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  • DCH News Team

Fresh renderings: 10 proposals envision new "front door" for Charlotte's airport

Crosland Southeast proposed plan for Charlotte Douglas International Airport's new Destination District. Rendering: Crosland Southeast/courtesy of the City of Charlotte


Developers interested in revamping Charlotte Douglas International Airport's "front door" have submitted 10 proposals ranging from hotels and breweries to industrial and manufacturing space, according to records Axios obtained.


Why it matters: Growth at Charlotte's airport isn't stopping at the terminal or the tarmac. Soon changes will include a new aviation museum and an airport overlook, both set to open in the coming months.


Catch up quick: Airport officials rolled out the CLT Destination District plan to give its main entrance a facelift in January.


  • The goal is to develop roughly 90 acres owned by the airport along North Josh Birmingham Parkway and Stafford Drive near the Wilkinson Boulevard entrance, making it a more people-focused and welcoming "front door," per airport officials.


What they're saying: "We are still in the process of evaluation and selection. We anticipate being able to disclose it around mid- to late-May, when we have committed to the proposer that we will have a decision," an airport spokesperson tells Axios.


What's next: The airport is on track to request city council approval of the proposed agreement with the selected developer(s) this fall and to have contracts executed by Dec. 1, the spokesperson says.

Here are the highlights from the proposals. Affiliate firms are only included if they're listed in each proposal.


Major site development



Context: The Charlotte-based company is currently leading the city's roughly $375 million redevelopment of the former Eastland Mall site in east Charlotte.


What to expect: Crosland intends to take a phased approach, developing roughly 15 acres around Little Rock Road and Wilkinson Boulevard:


  • 300 hotel rooms across two hotels

  • 50,000 square feet of retail

  • 72,000 square feet of office space

  • A brewery

  • Rideshare operations

  • Conference facilities

  • Gas station/convenience store

  • LYNX Silver Line station

  • Pedestrian bridge

  • Possible public art


Timeline: 5-7 years for full project completion.

Rendering: Crosland Southeast, courtesy of the city of Charlotte

A possible pedestrian bridge, public art and green space. Rendering: Crosland Southeast, courtesy of the city of Charlotte



Context: The Florida-based developer led the redevelopment of downtown Kannapolis.


What to expect: LMG's proposal spans roughly 70 acres. The project would occur in three phases:


Phase 1:

  • 38,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor Powerhouse Gym

  • 120-room hotel

  • Gas station

  • 48,000 square feet of office space

  • Roughly 6,000 square feet of fast food

  • 23,000 square feet of retail


Phase 2:

  • 120-room hotel

  • 14,000 square feet of restaurants and breweries

  • 3,000 square feet of fast food

  • 48,000 square feet of medical


Phase 3:

  • 64,000 square feet of office

  • Garage

  • Charlotte Area Transit System hub


Industrial: Nearly 690,000 square feet of industrial space for manufacturing and logistics, plus flex space across five buildings.


Timeline: Phase 1: Q2 2026-Q1 2028

  • Phase 2: Q2 2028-Q1 2031

  • Phase 3: Q2 2031-Q1 2033

  • Industrial components can be built during any phase.


The big picture: LMG estimates the project will cost $300 million, which does not require a financial contribution from CLT, Peter Flotz, LMG CEO & founder told Axios.


  • LMG would co-own the land with CLT rather than lease it.

LMG's affiliates for the project:


Proposed eatery. Rendering: Courtesy LMG


Proposed outdoor fitness. Rendering: Courtesy LMG

Proposed industrial site. Rendering: LMG


Context: This proposal is a joint venture between North Carolina-based development and construction firm Samet, California-based architecture and design-firm Gensler and Charlotte-based developer The Providence Group.


What to expect: 39 acres would be developed for the central district and 51 acres would be industrial development. The corner of Wilkinson Boulevard and North Josh Birmingham Parkway would be known as The Gateway, framing the entrance to the CLT Destination District.


  • Main Street CLT would span two blocks from Wilkinson Boulevard to Scott Futrell Drive with office, retail and hotels stretching into plazas and courtyards.

  • Parking and a gas station are also part of the plan.

  • There's also a possibility for a rail trail along the future Silver Line and a pedestrian bridge across North Josh Birmingham Parkway.


Timeline: It includes three 5-year phases:

  • Phase 1: 2026-2030

  • Phase 2: 2028-2032

  • Phase 3: 2030-2034

Rendering: Samet, Gensler, The Providence Group, courtesy of the city of Charlotte



Hotel



Context: The western North Carolina-based company is the team behind The Cherokee at Harrah's Casino Resort. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is their investment partner.


What to expect: DreamCatcher Hotels intends to build a 150-250-room hotel encompassing 15,000-20,000 square feet.


Timeline: The project would be complete 24-30 months after an agreement is signed. The proposal asks for a minimum 50-year land lease.

DreamCatcher Hotel rendering across from the entrance to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Rendering: DreamCatcher Hotels, courtesy of the city of Charlotte



Context: The South Carolina-based company manages, develops and owns hotels in the Southeast, including Hilton and Marriott brand hotels.


What to expect: Naman Hotels would build two hotels and would remain as a longterm owner. There would be a 150-room, roughly 80,000-square-foot hotel, possibly a Homewood Suites by Hilton, plans say.


  • The second would be a 260-room, roughly 130,000-square-foot, full- service or dual-branded complex, which would house two separate hotels. The hotel brand here is TBD.


Timeline: The smaller hotel would start construction in late 2025 and open in early 2027. The larger hotel would begin construction in Q4 2025 and open in mid-late 2027.

Rendering for the 150-room hotel. Rendering: Naman Hotels, courtesy of the city of Charlotte


Vinta Group


Context: Vinta Group develops and operates franchise hotels, including Holiday Inn Express and Homewood Suites.


What to expect: Vinta Group's proposal calls for a 120-room, four-story, 60,000-square-foot hotel on two acres.


  • It would include floor-to-ceiling windows with a panoramic view in the atrium, a living plant wall in the lobby, a bar serving small plates and an overall sleek and modern design.

  • Proposed franchise brands include: Aloft, Fairfield Inn, Atwell Suites and Hotel Indigo.


Timeline: The project would be completed roughly 14 months after a slab is placed, meaning the project would take more than a year to construct.


The big picture: The proposal calls for the airport to serve as an owner, along with Vinta Group and other private equity partners. Ultimately the project would be sold.


Rendering: Vinta Group, courtesy of the city of Charlotte


Industrial



Context: Portman Industrial is a division of Atlanta-based Portman Holdings, which developed The Line in South End (now home to Sycamore Brewing and Chapter 6).


What to expect: Portman Industrial's proposal says possible tenants range from fields like tech and auto, to food production and distribution to advanced manufacturing, which would be housed in industrial buildings with a modern design.


  • The plan calls for Portman Industrial to purchase up to eight parcels. The first five would be part of phase 1 totaling roughly 42.8 acres at the intersection of Wilkinson Boulevard and Stafford Drive. Phase 2 would include the option to purchase three more parcels (approximately 8.5 acres total).


Portman's proposed affiliates:


Timeline: Portman Industrial will share a timeline later if the firm is selected for the project, Jessica Freese, the company's VP of development, Southeast region, told Axios.



Context: Seefried Industrial Properties is an Atlanta-based industrial developer.


What to expect: Seefried Industrial Properties intends to purchase roughly 43.44 acres between Wilkinson Boulevard and Stafford Drive. It would construct two industrial buildings totaling roughly 336,000 square feet.


Timeline: Construction would be complete by early 2028.



Context: The Dallas-based developer is a subsidiary of CBRE. This project would be led by its mid-Atlantic team (TC MidAtlantic Development V, Inc. is a subsidiary of TCC).


What to expect: TCC proposes constructing two industrial buildings totaling 403,000 square feet between Wilkinson Boulevard and Stafford Drive. Proposed terms would be a ground lease for $392,925 annual ground rent.


Timeline: Construction would take 13 months starting in May 2026 and ending in June 2027.


Conceptual rendering. Rendering: TCC, courtesy of the city of Charlotte


Other



Context: Koulomb LLC is an EV charging brand for Monroe-based Pure Power Contractors, which is a utility-scale solar contractor.


What to expect: Koulomb proposes installing eight charging stalls. It would pay the city $1,600 per month to lease the parking spaces.


  • EV drivers would pay Koulomb at the pump ($0.50/kWh for the general public and $0.40/kWh for city and airport drivers). Koulomb would pay for all electricity used, plus all equipment and infrastructure.


Timeline: The charging stalls would launch 16 weeks after contracts are executed.


Rendering: Koulomb, courtesy of the city of Charlotte



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