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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Charlotte's Music Factory transforms abandoned mill into lively entertainment district

Kaid Benfield

Posted May 18, 2012 in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  NC Music Factory (by: Michael Kuhn, creative commons license)

Charlotte now has a lively entertainment district within shouting distance of Uptown, thanks to the NC Music Factory, which has repurposed a decaying textile mill into a sophisticated mix of concert theatres, restaurants, offices and places to hang out.  Neil Takemoto writes on his Cooltown Studios blog:

“A transformed 1900s textile mill, Charlotte’s NC Music Factory may not be located in the heart of the city, but once you’re there, many of the locals find it has the heart of a city. Why? Because one can spend the entire day there without getting bored.

“Opened in 2006, but not maturing until more recently, the 300,000-square-foot (28,000 sq m) complex accommodates audiences of 1500 indoors and 5000 outdoors, amid a creative variety of lounges, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, with 50,000 s.f. of fully-leased offices and 31 music rehearsal spaces.”

The project is part of a larger concept called Uptown Village, which will also include new housing.

  NC Music Factory (by: Jason Ruckman, creative commons license)

  Before the Music Factory (by: Jason Ruckman, creative commons license)     inside one of the lounges (by: Willamor Media, creative commons license)

  the outdoor venue (by: Michael Kuhn, creative commons license)

  just north of Uptown (via Google Earth)

Adapting old buildings for more contemporary uses is a great way to save environmental resources, and enriching a city with culture close to the center is a terrific way to strengthen the urban core, which pays enormous dividends compared to the suburban sprawl for which Charlotte has long been notorious.  This project, which does both, was begun by a father and son team back in 1999 – and, best of all, they took care to involve the complex’s Fourth Ward neighbors from the beginning.  The video has the story:

 

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Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.  Please also visit NRDC’s Sustainable Communities Video Channel.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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