Atrium Health, Wexford announce ‘The Pearl’ innovation district coming to Charlotte
Groundbreaking is expected to come later this year.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Atrium Health and Wexford Science & Technology are teaming up to create “The Pearl,” a new Charlotte innovation district that will be the future home of Wake Forest University School of Medicine Charlotte.
The Pearl innovation district will be constructed in an area of Charlotte formerly known as Brooklyn which, for years, was “a city within a city” where thriving African American businesses, faith communities and families lived, worked and played.
Brooklyn was also nestled near Good Samaritan Hospital in Charlotte’s Third Ward, an African American hospital with roots to Atrium Health that was comprised of hundreds of doctors, nurses and health care workers.
Urban renewal overtook this area and approximately 1,000 families were displaced and more than 200 businesses and 12 churches were destroyed in the 1950s and 60s. One landmark that remains from the Brooklyn area is Pearl Street Park, the first African American park in Charlotte.
“Many might say this area of town and its rich history have been largely overlooked. But we’re here now to begin a new chapter to this story and honor this special place as we empower the neighborhoods around it, which are shaped by diverse people and perspectives, rooted in inclusivity and belonging, and filled with endless potential,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health. “I’m pleased to share that Charlotte’s new innovation district, ‘The Pearl,’ will be a place where Charlotte’s historic vitality meets its innovative future. It’s a place where excellence lives, and where excellence is learned.”
The Pearl innovation district, located at the intersection of Baxter and McDowell streets in Midtown Charlotte, will be a mixed-use development with education, retail, apartments, a hotel and an open community space.
Over the next 15 years, The Pearl and its tenants are projected to create more than 5,500 onsite jobs – 40 percent of which are not expected to require a college degree – and more than 11,500 jobs, in total, in the Charlotte community.
Groundbreaking is expected later this year.
According to the Global Institute on Innovation Districts, innovation districts are “dense hubs of economic activity where innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and placemaking intersect.”
Wexford is also the developer of Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter, which also has deep ties with Atrium Health and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. With both school of medicine campuses located in the innovation districts, the goal is to develop the region into one of the leading areas for innovation in the nation, working in tandem to advance life-sciences research and development, as well as incubate new businesses in both locations.
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