Dilworth greenway to close for widening

Plus: Heafner and brokerage ordered to pay $1M; CMS wanted to build parking deck as part of Olde Providence high school; Delta CEO talks trash to American on Instagram

Good morning! Today is Friday, October 11, 2019.

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Note: There will be no Ledger on Monday. Back on Wednesday.

Atrium Health’s construction plans call for big improvements to popular greenway, which will temporarily close

Roads are often closed for construction around these parts — but a major section of greenway? It’s getting ready to happen.

County officials tell the Ledger that the Little Sugar Creek Greenway between East Boulevard and Morehead Street will be closed at some point in the future as part of Atrium Health’s planned overhaul of its Carolinas Medical Center campus.

That’s a piece of information that might not sit well with the many walkers, joggers and bikers who use the scenic creekside path between Freedom Park and Midtown.

But the good news is that Atrium is also planning some big improvements to that section of the greenway. Plans filed with the city call for adding a connecting ramp to East Boulevard, a trailhead to Lombardy Circle, three access points from CMC, shifting portions of the trail, building new retaining walls and — maybe the biggest upgrade of them all — widening that section of greenway to 16 feet.

That widening would be most welcome, because on days with pleasant weather, walking on that narrow stretch of greenway involves dodging columns of baby strollers, joggers and kamikaze kid bike riders.

Timetable uncertain: A county spokesman tells the Ledger it has seen no construction schedule but has asked that Atrium provide a detour when the greenway closes. Asked for additional details, including when the greenway might close, an Atrium spokeswoman told the Ledger: “We don’t have additional details to share quite yet, but look forward to the time that we can give further information about these projects.”

In July, Atrium submitted a rezoning application for 71 acres that would allow an expansion of its main Dilworth campus. The Biz Journal reported in August that the filing would “allow a health institution, professional and medical offices, nursing homes, rest homes and homes for the aged, a medical college and/or nursing school, hotels [and] residential units.”

Dilworth is watching: City council member Larken Egleston, who represents the area, says there’s “generally some nervousness” about rezonings in Dilworth and that the community is paying attention to this one: “You don’t sneak a rezoning through Dilworth without a lot of meetings and a lot of scrutiny. That’s how they managed to preserve the neighborhood over the years.”

Nobody is offering a timeline, but assuming the rezoning is approved by early next year, construction could start sometime in 2020. Atrium’s entire project would likely take years, but plans indicate the greenway work might take place toward the beginning. It would probably take — just a guess here — at least several months.

Plans filed with the city show major improvements to the OG of Mecklenburg County greenways, the stretch near Freedom Park by Atrium Health. County officials say the greenway will have to shut during construction.

Heafner and brokerage ordered to pay $1M

Former Charlotte financial adviser Jim Heafner and the brokerage company he worked with were ordered to pay $1M by the brokerage industry’s regulatory body after Heafner recommended clients invest in a Florida company now under investigation by the SEC.

Heafner dispensed advice regularly on Charlotte TV and radio stations in segments that were paid advertising but that resembled news interviews about personal finance.

The Observer reported Thursday that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ordered Heafner and Taylor Capital Management to pay $1.03M to five Charlotte-area retirees who lost more than $500,000. Taylor Capital, based in Georgia, has said it was unaware of Heafner’s decision to sell securities of a Florida company called 1 Global. The SEC has alleged that 1 Global’s CEO used money to pay for a lavish lifestyle.

Heafner told the Ledger in an extended interview in September: “I deeply regret the 1 Global outcome.”

The Observer spoke with one of the investors who lost money:

[Sandra] Gizzi, a retired electrical technician from Concord, had big hopes to travel after her retirement. … But she said she lost $187,000 after investing in 1 Global through Heafner.

Heafner has told the Ledger that while investors have said they lost all their money, they can expect to recover a portion of it as part of 1 Global’s bankruptcy proceedings. He said he estimated that about 50 of his 600 clients had money in 1 Global at the time it filed for bankruptcy. He lost money, too, he said.

CMS eyed three-story parking garage at Olde Providence, records reveal

Results from soil testing at Olde Providence Elementary show that the site could support a high school — and also reveal that CMS asked engineers to assess the feasibility of building a three-story parking garage.

CMS has been looking for a site to build a new high school for south Charlotte, but it hasn’t said much about the possibilities. Residents of Olde Providence were surprised in August when they heard a bulldozer in the wooded section behind the elementary school, and they discovered CMS was conducting soil tests to determine if it is a suitable high-school site. Some residents say they prefer the woods and don’t want a high school built on a small site so close to their homes.

The results of the testing from ECS Southeast, obtained Thursday by the Ledger under a public records request, seem to show no major issues with constructing a high school at the site. The firm said it understood that “the project will include the construction of a new high school, three-story parking garage, associated parking and drive areas, and a football stadium.”

Board members have said recently that they have made no decisions on the site for a new high school and are looking at all possibilities.

Full report: The full soil testing results are available on the Ledger website. (It’s mostly technical soil information.)

American Airlines CEO roasted by rival on Instagram

These are tough times for Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, Charlotte’s dominant carrier. The company’s stock price is down. Its 737 Max jets continue to be grounded. Its labor unions are grumbling. And a rival CEO is posting Instagram selfies from former American Airlines strongholds. CNBC reports:

Mounting problems for American Airlines CEO Doug Parker can be summed up in an Instagram post by his rival at Delta.

Hi from #Santiago. Had a rare moment in between meetings to take in the beautiful skyline. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend. With our new partner @latamairlines, you’ll be able to explore the Americas (and the rest of the world) like never before. P.S. Any musts while I’m here? #travel #chile #keepclimbing
October 1, 2019

Delta had recently announced it was buying a stake in LATAM, the largest airline in Latin America. The airline had been an American partner until Delta stole it away.

“It was the corporate equivalent of seeing your ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend post their first pictures online together,” CNBC said.

Best of Nextdoor: Boyce Park deer hunting

File this one under alarming if true:

Boyce Park is off Sardis Road behind Charlotte Christian.

In brief

  • Small-business loans: Mecklenburg County has launched a $2.75M small-business loan program. To qualify, applicants must have a credit score of 625 or better, have minimum cash reserves to cover six months of expenses, have no open tax liens or unpaid judgments and no bankruptcies in the last five years. For more information, check out the Carolina Small Business Development Fund. (QCityMetro)

  • Housing sprawl: UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute does a deep dive on single-family home construction in the Charlotte region and finds a lot of the action is in outlying counties: “While Mecklenburg is still a major contributor to new housing in the region, it’s making up a smaller proportion of permits issued and now only accounts for about one third of all single-family permits.” (UNC Charlotte)

  • New YMCA? The 700-unit development Pulte Homes is planning in Steele Creek might include a new YMCA, according to planning documents submitted to the city. The YMCA is mum about the plans. (CharlotteFive)

Food and booze news

A weekly wrap-up of the week’s eating and drinking developments

  • Chicken sandwich source: A new Popeye’s is being proposed at the 6100 block of The Plaza in east Charlotte, according to city records. It would be Charlotte’s fifth Popeye’s.

  • New Steele Creek ABC: The N.C. ABC Commission this week approved a new location for an ABC store in Mecklenburg County in Steele Creek, at 13720 Steelecroft Parkway. That’s near the intersection of South Tryon Street and Steele Creek Road.

  • Goodbye Kitty: The N.C. ABC Commission has refused to allow a wine brand called Hello Kitty to be sold in North Carolina. The Ledger reported in July that state liquor regulators take a hard line on beer, wine and liquor names that can be interpreted as encouraging underage drinking or illegal activities. The commission earlier rejected an application from a Utah brewery seeking to sell a beer called “Polygamy Porter.”

Panthers fans take over London — but without tailgating

Charlotte magazine tells the tale of a hardcore Panthers fan who tried to tailgate in London at an NFL game a few years ago but instead had a run-in with police while drinking warm Coors Light. The upshot:

As hundreds of Panthers fans head to London to take in the team’s first international game on Sunday, one of the rituals that will be missing is the traditional tailgate. That means no corn hole, no elaborate TV set-ups, no throwing footballs, no smoke from grilled meat wafting through the parking lot. Sure, you can move the game to London. But you can’t move the entire game experience.

There are plenty of reasons why. The British have more of a pub culture. They often take public transportation to the stadiums and don’t drive as many trucks and SUVs. And rival soccer hooligans can’t be trusted to drink and mingle peaceably before games. 

“It’s just not a thing over here,” explains Joe Baucom, who heads Roaring Riot UK, a chapter of a Panthers fan club that gathers weekly in London to watch games. “Fans here all traditionally go to the pub for pints before the game.”

Here’s one guy who might not be at the pubs:

Uh oh I think I’m stuck. Quick...what’s the number for 911 in the UK?!?
October 10, 2019

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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.