Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read October 2021— The pandemic placed every industry in a once-in-a-lifetime position and, as a result, the “COVID Pivot” has been added to the lexicon of corporate buzzphrases, referring particularly to the accelerated technology adoption across industries. In the real estate industry, the impact extended to an already growingopens PDF file model around reimagining place and what it means to create a high-quality urban environment.
In addition to design processes going fully online and relationships being built through Zoom, the pandemic pushed the restrictions of cramped urban environments under the spotlight, leading many firms to reimagine the value proposition of their properties and what spaces they offer.
Charlotte, with its already strong pre-pandemic economy and growing list of corporate relocations or expansions, is among the areas that have seen properties with a greater emphasis on a reimagined urban model recently break ground, such as the Ballantyne Reimagined project in development by Northwood Office. The project broke ground in May 2021 and encapsulates what developments will look like post-pandemic, with considerations made to the changing workday dynamics and premium open spaces that garnered a new appreciation after a year of people being locked inside.
The property will look to do away with the old separation between residential and commercial, with phase I alone offering 1,000 multifamily units, an additional 200 hotel rooms, 300,000 square feet of retail space and a 3,500-person amphitheater, all connected by a criss-cross of walkable paths, ponds and over 100 acres of open green space that Northwood Director of Community Relations Hailey Rorie said is being activated by a lineup of outdoor events, including concerts, movies and a weekly fitness series. “Access to this abundant green space is truly unparalleled and we’re excited to provide such a unique place for our community to play,” she said.
Northwood President John Barton said that Ballantyne Reimagined looks toward the future with regard to how the project manages the space it offers for both indoor and outdoor usage. “We are aware that the structure of a traditional workday is changing, and we are proactively considering how that affects the ways people will use the space. The goal is to provide a flexible indoor-outdoor experience with room to spread out and different programming opportunities that vary depending on the time of day or user,” he told Invest:.
Phase I of the project is expected to be in development for five to six years. Phase II will be developed over a six- to 12-year period and will bolster an already strong offering with an additional 1,000 residential multifamily units, 300 townhomes and another 400,000 square feet of office space. A potential phase III of the project would be revisited upon possible light-rail transit development that both the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Charlotte Department of Transportation have considered. The development is a part of the city of Charlotte’s 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan and considerations around mobility were incorporated into the project at its inception. “While the project will encourage a more walkable and bikeable environment, we understand that ease of access and traffic mitigation are integral to the experience for our current and future customers,” said Northwood Development Senior Vice President Clifton Coble.
Barton added that the redevelopment would have a significant positive economic impact on the area and offer many benefits for the greater community. “The project will provide thousands of new jobs, ample parks and open space, enhanced cultural opportunities, traffic mitigation, a substantial commitment to affordable housing and developable acreage for a future transit corridor. It also makes Northwood and Charlotte more competitive in terms of corporate relocations. We are very excited about working together with our Northwood platforms to execute the vision and create a world-class destination in Charlotte.”
For the Queen City, the future is being built today at Ballantyne. Others have taken note as the reimagined development model grows in both popularity and demand and similar projects or neighborhoods spring up across the United States. With Charlotte’s extensive commitments to mobility and the high rate of growth it continues to experience post-pandemic, the city and Northwood have an opportunity to lead the way when it comes to how Americans, and especially North Carolina, will look and use their space in the future.
For more information, visit: