What's rising at the old Observer site

The project being developed by Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs at the former Charlotte Observer site at Stonewall and Tryon streets now has a name: Legacy Union.
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The project being developed by Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs at the former Charlotte Observer site at Stonewall and Tryon streets now has a name: Legacy Union.


The Charlotte skyline will change yet again, thanks to these seven new buildings

November 29, 2017 01:30 PM

New buildings have sprouted along Charlotte’s skyline this year like mushrooms after a fall rain: The sleek 300 South Tryon and charmingly blocky 615 South College office towers, the 43-story Museum Tower and 30-story Ascent, and the curving, blue-faced Kimpton hotel waving above Romare Bearden Park.

But the city’s skyline isn’t done growing – far from it. And the next year is going to bring a crop of new buildings that will further add to fast-growing Charlotte’s vertical profile.

So what’s on the horizon? More growth along the southern edge of uptown as Stonewall Street (home to four of the seven new developments) continues to boom, a tower outside of the Interstate 277 loop and a new crop of luxury hotels that are set to add hundreds of new high-end rooms.

Here’s a look at the next crop of skyline-changers in Charlotte:

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Legacy Union

At the site of the former Charlotte Observer building on Stonewall and Tryon streets, a 33-story office tower is already rising. Developed by Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs, the building is anchored by Bank of America, which has leased more than half of the space. The glass pyramid-topped building is set for completion in 2019, and will be clearly visible from Bank of America stadium and the skyline shots that make their way onto national television during Carolina Panthers broadcasts.

620 South Tryon
LS3P, Hal Shute
The Bank of America-anchored tower, rising between the Westin and Duke Energy Center.
Ely Portillo

The office tower is the first phase of the 10-acre redevelopment, named Legacy Union. The developers have been tight-lipped about what future plans will include, but the site could ultimately hold up to 5 million square feet of offices, shops, restaurants, apartments, condominiums and hotel rooms.

Tryon Place

Directly across Tryon Street, developer Crescent Communities plans to start construction in early 2018 on a 26-story office building anchored by Ally Financial. The site will also include a 300-room hotel in an adjacent building, along with ground-floor shops and restaurants.

The Ally Financial-anchored tower at Tryon Place.
Courtesy Crescent Communities

Construction is expected to wrap up in 2021. The buildings are on the site of a former Goodyear auto maintenance shop and surface parking lot.

Novel Stonewall Station hotels

At just 10 stories, the pair of hotels under development as part of the Crescent Communities development at the Blue Line Stonewall Station won’t have the height of some of the other buildings here. But the pair of hotels will plug a hole in uptown’s southern skyline and add to the effect of a single, solid mass of tall buildings lining the south side of Stonewall Street.

The hotel construction sites adjacent to Novel Stonewall Station.
Ely Portillo

Both hotels will total 181 rooms each, and one will be a Home2 Suites by Hilton while the other is planned as an EVEN hotel by IHG. Preliminary construction is underway on the two sites, which are next to the 459-unit Novel Stonewall Station apartments and a Whole Foods, planned to open next year.

Uptown 550 on Stonewall

Across the street from the Whole Foods, apartments and hotels, developer Northwood Ravin is underway on a 22-story apartment tower at Stonewall and Caldwell streets. Along with an adjacent low-rise building, the development will total 421 apartments, with ground-floor retail planned as well.

This rendering shows the Uptown 550 at Stonewall.
Frontop Computer Graphics

The high-rise building will include over-the-top luxury amenities that have become standard on new Charlotte apartments. Northwood Ravin is planning a private, rooftop bar for residents and their guests, a “fitness mezzanine” gym facility with skyline views, a golf simulator, “resort style indoor spa and sauna” and outdoor fireplaces. The apartments are expected to open in late 2018.

Grand Bohemian hotel

A new luxury hotel from the Kessler Collection is planned for West Trade Street, next to the Carillon building. The 254-room hotel was originally planned to start construction in 2016, but that slipped to 2017. Now, a spokesperson said the hotel is aiming for a 2018 groundbreaking.

Rendering of the planned Grand Bohemian hotel, developed by the Kessler Collection.
Courtesy of Kessler Collection

Kessler’s hotel at Trade and Church streets will fill in a blank patch in the march of buildings along one of Charlotte’s main thoroughfares, at the expense of the privately owned patch of trees that’s long occupied the site. The 15-story hotel will also be along the Gold Line streetcar route.


At the long-vacant Carolina Theatre site at Sixth and Tryon streets, construction is underway on a dual project: Revitalizing the theater as a non-profit, civic arts center and building a 20-story hotel. On top of a five-story podium, including the theater, the hotel will be 25 stories tall. The 270-room Intercontinental is targeting a mid-2019 opening, and will include a rooftop restaurant overlooking much of the city.

A rendering of the planned InterContinental hotel atop the Carolina Theatre building.
Courtesy Foundation for the Carolinas

The 1920s-era theater is being restored by the Foundation for the Carolinas, which obtained the property from the city for $1. The city has also agreed to fund $4.5 million of the project, with most of the $51.5 million budget coming from private donations. The hotel is being developed by Valor Hospitality Group, which has leased the air rights from the foundation.

Midtown tower

With a few exceptions, notably the Arlington condominiums “pink building” in South End, most of Charlotte’s skyline is clustered inside the confines of the I-277 loop. A new plan for an office tower at Third Street and Baldwin Avenue could start to change that.

Office building planned at Third Street and Baldwin Avenue.
Courtesy NAI Southern Real Estate

Developer NAI Southern Real Estate is seeking permission to rezone the site, with a decision from Charlotte City Council expected in early 2018. The 20-story building would be one of the tallest outside uptown, but it doesn’t have any tenants announced yet, and the developers aren’t planning to build on a speculative basis.

That means they’ll hold off on construction until an anchor tenant signs on the dotted line. A 240-room hotel would be built as part of the development, along with 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo