New Vision for First Ward

CHARLOTTE -- The last time you drove in First Ward in uptown Charlotte, you probably noticed a lot of dirt, parking lots and empty fields.  That’s all about to change. 

The Levine family began buying parcels of land in 1981. Thirty-four years later, you’re starting to see development, starting with the opening of First Ward Park.

“We took the responsibility of designing, building and delivering this park,” said Daniel Levine. “We did it ahead of schedule and under budget. I've never built a park before and it's really fantastic.”

Levine gave a walking tour of the park and his connecting properties.

“This is a more contemplative part of the park,” said Levine referring to the fountain on the north side. “These are jets of water with LED lights. In the middle it fogs and steams.”

There is a different vision for the south side of the park.

“What’s really great is the water feature for the kids,” said Levine. “Lots of little jets and water and lighting. We'll be able to control the lighting much like the Wells Fargo building.”

Even the benches on the park closest to Imaginon Library are designed for specific users. They’re made with animal designs.

When the park opens next month, 8th Street will re-open. They re-designed the street making the lanes narrower and putting in a curve so when people drive through the park, they slow down.

This park is a first for Levine as part of a public-private partnership. Next week, he’ll hand over ownership to Mecklenburg County.

“We will trade this land to the county for some of the county-owned property and they will reimburse us for the cost,” said Levine.

The price tag for the park is more than $13 million.

Levine is satisfied with the final product.

“I'm very pleased with this park and proud of it,” said Levine.

But this is just the first phase. 

On Tuesday night, only on Time Warner Cable News, see and hear Levine’s future vision and plans for the connecting properties.  It includes saving two historic buildings, adding hundreds of condos and hotel rooms and building an office tower.

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