A new, $250 million vision for SouthPark

Features People

April 16, 2024

A rendering of an area along Carnegie Blvd. in SouthPark's 2035 Vision Plan.

SouthPark leaders share a bold plan to make the south Charlotte shopping, dining and business hub a more walkable, cohesive and connected community.

By Cathy Martin and Sharon Smith

SouthPark has a range of destination shops and restaurants, but unless you live footsteps away, driving is the main way to get from point A to point B, even within SouthPark’s main 1-mile core. 

What if getting around SouthPark was easier — even pleasant?

The newly shared SouthPark Forward 2035 Vision Plan aims to make that a reality for folks living, working and coming through SouthPark over the next 10 years. The $250 million plan has more than 60 projects designed around three themes: places, connections and mobility. 

A rendering of a reimagined Symphony Park behind SouthPark Mall in Charlotte.

A reimagined Symphony Park connects to The Loop and has more flexible water features and a multiuse landscape.

SouthPark Community Partners, which manages the municipal service district covering 1 square mile of SouthPark’s retail and commercial core, has spent the last two years gathering community feedback for the plan.

SCP President and CEO Adam Rhew says the community mandate was clear from the onset: “Lead SouthPark forward and knit together this collection of extraordinary but extraordinarily disconnected destinations to a more complete place. Stitch together the great patches that we already have into a more amazing quilt.”

In the past, land and property owners drove much of the area’s planning, says Peter Pappas, CEO of Pappas Properties. 

“We’ve inherited a lot of hard work that has made this place an amazing place to live,” adds Tariq Bokhari, District 6 city councilman.

“Now it’s our time to step up as a community and partnership and really take SouthPark to the next level,” Pappas says.

The rendering of a park and community space outside SouthPark Regional Library, part of the SouthPark Forward 2035 Vision Plan.

In this rendering, a linear park abuts SouthPark Mall on busy Fairview Road.

SouthPark Regional Library provides the foundation for this half-acre of green space on Cameron Valley Parkway.

Highlights include:

More parks and communal gathering spaces and improvements to existing spaces

  • A previously announced renovation of Symphony Park 
  • The creation of a festival streetscape on Carnegie Boulevard
  • A new linear park along Fairview Road
  • Building out public spaces around Cameron Valley Parkway, anchored by the SouthPark Regional Library. Improvements include public art, a small park and a reflective space at the historic St. Lloyd Presbyterian Cemetery site off Colony Road.

Improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists

  • Connecting destinations in SouthPark by completing The Loop, a 3-mile urban trail
  • Completing the Backlot Trail to improve connections to the city’s broader greenway system
  • Creating a biking and pedestrian trail through the mall’s underground parking deck
  • Connecting adjacent neighborhoods with dead-end streets through multi-use paths

Once complete, The SouthPark Loop will be a connective three-mile urban trail with signage, lighting, furniture, public art, and landscaping.

Creating Charlotte’s first-ever Mobility Innovation District to expand transportation options

  • Launching a free, high-frequency electric neighborhood shuttle
  • Creating a neighborhood bikeshare program
  • Building a mobility hub where neighbors and visitors can safely change their transportation — to park their bike and take a shuttle, for example

A goal is to make SouthPark a “park once” place. Rhew says the plan isn’t just for area businesses — it’s also for the approximately 100,000 residents living in a 3-mile radius and the 32,000 people working in SouthPark. “We all know that people make places …this is a plan for the mall maintenance worker, who rides the bus to work and wants to hop on the SouthPark shuttle for a quick run to the pharmacy on his lunch break. This is a plan for the HR executive who needs to attract talent to a Fortune 100 campus, and then keep employees engaged in a vibrant neighborhood with abundant amenities.”

Bokhari, who represents the district, describes the plan as more of a playbook and a living document. “If you look at these plays and something you’d like that isn’t on there, you reach out to Adam and get it on there.”

Even after 12 focus groups and hundreds of survey responses, the SouthPark Forward 2035 Vision Plan still needs community buy-in to work. SCP is looking for neighbors and business leaders who want to help bring this vision to life.

To start, SCP is committing $1 million to the project over the next three years.

Renderings courtesy of SouthPark Community Partners


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