Big Box Breakthrough in Charlotte

Lofts and ground floor retail envelop a new Lowe's store in Charlotte, forming a buffer between the large store and the surrounding Dilworth neighborhood.

"Lowe's opened its 145,000-square-foot warehouse store Saturday, drawing attention to the 11-acre site and the potential Next Big Thing in mixed-use development.

'It's not just a big gray box,' said UNC Charlotte's David Walters, an architect, urban planner and Dilworth resident. 'It sets a precedent that developers and town planners can use, and it helps raise expectations in other communities.'

As the market becomes saturated, home improvement chains are paying closer attention to the high concentrations of potential shoppers in urban markets. That strategy typically requires more creativity and greater expense in designing stores on smaller sites near heavily populated areas.

On South Boulevard, Walters spoke in favor of the Lowe's rezoning, a contentious issue that divided neighbors and led to numerous meetings with the planning staff and Lowe's design team."

Thanks to Sam Newberg

Full Story: South End project is 'not just a big gray box'
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