Historian explains significance of Brooklyn Village amid multi-million reconstruction plan

Local historian shares the history behind Second Ward.
Local historian shares the history behind Second Ward.
Published: Mar. 20, 2019 at 7:17 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There’s been some back and forth when it comes to the Brooklyn Village project in Uptown Charlotte. BK Partners, who is the developer, wants to give Second Ward a face lift, but there are many here in our community who would rather preserve the area because there is so much history tied to the land.

The Second Ward used to be a thriving black community here in uptown. During segregation, this was the only area that black people could call home. But it was torn down during the Urban Renewal Project in the 70’s, and what was built is what you see today, the government center, courthouse, jail and other buildings.

What’s old is new again, or at least it will be in about 10 years. BK Partners wants to spend $683 million to build spaces for offices and retail and more.

There’s several people including county leaders who don’t want the developer to touch Second Ward because it’s considered historic land.

“It’s always been a place that’s contested that has been reshaped and reshaped,” said Tom Hanchett, community historian. “It included African-American doctors, lawyers, movie theaters, tow newspapers … African-American churches were here.”

One of the main parts of the project that a lot of people are focusing on is the housing portion of the proposal. There’s going to be about 1,200 residential units with only twelve percent dedicated to affordable housing. That’s only 114 units. Some feel like that’s not enough for those who already struggle to find a place to live in the Queen City and Hanchett has heard those concerns.

“As we talk about changing this part of Charlotte again paying honor to the history but creating a new workable mixed income mixed use neighborhood.”

Even though the ball is rolling for this project, nothing is set in stone yet. City and county leaders will have to agree on BK Partners’ finalized plans before there is official approval for the first phase of the project.

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