Charlotte, NC

Brightwalk

Stimulating Economic Growth With Sustainable Living

status

Completed 2017

client

Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership

expertise

Master Planned Communities, Residential

services

Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering

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Access for All

This 98-acre revitalization effort replaced a blighted neighborhood with a vibrant mixed use, mixed-income community that takes advantage of its Center City location and access to public transit.

Just beyond Uptown Charlotte lies Double Oaks, a once-deteriorating neighborhood well positioned to catalyze the North End neighborhood. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership initiated one of their largest projects with the purchase of the site in 2007, creating a community of multiple housing types and income categories, retail and commercial properties, and public amenities and services with the help of public/private partnerships. The impetus for this new neighborhood was the environmental, social, and economic elements that underscore sustainable design, and the resulting development is now a model for affordable and sustainable housing that stimulates economic growth and social well-being within a brownfield redevelopment effort. Ensuring that existing residents had the chance to stay in the neighborhood demonstrates the initiative LandDesign committed to equitable opportunities.

LandDesign provided civil engineering and landscape architecture services to maintain integrity with the sustainable development foundation and worked with the City of Charlotte on the investment initiatives related to road connectivity and street and infrastructure improvements. It was important to minimize new strain on the environment by re-using existing infrastructure and utilities to support the new community.

Our Vision

Beyond the Plan, Beyond the Product

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The vision for Double Oaks, now known as Brightwalk, was to transition from a neighborhood plagued by crime, dilapidated structures, and challenging environmental issues to a healthy, safe, and walkable urban neighborhood accessible to all. This meant maintaining approachability to people of all means, especially current residents, through offering a range of new housing options and drawing transportation, recreational infrastructure, and open space into the neighborhood.

Amidst an economic recession, it took courage and strength in numbers to develop a big-picture vision that coordinated policies, leveraged investment, and optimized potential to deliver a neighborhood that goes above and beyond the minimum requirements. Collaborating with public and private entities enabled the team behind Brightwalk to create meaningful experiences and undertake ambitious initiatives to conceive of a vibrant community that inspires the City of Charlotte.

The Challenge

Reclaiming a Neighborhood for the Community

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The lofty goals for Brightwalk did not go unchallenged. Unfortunate timing landed the project in the middle of a recession, making it difficult to attract developers and financial backers. Invested partners leveraged every avenue possible through public and private credits, grants, and incentives, and worked with each other to examine every detail to find the most feasible and economical solution for implementation without detracting from the vision.

Our Approach

A once-isolated neighborhood is now accessible through new physical and social infrastructure

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Physical

Remediate a dilapidated, environmentally challenged site through restoration and reclamation of green space, connecting it to surrounding neighborhoods through greenways, parks, and sidewalks

Functional

The original site lacked a mix of uses and did little to fulfill the dire need for affordable housing. Clearing the site for a fresh start to build a variety of uses made it an asset to the community

Social

Create an attractive, economically viable, and accessible neighborhood for Charlotte’s low- and median-income residents through curated housing options and amenities

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Physical

Remediate a dilapidated, environmentally challenged site through restoration and reclamation of green space, connecting it to surrounding neighborhoods through greenways, parks, and sidewalks

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Functional

The original site lacked a mix of uses and did little to fulfill the dire need for affordable housing. Clearing the site for a fresh start to build a variety of uses made it an asset to the community

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Social

Create an attractive, economically viable, and accessible neighborhood for Charlotte’s low- and median-income residents through curated housing options and amenities

Overcoming Challenging Environmental Requirements

The site had challenging environmental issues, and to meet the NC Brownfields Agreement, extensive testing, remediation, and planning was built into the redevelopment plan–including relocating a sewer line out of a streambed to facilitate a full stream restoration. Brightwalk is ISC Certified by the Audubon Lifestyles International Sustainability Council and recognized as a LEED ND Stage 2 community.

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Integrating Public Art

An environmental art master plan by the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, a collaborative project partner, integrates art installations that enhance the ecological sustainability of the neighborhood.