BREAKING: Massive new town center for Ballantyne

New mixed-use plan on 25 acres aims to make the area more vibrant, attract millennials

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New town center for Ballantyne: parks, restaurants, amphitheater to replace part of golf course

The owner of Ballantyne plans a massive new mixed-use development behind the Ballantyne hotel – a town center that includes parks, restaurants, retail, residential and an amphitheater.

At a community meeting at the Ballantyne hotel on Saturday morning, John Barton, president of Northwood Office, said the 25-acre project – tentatively called “Ballantyne Center” – would give local residents more options for entertainment, housing and recreation. He told the Ledger he didn’t have an estimate on how much it would cost, but that it would be “massive.” Northwood plans to seek a rezoning for the land this summer, with construction on the first phase to start by early next year.

The project would be located on a Northwood-owned space between the Ballantyne hotel and Aloft, which is now home to the golf course’s 18th hole and driving range. Asked by an audience member if the company would redevelop the golf course, Barton said, “That is where the opportunity is. Over time, the goal is to take what is used by the few and make it available to the many.”

The first phase would include 1,000 apartments in four buildings and 150,000 square feet of retail. A second phase would add an additional 1,000 apartments and 300 town homes, Barton told the Ledger.

He called it a “very, very unique, generational opportunity” that would make the area a destination and keep residents from driving to, say, SouthPark.

“You don’t have to get in your car, drive up there, drive back, and waste time,” he said.

Wooing millennials, dogs: The Ballantyne area sometimes gets a bad rap as bunch of office buildings mixed with chain restaurants and newish single-family homes – though that’s an aging stereotype that is becoming less true as the area develops. But the project unveiled Saturday would help make the area more dynamic and vibrant, with more parks and activities. In his presentation, Barton several times dropped in the term “dog-friendly,” which is quickly becoming a code word signaling an intention to attract millennials.

“We want to make the millennials feel very welcome here in Ballantyne,” Barton told the Ledger. He added that he loves dogs.

Developers seem to be banking on the idea that as young people grow older and have children, they will move from closer-in neighborhoods to more suburban locations with better schools and more parks. This development would add options for people in that situation.

Parks to be added: Another key part of the project, Barton said, is adding parks to the area, including the equivalent of six to eight parks the size of uptown’s Romare Bearden park. A recent national survey ranked Charlotte low on park space. It would also connect to the greenway.

More details are available online at

Site of new Ballantyne Center — between Ballantyne hotel and Aloft.

Northwood renderings of Ballantye Center:

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The Charlotte Ledger is an e-newsletter and web site publishing timely, informative, and interesting local business news and analysis Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, except holidays and as noted. We strive for fairness and accuracy and will correct all known errors. The content reflects the independent editorial judgment of The Charlotte Ledger. Any advertising, paid marketing, or sponsored content will be clearly labeled.

The Charlotte Ledger is published by Tony Mecia, an award-winning former Charlotte Observer business reporter and editor. He lives in Charlotte with his wife and three children.