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Norfolk-Southern Intermodal Yard Relocating to Airport


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#1 UPTOWNGIRL

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:59 AM

While this could potentially fall under several different topics, I decided to err on the side of starting an entirely new one because of the implications this would have. I looked through many different threads, and utilized the search feature and could not anywhere find any reference to this -- but in today's TCO there was reference made to the fact that Norfolk-Southern is moving their intermodal rail/LTL facility to CLT/Douglas airport as part of the airport expansion.

From today's Charlotte Observer: Article Referencing Norfolk-Southern Move.

From today's Observer:
Supporters also say the toll road will help Gaston get spinoff jobs from a railyard planned for Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Norfolk-Southern is planning to move its intermodal yard north of uptown to the airport, just east of the new runway being built along Interstate 485. The intermodal facility would be a regional transportation hub where trucks carry cargo containers to and from trains.


As I stated previously, while this could arguably fall under the airport expansion thread, or else the NoDa thread, I decided to throw this one out as a brand new topic because of the ramifications such a move would have on development in: Optimist Park, Villa Heights, NoDa, Atando Junction, etc.

For argument's sake (and conversational purposes) I created this custom Google map to highlight Norfolk-Southern's intermodal facility:

Custom Map of Norfolk-Southern Intermodal Shipping Facility

Click here for a bird's eye view of the Norfolk-Southern facility.

I suppose the relocation of this rail facility makes this CATS map somewhat dated: CATS Northeast Line Projection Map but at the same time, conveys the impact of the parallel development between the two areas.

The rolling implications are fantastic! I have a very nice photo album I put together beginning in July 2007 as the area directly behind Highland Mill Apartments was being demolished (warehouses) and the area graded. I believe -- and anyone can correct me if I'm wrong -- that Winter Properties was amongst one of the interested parties in redeveloping that area. This is the area I shaded in light-green on my Google map. I'll edit this post later to include the flickr album of photographs I took during this redevelopment process for your viewing pleasure.

A search of Edgars Online evidences that N-S is committed to making capital investments into their Southeastern regional intermodal network; their most recent Form 8-K filed with the S.E.C. states: "Making capital investments in intermodal terminals and equipment to add capacity to the Norfolk Southern intermodal network, increase access and capacity for coal traffic, bulk transfer facilities, and vehicle production and distribution facilities." Thus there must be some merit to the Observer's assertion made in today's article.

Does anyone have any more information on this? This would obviously complement the lightrail transit-oriented development occurring in the North Charlotte region. Any ideas of projects under consideration for this area?

I know that Winter Properties is considering building a condo on their grassy land at the Highland Mill complex here:
Various Proposed (or speculated) Developments in NoDa/Optimist Park Area

The brothers that own Brooks Sandwich Shop (an area staple!) have been bandying about various thoughts on redeveloping their large tract as well (see on map, above).

This area is so prime for redevelopment -- the possibilities are endless!!

 

#2 Mobuchu

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 10:09 AM

So what will be left on the NS land and the land between 30th and 36th after they move the intermodal yards? I would think the Amtrak station and some of the rail lines will still be left, just not the large 20 lines deep yards.

Making new connections across this area would do wonders since Tryon and Davidson are so disconnected from each other. If developement does happen north of 30th, it would be great if maybe Atondo could connect through to 34th or 35th streets. Add to that, Dalton to Parkwood, and 24th from Tryon to Davidson. Will these be possibilities?

Edited by Mobuchu, 08 September 2008 - 10:15 AM.


#3 UPTOWNGIRL

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 10:23 AM

Making new connections across this area would do wonders since Tryon and Davidson are so disconnected from each other. If developement does happen north of 30th, it would be great if maybe Atondo could connect through to 34th or 35th streets. Add to that, Dalton to Parkwood, and 24th from Tryon to Davidson. Will these be possibilities?


Just an imaginary vision, but how AMAZING this would be if all of these connections could be made between Tryon/Davidson Streets:

Projected Streetscape Links

#4 Spartan

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 10:25 AM

I don't see why not. The problem is that most rail operators do not want any crossings- including CATS, but hopefully the city can successfully negotiate as many crossings as possible.

There is also the possibility of creating a perpendicular block- probably College St- in that area.

#5 atlrvr

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 10:32 AM

Just to clarify...the multimodal yards will likely be moved. This is only about 25% of the rail operations there....the majority of the rail yards are not currently planned to be moved.

The effect won't be very dramatic, with only the most eatern yard and truck parking lot opened up.

Edit....To get a sense of what would be removed, look at the birds-eye view provided by UPTOWNGIRL. It would only be the area in the foreground, containing 2 tracks and the parking lot....essentially everything from the parked train filled with shipping containers to N Brevard St.

#6 orulz

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 11:34 AM

atlrvr is right. The intermodal yard is about 400 feet deep along Brevard from 16th street to about 27th street. Even so, the potential for this land is not to be sneezed at. This is the portion of the yard that would be most relevant to TOD on the NE line, and it's about a total of 40 acres. Duke Power has a substation on the remaining 8ish acres along Brevard between 27th and 30th. Everything past 30th (which you have labeled as an ancillary freight yard on your map) is already owned by developers - most of it by Gateway Homes.

#7 Spartan

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:19 PM

I thought that this meant a lot of the rail through there would be coming out... not just the platform area?

#8 New Name

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

This won't effect the projected path of Lynx, as CATS won't comment on the probability of the yards actually moving. In fact, any time I ask, I get a nervous "maybe" answer from CATS. And since they can't wait on a "maybe," you can expect the potential of any major developments linking this land to actual infrastructure to be minimal. But, that isn't to say that developers aren't already posturing themselves for projects.

The Gateway development has been called "Yards at Noda," and you won't find much info about it, but the grading is done and waiting. There is another rezoning ap and project just north too: I made a map a couple months ago. Most of this is north of the Matheson St. bridge though. (How can I get a jpg of a google map - I stole mine from Dubone).

I ride Brevard almost daily and spend a lot of time imagining what could be. More than anything, I am hoping a reuse of the intermodal yards will actually work to buffer the freight lines. I am not hoping for a better grid system or anything major. I am just hoping that something will make that area of town feel less industrial and dangerous. I spend a lot of time looking across Brevard and imagining a repurposing of Sugar Creek (the way it winds from under 30th and between Brevard and Davidson and then into Cordelia Park). Right now, there is a granite company and a few other places there. I would love to see a master plan put together for this area.

#9 Spartan

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:43 PM

(How can I get a jpg of a google map - I stole mine from Dubone).


Use "Print Screen" and then paste into any image editing document (Paint, Photoshop, etc) then cut/crop the image as needed. Or if you're on a Mac, use the "Grab" utility from the utilities folder (icon is a pair of scissors).

#10 dubone

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 09:23 PM

I can't believe this doesn't have a thread already considering how much it has been discussed, but I guess not, so we'll keep this one open. For past discussion, you can search in Optimist Park, NE Lynx line topics, and the Airport thread.

As has already been posted here, we discussed at length when this plan first came up as to whether it was the full set of yards or just the truck-train (aka 'intermodal') yards and confirmed that it was just the intermodal yards. So most of those rail yards will remain.

For everyone's benefit of which land we are talking about, it it shaded here in blue:
Intermodal_Yards.jpg

This is still a tremendous amount of land, although only a minority of the land people think of when they hear this headline. But as Orulz pointed out, since the Lynx Blue line will run along here, this land provides a tremendous opportunity for TOD redevelopment that might shield and otherwise mitigate the negative impact of the rest of it.

A major positive change for the neighborhood will be that the truck traffic will be greatly reduced.

#11 orulz

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:47 AM

There was a lot of discussion of this topic in this thread although the discussion centered around turning it into a park rather than developing it.

#12 UPTOWNGIRL

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:09 AM

There was a lot of discussion of this topic in this thread although the discussion centered around turning it into a park rather than developing it.

While Charlotte needs a large urban park -- I would hope this would never happen in this area. The fringes surrounding this area are entirely FULL of homeless camps. While I feel compassion towards the homeless, as a long time former 4W resident I know how terrible the problem can be.

When CMPD set up their base of operations atop the Alpha Mill Apartments to begin their woodlands search a year ago when Kyle Fleischmann went missing at Buckhead Saloon, what they (and other volunteer searchers) found back there was supposedly incredible. As in - unbelievable - the woods around the railyard, from Alpha Mill to Highland Mill, was an absolute mess of drug paraphernalia, homeless prostitution, it was a virtual shantytown back there. And when I lived at Highland Mill, the barbed wire fencing separating the back of the complex couldn't keep the vagrants from suddenly "appearing" in the courtyard of the apts, day and night, as they crawled under/over/through the railyard fencing to panhandle, literally door-to-door, in the apartments. But they put in a CMPD officer as a tenant there and he did a good job of helping to clean the place up a bit.

When LRT comes through there and development surrounds it, it'll do wonders for the entire area. Now just need something to fill in that gap between Graham and Statesville where NorthEnd Square is going in! (PS, I heard from an old friend that the McGee Lumber Co. folks on Graham were looking to sell, thought that was an interesting tidbit).

#13 atlrvr

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:54 AM

Since I pitched the park plan, I'll defend it. Having a large scale public infrastructure investment like that is much more likely to spark renovation in an area that you described as overrun with homeless, than to remove 2 rail lines and a truck parking lot and hope for the best.

A large (several hundred acre) park with lots of programming would be a "game changer" for the whole area, and would significantly expedite the transformation of the surrounding areas.

Since the main rail yards aren't part of the plan, the park idea won't fly based on the huge expense, but it is something I think is worth pushing for. It is really the only spot possible in the city to have a truly large scale urban park.

#14 dubone

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:54 PM

[Since this is already confusing, I'd say let's discuss the park concept further in the original thread on it, and leave this to just be about what is actually happening with the rail yards. ]

Uptowngirl, what you describe is the nature of any industrial wasteland area surrounded by hyper-poor neighborhoods. As much as gentrification is maligned, as I suppose it should be in some forms, but the crime and drug issues rampant in areas like this cause a loss of population long before any gentrification might take place. Look at the population history of Optimist Park and you'll find that it has seen extreme loss of population during its time as a crime-ridden neighborhood. It has started to turn around and see population growth, which so far has stabilized the neighborhood.

Anyway, my point is that the more the neighborhood shifts from a trucking and industrial hub and back into a middle class neighborhood, the sooner that the extreme evidence of blight will disappear. Even though it is not all of that rail land, to have just the intermodal section move to the airport, the sooner that the Optimist Park side of the tracks can resurge and take advantage of the light rail and TOD.

#15 Spartan

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 10:44 PM

Ok, but given that tract of land and what it is used for, its conceivable that some of the railroad tracks there would also come out even if there are some that will be preserved for the LRT, HSR, and freight alignments. Those trains won't need to sit there since the intermodal center will be elsewhere.

#16 New Name

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 07:19 PM

I know this was talked about in a couple of different threads, but I can't find all the info scattered around...
What's the timeline for this project? Last I remember hearing, this project went from speculation to official....so when....

#17 thetrick

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:35 PM

Thought I would update this thread. This article is a little old (June 2010), but it is the latest i could find.

http://www.bizjourna...21/story13.html

Looks like the project is on track and should be completed by 2013.

TH

#18 New Name

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:33 PM

Thought I would update this thread. This article is a little old (June 2010), but it is the latest i could find.

http://www.bizjourna...21/story13.html

Looks like the project is on track and should be completed by 2013.

TH



Are you saying that you've seen the progress at the airport and can say it looks like it would be done by the target date - or just restating that this old article targeted 2013?

#19 thetrick

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:13 PM

Are you saying that you've seen the progress at the airport and can say it looks like it would be done by the target date - or just restating that this old article targeted 2013?


Good question.

I was just summarizing an important fact from the article, but as luck would have It I am privy to some of the plans and construction going on out at the airport and can say for sure that work for this facility has begun at some level. I think a 2013 date is reasonable.

If you look at the most recent Google earth image of the airport you will see a new bridge on the relocated old dowd road to the right and north of the new runway that seems to go over nothing, that is where the tracks will enter the new facility. Also you will notice that the bridge to marshal drive that goes over the existing tracks is very long, and mostly spans over nothing. Bridges are not cheap and someone had to pay for these.

TH

#20 orulz

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:21 PM

Good question.

I was just summarizing an important fact from the article, but as luck would have It I am privy to some of the plans and construction going on out at the airport and can say for sure that work for this facility has begun at some level. I think a 2013 date is reasonable.

If you look at the most recent Google earth image of the airport you will see a new bridge on the relocated old dowd road to the right and north of the new runway that seems to go over nothing, that is where the tracks will enter the new facility. Also you will notice that the bridge to marshal drive that goes over the existing tracks is very long, and mostly spans over nothing. Bridges are not cheap and someone had to pay for these.

TH

Whoa- this is really cool - the intermodal facility will be located between the runways at the airport? That's a pretty efficient use of land that often seems to be just wasted.




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