When Charlotte government and business leaders set out to redevelop two largely dormant blocks uptown, they vowed to create a hub of shops, restaurants, high-rise buildings and some low-income apartments. Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte and other partners offered to sell property to private developers. They sought to revitalize a portion of what the city has called the largest remaining development opportunity uptown, now home to McGlohon Theater in Spirit Square, several aging buildings and surface parking lots. But the deal officials worked on for more than two years has collapsed. And the county manager now says affordable housing, once heralded as a key element of the project, is no longer economically viable on site.
A dispute between Inlivian, formerly the Charlotte Housing Authority, and other Charlotte leaders over 2 acres occupied by a dilapidated former hotel torpedoed the plan. Under the deal, Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Bank of America and Inlivian all agreed to offer property they own along North Tryon Street to a master developer for a plan that would include affordable housing among new market-rate apartments. Officials eliminated affordable housing — one of the city’s most pressing needs — from the uptown site plans after Inlivian decided it would only lease its property rather than sell outright, according to four people with direct knowledge about the deal or who have been briefed on negotiations. They requested anonymity because they feared reprisals from others involved in the project for discussing negotiations, which have remained shielded from public view.
In response to questions from The Observer, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said in a written statement that the original plans to sell and develop the two blocks have been shelved. Diorio acknowledged the rift between Inlivian and the other landowners involved in the deal. Diorio said the landowners are now negotiating to sell 1.5 blocks without Inlivian’s land, and officials would use proceeds from land sales to build affordable housing outside of uptown. [Source]