City leaders focus on uptown development, transportation ahead of MLS changes

Transforming area around Bank of America Stadium

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As Charlotte prepares for the introduction of the new Major League Soccer team in 2021, major Uptown developments are happening right outside Bank of America Stadium.

City leaders - in anticipation of the entertainment and business expected from the new sports team - have honed in on long-standing projects that would revitalize the area.

One such project, the Gateway District, is expected to provide a localized hub of transportation and entertainment right next to the stadium district.

Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, says projects like this one would help mold uptown Charlotte to fit its new soccer image.

“Talking about Gateway District and MLS is kind of a fun pairing because we’re talking about transformation,” said Smith. “This is one of those transformative investments in infrastructure.”

The Gateway District is technically a plan that has been decades in the works, focused on a 12-acre stretch in uptown’s Third and Fourth Ward neighborhoods.

The plan has changed to accommodate not only the growing Queen City population and the changing Charlotte landscape, but each introduction of a new sports team that redefined the city’s identity.

From the Hornets, to the Panthers, to the Knights and now, Major League Soccer.

With those introductions came Bank of America Stadium and then the BB&T Ballpark. Now, with Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper announcing his plans to interweave the new team into the fabric uptown development, projects like the Gateway District will help people travel in and out of the area.

It will include a multi-modal transportation hub at Graham Street and West Trade Street, conveniently placed right next to where the existing stadiums stand.

Smith says the plan also accounts for Charlotte’s population growth, as more and more people utilize alternate forms of transportation besides cars to get to and from work.

“The great cities of the world are really intentional about their transportation networks,” said Smith. “And they pair in thoughtful ways land use and transportation.”

The Gateway District plan is still in the planning stages although Smith says three master developers have been selected and are formulating proposals to be looked at by city leaders working on the project, including the Charlotte City Council, CATS, Charlotte Center City Partners and more.

To find out more, you can view the plan here.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.