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Residents Get Updates on Hwy 160 & New Retail at Annual Meeting

(March 5, 2014) A crowd of more than 200 people attended the 2014 meeting of the Steele Creek Residents Association at Christ the King Church on February 27.

2014 Annual Meeting

Bob Cook, Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) Secretary, gave an update on the development of their Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which outlines area transportation goals and objectives over a minimum 20 year period. In the previous plan, which goes through 2035. the widening of NC Highway 160 (Steele Creek Road) was ranked so far down on the list of prospective projects that its widening would not occur for decades. In the current update draft, however, Highway 160 has moved up to become a "notable project" for Horizon Years 2016 to 2025, which means that construction is proposed for completion between 2016 and 2025.

The next step is for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to assess projects and assign priority scores, which is currently happening and will help determine which projects NCDOT will plan to fund over the next seven years. The initial scores should be available toward the end of March. CRTPO then will apply local priority points to individual projects. There will be a public comment period on the rankings this summer, with CRTPO's final proposed ranking due to the state by August 1.

The top ranked projects will qualify for funding in the updated Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP. NCDOT should release the Draft TIP in December.

There are still many steps and processes that projects must go through before they are funded and constructed, but the widening of Highway 160 is making great progress.

See the CRTPO PowerPoint Presentation. See also Highway 160 Widening Anticipated by 2025.

Kathy Dennis, planner with Charlotte-Douglas Airport, gave a presentation on new roadways, new parking decks, terminal expansion, and other changes occurring or planed on the north side of the airport that will affect travelers. Unfortunately, she was not prepared to discuss changes that affect the Steele Creek community on the south side of the airport as expected.

She said that consultants currently are developing an Airfield Capacity Enhancement Plan, which will help determine if construction of a new runway for larger airplanes is needed. This study should be completed by the end of the year.

See the Charlotte-Douglas Airport PowerPoint Presentation.

Chris Thomas of Childress Klein Properties gave and update on the Charlotte Premium Outlets and RiverGate expansion.

He said that the outlet mall on Dixie River Road next to I-485 has proved to be popular with retailers and Tanger Outlets has told him that they are close to being 100% leased. They have not announced any stores except for Saks OFF 5TH so far. Construction is progressing rapidly, as the aerial photograph below shows. They plan to open around August 1.

Charlotte Premium Outlets Air Photo

Childress Klein Properties is developing businesses around the perimeter of the mall and has signed a national hotel, two sit-down restaurants, and a petroleum operation so far.

Developers also are making almost $8 million worth of road improvements in the vicinity of the mall, including widening Dixie River Road (which currently is closed to traffic) and improvements to seven or eight intersections, including Brown-Grier Road at Steele Creek Road. Traffic signals were recently installed at the ramps from I-485 to Steele Creek Road. Developers will receive up to $5.1 million in property tax rebates from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County over ten years to help pay for the improvements. See Dirt is Moving at Steele Creek's New Outlet Mall Site and Charlotte Premium Outlets Held Groundbreaking Today.

Mr. Thomas said that they have implemented significant erosion controls and installed monitoring equipment in the creek that drains the site. He said that there has been no event of erosion from the site.

RiverGateHe said that RiverGate is the most successful center in the Childress Klein portfolio and gave an update on the new Shops at RiverGate South shopping center that is under construction. 

2013 Annual Meeting

The RiverGate addition will have Ulta Beauty, Pier 1 Imports, Versona Jewelry, Michaels, and HomeGoods. He said a new retailer for Charlotte had signed for the largest store site (labeled Future Development on the diagram above) but he was not at liberty to announce its name yet. However, yesterday Gander Mountain outdoor supply stores announced that they would be building a 45,000 square foot store at RiverGate.

Stores in the new $20 million center will be opening later this fall.

Mr. Thomas also talked about the new Cabela's Outfitters store that will replace Plaza Fiesta and several fireworks stores across the state line at Carowinds.

See Charlotte Premium Outlets - The Shops at Rivergate - Cabela's Presentation (PDF).

Representatives of community organizations and local government agencies and facilities set up tables with displays and information. This provided a great opportunity for attendees to interact with each other and learn more about their community.

To comment on this story, please visit the Steele Creek Forum.

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