2014 will be busy in Ballantyne

This weekend’s Ballantyne Breakfast Club meeting will paint a picture of what Ballantyne residents can expect to see in terms of economic development in the area in 2014.

Like the groundhog and his shadow, the advocacy group’s first meeting of the year annually serves as a forecast for how businesses in Ballantyne will fare throughout the year. And this year’s meeting, on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 9 a.m. at the Ballantyne Hotel, will include a smorgasbord of officials from some of the biggest commercial developers in the Charlotte area.

Saturday’s meeting will include an update from Bissell Companies leaders, who manage the Ballantyne Corporate Park off Johnston Road, regarding how 2013 went and what to expect in 2014. It also will include a presentation by Vision Ventures, the new owners of Ballantyne Village; a discussion about the new Charlotte Premium Outlets, which will open in Steele Creek this summer; plans for the soon-to-open Publix grocery store; and an overview of the 90-acre, mixed-use Waverly development off Providence Road.

Ray Eschert, who as the unofficial mayor of Ballantyne has his finger on the pulse of south Charlotte development much better than the famous weather-predicting groundhog does regarding next weekend’s temperatures, says 2014 looks pretty good for Ballantyne.

“I feel it’s going to be a good year,” Eschert said. “We’re seeing an increase in the desirability in the area across the board. Continued growth in the Ballantyne Corporate Park will continue to attract other venues and opportunities, not only to the corporate park but to the area in general.”

MetLife’s growing presence in Ballantyne is a big indicator of that desirability, and the corporate park has much more room to grow and attract new businesses this year. That picture could improve even more in 2015, once area road improvements are complete that include widening of Interstate 485, connection of the two ends of North Community House Road and the Johnston Road flyover. All projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

“I look forward to the completion of the road system,” Eschert said. “This year will see a convergence of a lot of things that have been spinning around. Right now, it’s hard when people come in to discuss relocating their business to Ballantyne and when they leave they get backed up by traffic lights. But we will see that change soon.”

Of Saturday’s topics, Eschert said many people are most excited about the Charlotte Premium Outlets, which will bring more than 90 stores just down the road from Ballantyne. Eschert said the project shouldn’t negatively affect Ballantyne businesses, and if anything will provide people looking to relocate to Ballantyne another reason to pick south Charlotte.

Discussions regarding the Ballantyne Village may touch on some of the concerns people have voiced about the current center – mainly traffic and parking – and things the new owners have learned through focus groups involving business in the center. The new owners have recognized some problems with how the center is designed, and Eschert said they are working to address them in order to turn Ballantyne Village into “a key dining and entertaining element in
Ballantyne.”

The Ballantyne Breakfast Club will host its next meeting toward the end of February, where many of the department heads and political leaders in Charlotte will address concerns of area residents and highlight upcoming projects. Find more information on the meeting at the group’s website, www.ballantynebreakfastclub.com.

The Ballantyne Hotel is located at 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. The discussion will begin at 9 a.m., but people are encouraged to arrive at 8:30 a.m. for networking, coffee and breakfast.

 

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