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5 Things to Know: Queen City Quarter Takes Shape at Epicentre Site

...and four more stories from March 19-25, 2023

Renderings of Queen City Quarter, where Epicentre was located, after its renovations.
Renderings of Queen City Quarter, where Epicentre was located, after its renovations. (Illustrations courtesy of CRBE)

Queen City Quarter Begins to Take Shape at Former Epicentre Site

CBRE, the real estate company that is redeveloping the former Epicentre site in Uptown Charlotte into Queen City Quarter, announced a few new tenants this week while also confirming which current ones will stay. 

New tenants include Portal 123, a self-described “rotating Instagram museum and immersive art experience;” Nostalgia Hollow Co., a coffee shop and home goods retailer with three existing locations in Kannapolis; Cajun Market, a fast-casual Cajun-Creole restaurant that appears to be a new business entity; and Super Icy Brothers, a Black-owned frozen dessert shop. All four concepts plan to open in the second or third quarter, according to the release, with Portal 123 appearing ready to launch on the first day of that second quarter

Current tenants World of Beer, Mortimer’s Café & Pub, and Bowlero all recently renewed their leases as well, according to the release.

CBRE announced in October 2022 that it is leading the marketing, property management and renovation efforts at the 302,324-square-foot Queen City Quarter mixed-use development, working under property owners 210 East Trade Street Holdings LLC.

The October announcement came with promises to immediately begin renovations and repairs to the courtyard, parking garage, patios and roof, with work on the property’s public staircases and escalators beginning in 2023, along with installation of new landscaping, lighting and benches. 

Thursday’s Queen City Quarter release stated that this year’s renovations will begin sometime this spring, with most of that work occurring in the property’s 15,462-square-foot plaza. 


Fallout Continues Following CATS Derailment Revelation

The Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), one of two bodies that oversee the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), met Wednesday night for the first time since a May 2022 CATS Blue Line derailment was brought to light during a March 13 meeting of Charlotte City Council. 

Interim CATS CEO Brent Cagle revealed at Wednesday’s MTC meeting that the company also missed federally mandated inspections on its light-rail bridges and parking garages back in 2021. According to Cagle, CATS acted to find inspectors who could carry out the inspections as soon as the oversight became known earlier this month. Inspections began on Tuesday and are expected to be finished within three months. 

The light rail derailment reportedly happened near the New Bern Station in South End. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

In the lead-up to Wednesday’s meeting, Mayor Vi Lyles, who chairs the MTC, released a statement on Tuesday night stating that the city is committed to “elevating CATS to meet the community’s expectations for safety, reliability and service,” while also claiming that the 20-year-old MTC Interlocal Agreement, which assigns authority over CATS to both Charlotte City Council and MTC, has led to some of the issues.

Lyles called on the city, county and six signatory towns — Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Pineville, Matthews and Mint Hill — to examine the current agreement in light of the vast growth and changes that have occurred within Mecklenburg County since its inception.

“While this agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of the MTC, the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte City Council, there is overlap and a lack of clarity,” she wrote. “We’ve grown beyond our current county-wide effort, and perhaps it’s time to look at a regional authority with more direct responsibility.”

Mecklenburg County Board Commissioner and MTC member Leigh Altman was not so convinced by Lyles’ statement. As hinted to in a letter sent to fellow MTC members on Monday, Altman on Wednesday called for a third-party investigation into the above-mentioned issues and others that CATS have been dealing with

“I won’t feel comfortable that these trains are safe until I hear that from the DOT,” Altman reportedly said.


State House Passes Bill Limiting School Curricula

While there was a celebratory bipartisan mood coming from the North Carolina General Assembly this week thanks to a long-sought agreement that will expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of additional low-income adults through the Affordable Care Act, more sinister legislation also saw progress without garnering the same attention. 

The NC House on Wednesday approved a law that will restrict how the state’s public school teachers discuss race, gender and sexuality. The 68-49 vote was split by party lines, backed by Republicans. House Bill 187 will now move to the Senate. 

The legislation would require school districts to give a 30-day notice to parents and the state Department of Public Instruction if teachers or invited guests plan to expose students to more than a dozen concepts GOP lawmakers deem unacceptable, according to reporting from NC Policy Watch

While the language of the bill is designed to read as if it’s anti-discriminatory, flagging content that implies “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” or “an individual, solely by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive,” opponents worry that the subjective nature of the law will open the door for teachers to be silenced based on political beliefs and for right-wing politicians to justify censoring any curriculum that tells the truthful account of America’s oppressive past, as has been happening across the country. 


Two People Killed on Charlotte Roads

Two people lost their lives in separate traffic wrecks over the last week, including one pedestrian struck by a car and another driver who fell victim to a stranger’s reckless driving. Both of the incidents occurred on Saturday, March 18. 

Shortly after 7 p.m. that day, first responders were called to Central Avenue near the Central Square Apartments in reference to a fatal collision involving two vehicles. Upon arrival, they located a 2014 Nissan Sentra with heavy front passenger side damage sitting in the roadway. The other vehicle was a 2012 Hyundai Genesis that was pinned between a power pole and an embankment and sustained heavy damage throughout the vehicle. The driver of the Nissan and his front seat passenger were transported to Atrium Main with minor injuries. The driver of the Hyundai, 29-year-old Kendall Ross, was pronounced dead at the scene by MEDIC. The front seat passenger of the Hyundai was transported with life-threatening injuries to Atrium Main after having to be cut out of the vehicle.

Evidence indicated that the driver of the Nissan Sentra was operating the car at a high rate of speed while traveling east on Central Avenue. He attempted to navigate the curve in the 3100 block of Central Avenue when he went into the right lane and struck the rear of the Hyundai, causing it to run off the right side of the road and strike a power pole before getting wedged between an embankment and the pole. The Nissan continued eastbound and struck a curb before spinning and coming to a final rest.

The driver of the Sentra was found to be impaired. Speed is also a factor for the driver of the Sentra, though not a factor for Ross. The driver of the Sentra was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony death by vehicle and reckless driving.

 

About three hours later in north Charlotte, first responders were called to a vehicle collision involving a pedestrian on North Tryon Street near Sprunt Street. Upon arrival, they located a 2016 Hyundai Sonata with front-end damage in the roadway. The driver of the Hyundai remained on scene. Officers also located a pedestrian near the Hyundai in the middle of the roadway who was not responsive. The pedestrian was identified as 31-year-old Daniel Antwan Henry. MEDIC transported Henry to Atrium Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

An initial investigation indicated that Henry was crossing North Tryon Street near West 15th Street. He was not in a crosswalk and was wearing dark clothing. As he was crossing North Tryon Street, the driver of the Hyundai was driving northeast on North Tryon Street and struck Henry with the front end of the Hyundai. The driver pulled over immediately after the collision.

According to the investigation, speeding does not appear to be a factor for the Hyundai. The driver was screened for impairment and was found not to be impaired.


Three People Killed in East Charlotte

Three men were killed in two separate incidents within yards of each other near the intersection of Eastway Drive and The Plaza this week. 

At around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, police responded to a shooting call on The Plaza near Eastway Drive, where they found two victims dead from gunshot wounds. They were later identified as 21-year-old Michael Anthony Brown Jr. and 16-year-old Jareese Raivon Florybert. Police later arrested a 16-year-old suspect and charged him with murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle. 

Shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to a breaking-and-entering call on Malibu Drive near Sunday’s incident, where they found 26-year-old Jonathan Sheffield suffering from traumatic injuries. Medic pronounced him dead at the scene. 


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