Former primarily African-American neighborhood will be brought back to life to provide economic opportunity for Charlotteans
Charlotte, N.C., June 16, 2016 – BK Partners LLC – an entity including Charlotte-based developer The Conformity Corporation (Conformity), The Peebles Corporation and Stantec Architecture and Engineering – has been selected through an extensive RFP process by Mecklenburg County to develop two parcels in Second Ward in Uptown Charlotte. The various parties will commence negotiations on the purchase immediately.
“We seek to create a transformational project that will rejuvenate and revitalize the Brooklyn Village area. The rich history of Brooklyn and its past residents have taught us so much,” said Monte Ritchey, president of Conformity. “I think along with assembling an incredibly strong team, our passion to do what is right for our City and Mecklenburg County was evident in our proposal and presentation and that’s why we were selected.”
“We are honored to have been the unanimous choice of the selection committee, the county manager and county staff,” said Don Peebles, chairman of Peebles Corporation. “We look forward to continued collaboration with public officials and community stakeholders to ensure the final direction of this project be one of cultural inclusivity and equal economic opportunity. We are committed to transformative opportunities for local minority and women owned businesses.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to reflect vitality, a respect for the past and the promise of an aspirational future through the design of Brooklyn Village,” said Jeffrey Simon, senior principal of Stantec. “Our commitment is to bring the best in global urban design to this project in a way that will make all Charlotteans proud.”
BK Partners LLC proposed purchasing two parcels from Mecklenburg County for $33.7 million requiring no public subsidy for the master plan. The team plans the majority of infrastructure delivering in Phase 1. Demolition would start immediately after the transaction is complete. The master plan includes approximately:
- 1,070 residential units including 107 affordable workforce units, triple the County-set goal
- + 170 condominiums
- + 680,000 SF of office
- + 250,000 SF of retail
- 2 hotels (130-key boutique hotel unique to Charlotte; 150-key extended stay)
- 1.9 acres of public green space and a 21st century public park, nearly 20% larger than the county-set goal
- Nearly 4,000 SF of cultural space
- A pedestrian throughway called Myers Passage that connects Brooklyn Village North and South
- $13.5 million of infrastructure improvements, including new pedestrian-friendly tree-lined streets
The overall master plan is projected to deliver over a 10-year horizon with the majority in Phase 1 being delivered within 5 years. With infrastructure improvements and park development, the proposal is valued at over $50 million by HR&A Advisors, a national industry-leading consulting firm that specializes in economic development, real estate and urban revitalization, HR&A was retained by the county to evaluate proposals.
The design team is led by Stantec, a global design firm with a Charlotte office, who will provide architecture, engineering, site planning, permitting and project oversight. They have partnered with local experts Perkins + Will and Cole Jenest & Stone with parking advisory services provided by The Car Park and Preferred Parking.
The lead national developer, The Peebles Corporation, has developed countless urban hotel projects throughout the country including the top-performing Courtyard by Marriott in the nation. They selected a leading hotel operator, InterContinental Hotels Group, to deliver two distinct hotels. Brooklyn Village North will feature an Even Hotel. Even is a new lifestyle brand that promotes “wellness.” A state-of-the-art gym and personal fitness equipment in the rooms are unique attributes of the brand. Even Hotels attract travelers that desire to stay balanced while on the road. Its onsite full-service “Cork and Kale” restaurant will be open to the public. Brooklyn Village South will offer an urban prototype extended stay hotel and satisfy unmet demand in the sector.
The residential component will include market-rate and workforce apartments indistinguishable from each other as well as for-sale condominiums. The lead local partner, Conformity, is known for innovative local residential and mixed-use developments such as Southborough, Steelhaus and The Williamson, as well as its preservation work, which includes top honored residential work (e.g. The Rutizer Condominium) and commercial developments (e.g. The Carolina School Supply Building).
BK Partners is planning to develop an iconic office tower along Stonewall Street to give a distinct sense of arrival to Uptown Charlotte and to help connect Midtown to Uptown. The majority of retail and restaurants will be located in Brooklyn Village North in a more walkable “village” environment and surrounding the park. The team seeks to provide a diverse mix of boutiques, stores and eating establishments.
“Our goal is to achieve that magic mix that will not only make Second Ward a great place to live and work, but also a great place to visit over lunch, in the evening or on the weekend,” Ritchey added.
The team’s minority participation efforts, led by a national leading minority-owned developer with projects in major markets, The Peebles Corporation, is projected to achieve a goal of at least 35% participation by historically underutilized minority or women-owned small business enterprises.
“Our MWBE goal is particularly important given this was predominantly an African-American neighborhood before the 1960’s urban renewal pushed hardworking families, businesses and churches out,” added Peebles. “I am passionate about creating economic opportunities for youth and entrepreneurs.”
The team intends to transform this community by ensuring that local businesses and the youth have the ability to learn leadership and management skills associated with the hospitality industry so they plan to establish an Entrepreneurship Institute. The model for the institute is the Peebles Entrepreneurial Academy within the D.C. Hospitality High School in Washington, D.C., which has been adopted as the hospitality model by the National Academy Foundation.
Public Space & Art
Brooklyn Village North is an urban respite organically anchored by park space and public art that will be curated through a series of outreach efforts and strategic partnerships with community organizations, local government, nonprofits and other NGOs.
Myers Passage is an essential part of how Brooklyn Village North and South “communicate” with one another and an important reference to the Brooklyn that once was. Myers Passage also creates opportunities to translate the history of Brooklyn through art, installations and other tools, all while connecting the North and South sites to each other, to First Ward and ultimately to Morehead and Dilworth beyond I-277.
BK Partners has committed to 3,700 SF of cultural space including an iconic building to be designed by Phil Freelon and Zena Howard of architecture firm Perkins+Will, local designers responsible for the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, as well as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
The team looks forward to leveraging the public engagement process to prioritize goals, work towards funding and execution of those goals, and to create an instructive and inclusive place that Charlotte and its visitors can enjoy.
“We hope to make good on the promise of urban renewal and do so in a thoughtful and meaningful way,” added Ritchey.
About Conformity Corp.
The Conformity Corporation (Conformity) is a real estate development company with over 20 years of experience putting capital to work in real estate. Conformity’s focus is on real estate that is off-market, intrinsically valuable and under-utilized. Its specialties are urban office, housing and retail, routinely integrated and often located on complex sites requiring assembly, entitlements and other value additions.
Conformity actively seeks to capitalize on properties with key features such as historic architecture and proximity to mass transit, public parks and retail and office buildings. Spaces and buildings that every member of the community can benefit from are a hallmark.
Incorporated in 1993, Conformity has delivered over $250 million worth of development and $2 million in federal preservation tax credits. For more information, visit www.conformitycorp.com
About The Peebles Corporation
The Peebles Corporation is a privately held national real estate investment and development company specializing in residential, hospitality, retail, and mixed-use commercial properties. Founded in 1983 by R. Donahue Peebles, the company has become an industry leader with a portfolio of completed and current developments totaling 6 million SF and more than $5 billion in key markets including New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Miami and Miami Beach. For more information, visit http://www.peeblescorp.com.
The Stantec community unites more than 15,000 employees working in over 250 locations. We collaborate across disciplines and industries to bring buildings, energy and resource, environmental and infrastructure projects to life. Our work—professional consulting in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management and project economics—begins at the intersection of community, creativity and client relationships. Stantec is traded on the New York Stock Exchange at STN. For more information, visit http://www.stantec.com