The city is spending $10-20 million dollars to create a pedestrian streetscape environment that is comparable to Tryon in quality. The desire is to convert the current high speed one-way corridor with 3-5 lanes into a low speed bi-directional corridor that is primarily designed for pedestrian connectivity in the new Second Ward. The anchors for this new signature street/stroll district will be the Light Rail stations, the Westin, the Convention Center, the Nascar Hall of Fame, Charlotte Transit Center, and the Bobcats Arena. Over the course of the year, these activity generators pull in millions of visitors to the city.
The city has been having public meetings to get input on this. Primarily, the designs so far include curving the streets slightly to provide enough room for wider sidewalks and streetscape in front of existing development. Primarily, the extra room is needed in front of the old Brooklyn storefronts and Grace Church at 3rd and Brevard. The curves also create a larger surface area facing the street on the empty blocks east of CTC, west of Grace Church, and east of BellSouth.
The plans have centered around getting as much street retail as possible along the entire length of the street between Stonewall and Trade. The massing calls for less of canyon effect along Brevard, with more of midrise heights facing the street, with the taller building heights farther away from Brevard. Center City Partners has been working to recruit retail to this district. There is already the Epicenter going in, but the idea is to win retail space and retailers to this area to support the growing critical mass created by the arena, the hall of fame, the convention center, and mass transit. Even though the arena, the convention center and the hall of fame may not be pulling in people at the same time, they come together to create enough people to support retail in between on the whole. Having additional development on the dead surface parking lots on Brevard with new office and residential development will help to fill in the gaps to create an area with more continuous activity that is away from the main activity center of Tryon.
Brevard will become a pedestrian oriented corridor that is not critical to the automobile traffic. Caldwell will become bidirectional and be more of a thoroughfare or "workhorse" street. As a result, Brevard will be easily shut down for pedestrian events, like Speed Street, and various festivals like that. Some people have even suggested that the corridor be made a general market on certain days. Extra wide sidewalks will make enough room for stand/kiosk retail during times with peak numbers of visitors.
Here are some renderings of the concepts for this area.
Here are some additional details on this district and the plans:
This section was part of the old Brooklyn neighborhood. We are lucky to at least have three or four old Brooklyn buildings on Brevard left. But here are some pictures of this area from the 1950s.