Over the past decade, South End has grown into one of Charlotte’s most dynamic places, transitioning from a predominately commercial and industrial area into a creative design district and vibrant urban residential neighborhood. Its close proximity to Uptown, major highways and access to the light rail line provides the convenience and momentum for sustained growth. Spurred on by a strong rebound from the recession, South End’s population has grown to an estimated 8,000 residents with over 3,500 housing units actively under construction or delivered within 2015 alone. While much of this growth has been primarily driven by new housing, recently several office and retail-oriented projects have been developed, contributing more balanced land use.
South End Vision Plan (2016-17)
The South End Vision Plan is a new effort driven by Charlotte Center City Partners and the Charlotte Planning Department, focused on guiding the future growth and development of South End.
Between Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, Charlotte Center City Partners, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department, and stakeholders from the South End community will work with urban design firm Stantec to design the South End Vision Plan.
Background: 2012 South End Strategic Plan
In early 2012, a Three-Year Strategic Plan for South End was prepared and subsequently adopted by the Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP) Board of Directors to articulate a new vision and set actionable goals for neighborhood growth and development.
The six goals, developed through a serious of community surveys and extensive stakeholder interviews, are:
• Develop Camden Road as the natural neighborhood center.
• Nurture authentic neighborhood retail.
• Plan and develop a public realm of parks, open space, and recreation activities.
• Improve neighborhood connectivity.
• Raise the development bar.
• Keep South End accessible to those who make it great.
Along with each goal, a series of recommendations and actions were proposed and included in Charlotte Center City Partners’ work plan. While many of the strategies have been implemented, work on others are still underway and have yet to be accomplished. The sheer pace of continued growth has allowed for some of the recommendations to be acted on, such as the continued development and build out of the Rail Trail, while others, such as the need for ‘raising the bar’ via higher design standards, are unfulfilled.
New Vision, Urban Design Guidelines & Strategies
With a rapidly growing population, proximity to Uptown and the Blue Line, and with many underutilized, well-located parcels and sites still available, developers will continue to be interested in South End. For the neighborhood to become an even more vibrant place, to capitalize on its real estate value, and to maximize its potential as Charlotte’s most walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood, the community must articulate a new vision for how South End should grow and develop. It is time to take a new, critical look at the strategies and recommendations outlined in the 2012 South End Strategic Plan, re-evaluate organizational priorities of Charlotte Center City Partners’ plan of work, and establish a community-driven vision for the continued development of South End.
A new vision and accompanying guidelines should address, among other things – street frontages and ground floor activity, building form and massing, as well as identification of and location for appropriate use(s). The plan will:
- Serve as a benchmark, providing urban design guidelines and community-driven standards for planners and government officials when reviewing potential projects in the neighborhood; and
- Seek to establish a set of higher urban design standards across the entire neighborhood that emphasize preserving and enhancing the existing character of sub-areas like Lower South End with its unique mix of single story brick warehouses and curvilinear streets, or for the Gold District with its dynamic mix of uses and potential for strategic infill and structural upfit.
A tangible vision for South End and these multiple sub-areas will be illustrated and include actionable recommendations and strategies for implementation. The sub-areas include but are not limited to:
- Gold District (bound by Morehead, Mint, Summit and Church Streets)
- Camden Square
- Lower South End (area surrounding the New Bern Blue Line station)
- South Boulevard
- South Tryon
For more information about the South End Vision Plan, contact Klint Mullis.