DevelopmentNews & Opinion

Further Delays Expected in Brooklyn Village Development

Phase I to finish by 2028, Phase II to start in five to eight years

A potential rendering of Brooklyn Village
A rendering of multifamily housing in Phase I of the Brooklyn Village development.

Mecklenburg County Real Estate Management Director Jacqueline McNeil gave a presentation to update the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Brooklyn Village’s Phase I development at Tuesday night’s BOCC meeting, stating that construction should begin by summer 2025 and be completed by 2028. 

First approved by BOCC in 2018, Brooklyn Village is set to be a massive redevelopment on 17 acres of county-owned land that will reshape Uptown’s Second Ward, once home to the historically Black neighborhood of Brooklyn.  

According to the latest update, when all three phases are finally finished, the project will comprise 1,243 residential units; 252,000 square feet of retail space; 712,400 square feet of office space; 280 hotel rooms; and a 2.5-acre park.

Phase I will include 395 housing units; 106,800 square feet of retail space; 531,600 square feet of office space; and 150 hotel rooms, down from the 280-room hotel originally planned for the site. 

In order to keep the current deal with the county in place, developers must start vertical construction on Phase 1 no later than July 2025. They will have 36 months after the start date to complete parcels one and two, which will house Phase I’s multifamily units, 10% of which will be made affordable units for renters at 80% or below the average median income.  

The units’ high-rise will reach 20 stories with the low-rise reaching eight, situated in the lot formerly occupied by the Bob Walton Plaza Building on what is now East Brooklyn Village Avenue between South McDowell and South Davidson streets. 

Civil rights attorney Julius Chambers and congressman Mel Watt gathered a group of Black businesspeople to bid on and build Walton Plaza in 1973, creating a hub for the Black community and businesses in the spirit of Brooklyn, which had been largely razed throughout the 1960s in the name of so-called “urban renewal.” 

Learn more: Black History of Charlotte: How Redlining, Blockbusting and ‘Urban Renewal’ Victimized a Community 

Black pioneers like former mayor Harvey Gantt, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Rowe Motley, and General Assembly member Pete Cunningham’s kept offices in the plaza. The building was left vacant in 2019 and demolished in late 2023 to make way for the Brooklyn Village redevelopment.

McNeil stated that construction for Phase II and III, which will redevelop the current site of Marshall Park, will not need to begin until 2032, likely pushing back the 10-12 year timeline that had previously been estimated for the construction of all three phases.  

The current construction site for Phase I, known as Brooklyn Village South.

Community reaction

At Tuesday’s meeting, BOCC Chair George Dunlap emphasized that underground infrastructure construction had already begun and blamed commissioners elected after 2018 for delaying construction on the project by attempting to renegotiate the deal with BK Partners — a partnership of Conformity Corp. and The Peebles Corporation. 

Greg Jarrell, local community advocate and author of Our Trespasses: White Churches and the Taking of American Neighborhoods, responded to news of the latest round of delays with a tweet: “There are ghosts preventing this project from going up. I am not kidding.” 

Shortly after the 2018 deal between the county and developers, a coalition of former Brooklyn residents came together to challenge the planned development, calling for restorative justice through more affordable housing in it and other Second Ward developments. 

A graphic of what’s planned for Brooklyn Village.

While opposition to this specific development has not been as vocal in recent years, members of the Brooklyn Coalition have challenged other developments in the area as recently as February, when they advocated for more affordable housing to be included in a housing development planned for Midtown

On Tuesday night, former county commissioner Matthew Ridenhour tweeted his own doubts that the developers will meet the 2028 deadline for the completion of Phase I. 

“The county just needs to admit they got played on this one, expand and improve Marshall Park, and move on,” read another tweet from local newsletter Y’all Weekly.   

Market woes

Following McNeil’s presentation during Tuesday’s meeting, Dunlap raised concerns about the downsizing of the original amount of hotel rooms in Phase I from 280 to 150.

“The concern is that being in the Uptown area, to have a small hotel is like a waste of space,” he said.

McNeil said developers believe Charlotte’s hotel market is saturated compared to the amount of hotel rooms needed, however, they will continue development on the planned hotel.

The office sites included in Phase I development are currently listed as “market-driven,” following the national downtick in the office market following the COVID pandemic. McNeil said the developers are choosing to stay flexible to what the market may bear for these parcels as they see changes in the economic climate. 

Developers are continuing to market Phase I parcels for sale and development. 

The total number of multifamily units across all phases must include 10-12% affordable units accounting for an AMI of up to 80% with a 30-year deed restriction.

Developers are expected to demolish the former CMS Board of Education building, part of Phases II and III, within the next 16 months, however construction on those phases is not expected to begin for another five to eight years, according to McNeil.

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