Groundbreaking ceremony for west Charlotte's new River District

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for the River District, a planned community intended to contain thousands of homes, hotels and commercial space in west Charlotte.

The 1,400-acre project will include more than 2,300 single-family homes, 2,350 multifamily-residential apartments, and additional senior residential units, according to the Crescent Communities, the developer of the project. 

More than 500 apartments and 124 houses will be reserved for affordable housing. This area will be called Westrow, but other communities will branch out from Westrow. 

The project will also include more than 5,000 homes and apartments including 8 million square feet of commercial space with availability for hotels; 40% of the River District will be open space offering the only city access to the Catawba River, which will be open to the public.  

It will also include 30 miles of trails.

Crescent Communities expects homes in Westrow to be ready for move-in by early next year as they work at lightning speed.

Charlotte City Councilmember Tariq Bokhari said they're doing their due diligence to not just hand out bids, but making sure all business is included.

"We're going to give all business to minority-owned businesses or we're going to ignore it," Bokhari said. "It's really about making sure we don't fall into the traps of the past which are the good ol' boy network where we only work with people that look like us or give bids. But, we're not just going to hand anything out either. So we're determined to walk a fine line and to not repeat the traps of the past."

The location is among the largest areas of undeveloped land remaining in Mecklenburg County. Tracy Dodson, and many of the people attending the celebration Wednesday, worked tirelessly to rezone and find agreements with developers.  

The city of Charlotte invested millions to bring the idea to fruition.

"They have made great partners for us because of their direct investment in this project," Brendan Pierce, President of Commercial with Crescent Communities said. "They've invested in roads, water and sewer. It's unlocked potential to develop these 1,400 hundred acres."

Crescent Communities hopes the project generates more than $5 billion a year.

The project was first proposed in 2016. The community, which is expected to rival developments like Ballantyne, is being built in phases by multiple companies including Crescent Communities and Laurel Street. Construction of the entire community could take upwards of three decades to complete. 

The community will be located between Interstate 485 and the Catawba River near Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

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