How an accidentally well-timed convention center overhaul will boost Uptown

Unlike many construction projects around town, the ongoing expansion of the Charlotte Convention Center is on schedule, if not slightly ahead. Once it’s finished, the facility could help bolster Uptown’s economic recovery, leaders say.

Why it matters: The facility’s $126.9 million overhaul comes at a crucial time for Uptown.

  • The pandemic forced 12 conventions to cancel in 2020, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Charlotte’s tourism arm.
  • Corporate employees that used to fill Uptown towers and patronize local businesses continue to work from home.
  • The list of restaurants and bars that’ve closed keeps growing.

The city of Charlotte has been planning an overhaul of the convention center for years as a way to lure large, lucrative conventions and meetings to town. Construction began in December 2019 and is now about 60% of the way through, says Tom Murray, CEO of the CRVA.

  • “It’s an incredibly complex project. We’re building a building on top of a building,” Murray says. “We’re also doing it on a building with a light rail running through it. And it’s right on one of the busiest corridors in the city.”