Transforming a suburban office campus into an urban mixed-use district.
In 2017, Northwood Investors purchased Ballantyne Corporate Park (BCP) in Charlotte with the intention of transforming the 535-acre high-quality suburban corporate campus into a mixed-use destination with a wide range of employment, residential, retail, arts & entertainment, food & beverage, and recreational venues. Northwood saw an opportunity to reimagine BCP as a more urban, dense, and active district that appeals to a broader section of the population, from those newly-employed to those entering retirement who are seeking a more integrated and connected lifestyle.
The suburbs of major U.S. cities such as Charlotte are changing. Suburban, automobile-oriented office parks that were popular in the 1970s–80s are now being rethought as mixed-use, walkable, vibrant, urban, and connected places to work, live, play, and enjoy life. This type of suburban retrofitting is happening across the U.S. and is bringing new amenities and development to large single-use employment campuses to attract the next generation of employees and residents who are seeking a more frictionless way of life.
To achieve Northwood’s transformational redevelopment goals, Sasaki’s approach to the Ballantyne Reimagined master plan is designed to advance development principles of walkability, transit orientation, clustered living, connectivity, and sustainability. The master plan seeks to evolve a new identity for Ballantyne that is based on a mixed-use program while forging connective relationships with the adjacent Ballantyne neighborhoods. The master plan’s design principles include advancing urbanity, outdoor lifestyle, and health and wellness. With these principles, Ballantyne will become a high-quality civic destination with a great public realm that pays close attention to the “spaces in between” the buildings that are important to the experiential quality of place. This approach aligns with Northwood’s vision to create a better quality of life and experience for current and future employees, residents, and visitors to Ballantyne.
Currently, Sasaki is working with the Northwood team on a rezoning and entitlement process with the City of Charlotte for Phase 1 which will focus on a new Town Center located on the east side of BCP. The rezoning calls for using 25 acres of a nearby golf course as the location for a new mixed use anchor development that will include 1,200 multi-family units, 300,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and entertainments uses. These improvements are organized around a new landscape that includes a 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, a Main Street plaza, a small park with flexible programming, a “stream park” that improves the ecology of the stream corridor and provides active and passive recreation space, and streetscape improvements drawn from the Phase 1 design framework. These pedestrian-oriented landscape improvements will activate and enhance the Phase 1 Town Center experience.
Phase 1 will also enhance the west side of BCP, primarily in relation to popular communal spots such as Our Park, which is known for its iconic bull statues. The Brixham Tent will be transformed into more universally-utilized spaces, with designated areas for food trucks, seating options, and landscape features.
Phase 2, planned for implementation during years 6-10, envisions another 1,000 multifamily units, 300 townhouses, and 400,000 square feet of office space. If the planned light rail or bus rapid transit reaches Ballantyne, additional development might be available based upon further planning.
Northwood expects the evolution of Ballantyne to serve as an economic catalyst for the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County region, making it an even more compelling place for business to relocate. Access to talent, recruitment and retention is a high priority for Northwood’s office tenants. With the added benefits of increased walkability, enhanced programming, and enriching amenities, Ballantyne will become an even more desirable place for work and beyond.
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