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5 Things to Know: Wegmans Announces First Charlotte Location in Ballantyne

...and four more stories from April 14-20, 2024

A rendering of the new Wegmans in Ballantyne
A rendering of the new Wegmans in Ballantyne, set to open in Q3 of next year. (Courtesy of Wegmans Food Markets Inc.)

Wegmans Announces First Charlotte Location

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. and Northwood Investors LLC announced plans for a new Wegmans location on Northwood’s Ballantyne campus, located on North Community House Road on the east side of Ballantyne. The news threw northeastern loyalists of the grocery chain into a tizzy on social media.

According to a release on Monday, Wegmans plans to open its first Charlotte location by the third quarter of 2026. It will be the fourth Wegmans location in North Carolina.

“Four years after opening our first store in North Carolina, we’re excited to announce that Wegmans is coming to Charlotte,” said Dan Aken, vice president of real estate and store planning, in Monday’s release. “We’ve received hundreds of requests from locals asking for a store in their area, and we’ve spent years looking for exactly the right location. We’re thrilled to bring the Wegmans experience to this community.”

The Wegmans Ballantyne location will be approximately 110,000 square feet and feature traditional departments like produce, seafood, meat, bakery, deli and cheese options, and a large selection of wine and beer. Additional offerings include Meals2Go, catering, online shopping capabilities, a floral shop, coffee, home and entertaining options, and family packs.

Wegmans will be less than a half-mile from Ballantyne’s fledgling mixed-use development, The Bowl at Ballantyne, where tenants such as Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, North Italia, Flower Child, Harriet’s Hamburgers, Roosters and more are set to open this year.

SouthPark Forward Plan Shares Vision for Walkable Community

SouthPark Community Partners revealed the SouthPark Forward 2035 Vision Plan at a community event on Tuesday. The plan is a 10-year blueprint to turn SouthPark into “a walkable, energetic community.”

According to a press release that followed the event at Legion Brewing’s SouthPark location, the plan is meant to inspire and shape future investment in SouthPark’s commercial core, with nearly 65 recommended projects and programs.

​​“This truly is a plan built in partnership with the community, and our team is proud to champion a vision that ensures SouthPark lives up to its promise as an economic engine for the entire Charlotte region,” president and CEO of SouthPark Community Partners Adam Rhew said in the release. “The plan offers bold ideas and an action plan to implement them.”

A rendering of a gathering area on Carnegie Boulevard
A rendering of a gathering area on Carnegie Boulevard, part of the SouthPark Forward 2035 Vision Plan. (Photo courtesy of SouthPark Community Partners)

The recommendations would require $250 million toward public and private projects, including new parks, upgraded pedestrian infrastructure and free shuttle service within the single square mile that makes up the new SouthPark Municipal Service District. During Tuesday’s event, Rhew announced SouthPark Community Partners’ initial investment of $1 million over the next three years to kickstart implementation of the plan.

Mayor Vi Lyles along with Childress Klein partner and SCP’s Board Chairman Chris Thomas, CEO of Pappas Properties Peter Pappas and District 6 City Council member Tariq Bokhari provided remarks at the event.

SouthPark Community Partners was established in 2022 to meet SouthPark stakeholders’ desire for a dedicated organization focused on the area’s economic development and quality of life.

“The SouthPark Forward 2035 Vision Plan builds upon the foundation of years of planning, investment, and leadership by SouthPark stakeholders who are steadfast in their commitment to this thriving community,” Chairman of the Board of Directors of SouthPark Community Partners Chris Thomas said. 

“To that end, projects in the plan are intentionally not ranked by priority or assigned strict timelines to maximize flexibility and take advantage of development cycles, funding opportunities and partnerships that increase impact.”

Court Rules Cooper’s COVID Shutdown of Bars ‘Irrational and Arbitrary’

A North Carolina Court of Appeals panel ruled on April 16 that Gov. Roy Cooper’s closure of certain bars but not restaurants in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was “irrational and arbitrary” rather than based on data and science as the governor has insisted. 

Three Republican judges issued a 39-page opinion stating that Cooper did not submit any evidence showing why members of the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association would have been unable to comply with the order, which allowed other types of bars to reopen under certain restrictions. 

Cooper stated that bars were closed because, “[B]y their very nature, [bars] present greater risks of the spread of COVID-19. These greater risks are due to factors such as people traditionally interacting in that space in a way that would spread COVID-19 … or a business model that involves customers or attendees remaining in a confined indoor space over a sustained period.” 

Learn more: Nooze Hounds: Charlotte Bar Owners Left Behind in a Pandemic

Cooper allowed retail beverage venues to sell beer, wine and liquor for off-site consumption only and exempted production operations at breweries, wineries and distilleries from closure. Members of the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association stated that “some of the information did not exist at the time of Executive Order No. 141, so [Cooper] could not have relied on it.” 

“On 17 March 2020, [Cooper] issued Executive Order No. 118 closing all bars including those in restaurants. On 20 May 2020, [Cooper] issued Executive Order No. 141 letting some types of bars reopen with specific safety precautions but requiring private bars, including those owned by [members of the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association], to remain closed,” read the court document. 

The court also denied the NCBTA’s claim for financial compensation, so it’s unclear what exactly will come of the suit from here. The panel sent the case back down to the trial court for further proceedings.

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Unveils Mobile Stage

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO), in partnership with the city of Charlotte, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to reveal the Symphony’s mobile stage. The platform will host the CSO Roadshow concert series, bringing new opportunities for residents to interact with and enjoy music where they wouldn’t otherwise engage with CSO. 

Elected officials and community leaders cut the ribbon at the unveiling of Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's new mobile stage
Elected officials and community leaders cut the ribbon at the unveiling of Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s new mobile stage. (Photo by David Flowers/City of Charlotte)

Funded in part by the city through the American Rescue Plan Act, the customized 40-foot trailer will serve as the stage for “drive-up” concerts in communities throughout Charlotte. With the ability to accommodate 25-30 CSO musicians, the mobile design of CSO Roadshow allows for dynamic performances on streets and plazas and in parks and other community gathering spaces. 

“One of the shared goals between the city and the Symphony is to increase accessibility to the arts and eliminate barriers to enjoying music, arts and culture in the area,” said Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones at Thursday’s event. “The mobile stage will be a bridge in building connections between the arts and our community. Corridors of Opportunity residents will be able to experience and enjoy live music in their own backyards.”

Read more: Charlotte Symphony’s Alex Wilborn Traces Path to Principal Trumpet Seat

So far, there are three scheduled CSO Roadshow concerts this summer. CSO Roadshow’s first concert is scheduled for April 28, in collaboration with the Latin American Coalition, followed by a performance on May 5 at the Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church. On June 21, CSO Roadshow will perform at the Ophelia Garmon-Brown Community Center. All CSO Roadshow events are free and open to the public. 

Upgrades to Jerry Richardson Stadium Approved

The UNC Board of Governors approved a $60-million Phase 1 expansion of Jerry Richardson Stadium on Thursday, paving the way for construction of a state-of-the-art tower and the augmentation of stadium capacity.

Notable additions include seven luxury suites, club seats, loge boxes, ledge seats and additional general seating. Additionally, the club level will serve as a dedicated team dining area, meeting facility, and conference space, enabling year-round utilization.

Phase 1 will increase the stadium’s capacity from 15,314 to 18,170, with Phase 2 plans are already in motion to increase capacity to 21,000 as additional funds are secured.

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