CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The city is focusing on revitalizing different corridors in Charlotte. One of those is the Beatties Ford neighborhood where they’re making major strides toward redevelopment and economic growth.
On Thursday, the city and private partners broke ground on a new shopping center going in at the intersection of Beatties Ford and LaSalle.
“Beatties Ford Road is strong because the people who live work and invest here. I am proud to be one of those people working and living that dream,” said Christopher Dennis, the owner of E-Fix Development Corporation, who is leading the project on redevelopment.
It’s a positive step for the neighborhood, but some community members worry about gentrification of the corridor. Right now, the shopping center is empty and covered in signs warning of police presence and ‘no loitering’ signs.
Dennis says he wants to improve the corner so everyone can enjoy what Beatties Ford has to offer.
The city is calling this project the anchor of what they hope to be many more projects to bring economic opportunity to the people living in the Beatties Ford corridor.
“We want to make sure everyone goes along for the ride,” said city council member Malcolm Graham. “We believes the community’s changing and we believe it’s changing for the better and we need to make sure we’re changing the lives of the people in the community as well.”
The building is not being demolished, instead it’s being renovated.
That was important to project leaders since the building is a cornerstone of Beatties Ford history. The building housed the historic McDonald’s Cafeteria for decades, which originally opened in the early 1970′s.
Kisha Pogue is the granddaughter of the man who opened the restaurant. She says the fact that they’re preserving the history of the building means a lot.
“It’s more than just a building. He was Beatties Ford Road, just as this will be, bringing the community together,” said Kisha Poage.
But of course, there’s a concern from some community members that redevelopment will push out the people who have historically lived on the street.
City leaders say it’s not about pushing them away, but instead about bringing opportunity to their doorstep.
“They all want to make sure individuals in this community are part of the change and not victims to it. They want to make sure that everybody in this corridor can stay in this corridor,” said Graham.
The shopping center is expected to be completed in November 2021.
It will be anchored by a JP Morgan Chase Bank and will have other tenants as well.
This one development project is part of the Corridors of Opportunity, a new initiative from the City of Charlotte to revitalize several areas in Charlotte.