Levine Family Shares Vision for First Ward

CHARLOTTE -- The new First Ward Park in uptown Charlotte will officially open on Dec. 8. 

This is just the first phase of a plan to re-develop a major portion of uptown.

"Since 1981, we have assembled approximately nine square blocks, totally 23 acres of land,” said Daniel Levine.

Levine says he wants an 18/7 walkable community to live, work and play.

“Our master plan is 1.5 million square feet of office, 500 hotel keys, 350,000 square feet of retail, 1,500 residential units,” said Levine.

Levine showed some of the details on a walking tour, including a 264-unit condo building going up starting next year and a 20-story tall office tower. Two hotels are being built on the east side of the park. That’s not all.

“Downtown Charlotte needs street level retail,” said Levine.

So, he decided to build Market Street to do just that. It will run along the light rail line for two blocks.

While a lot of these plans sound new and visionary, the Levines went to great lengths to try and save two buildings that are each more than a century old.

“Dixie's being renovated for the next 100 years. It was built in 1897,” said Levine. “There's a big opening on each side of the building. On operating hours, you'll be able to walk through the building."

Built in 1873, the old Bail Bondsmen building will also be saved and turned into retail or a restaurant.

“The Charlotte community has been very good to my family, and this is a way for us to give back,” said Levine.

Despite the lofty plans, don’t call him a visionary.

“I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that. Some might say I'm slow to the party,” said Levine. “Time will tell as this neighborhood develops, but I think it will set up for the next 100 years very nicely.”

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