, planning coordinator and urban designer with the City of Charlotte, opened the luncheon by discussing what makes an area qualify as a TOD. The requirements are counterintuitive to other residential developments – there are minimum requirements for density and maximum requirements for parking spaces.
Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners, spoke next and discussed some of the benefits that the University City area has to offer. There are several strong anchors such as the Atrium hospital and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte that make the University City area a prime spot for development. Darlene said that the focus is currently on making the area more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly. This will be key in supporting the residential aspect of the upcoming mixed-use developments.
Jane Wu, president of Panorama Holdings, was the final speaker at the luncheon. Jane discussed her recent project, Blu at Northline. This upscale apartment complex is unlike anything else in the University area. It offers luxuries and amenities similar to those found in Uptown and Southend. Jane discussed how she wanted to do something that was completely different, and it seems that she hit the mark with the Blu at Northline project. The project is already exceeding expectations for number of leases and price per square foot.
One thing is for sure, the transit-oriented development occurring along the light rail is going to be something to keep an eye on in the upcoming weeks, months and years.