By now you’ve probably heard of Camp North End, the massive new project ATCO Properties & Management is developing north of Uptown. Maybe you read something about Hygge Coworking opening there, or you were one of the nearly 700 people who showed up to the nearly 100-year-old warehouse for CreativeMornings/Charlotte last week.
Either way, expect to be hearing way more about Camp North End in the coming weeks, months and years as ATCO transforms a bunch of historic buildings that used to be an old Ford factory and a missile plant into a massive mix of offices, housing, retail and more.
Until then, here are the eight things you need to know about it now, starting with:
(1) Where it is.
It’s just north of Uptown and not far from the N.C. Music Factory, between Statesville Avenue, Graham Street and Woodward Avenue.
(2) It’s freakin’ huge.
If you went to CreativeMornings, you have an idea of the scale. But only an idea. The building that hosted the event is 240,000 square feet — huge — but that’s only one of several massive buildings (along with more smaller ones) in the Camp North End development.
Camp North End Community Manager Varian Shrum led the C5 team on a tour of the site last week and it took nearly an hour to see the whole thing — and we didn’t even go in all of the buildings. Huge somehow feels like an understatement.
Here are some numbers:
– 75 acres: The total site area.
– 1.2 million square feet: The total existing building area on the site.
– 6: Number of single buildings that are larger than 129,000 square feet.
(3) ATCO has big plans for the area — but it’s going to take time.
ATCO bought the site last year, when it was a Rite-Aid facility, and it has big plans to make this a community hub for the North End area. According to Charlotte Observer’s Ely Portillo, Camp North End could eventually have “1,500 new apartments, a hotel, 200,000 square feet of shops and restaurants and up to 1.5 million square feet of office space.” But this won’t be a fast process.
While you’ll likely be hearing about more companies and groups moving to the development soon, the full plan won’t be realized for another 15 or 20 years — if not longer.
(4) Ford used to build Model Ts there.
The oldest two buildings on the site date back to 1924, when Ford built a factory there to produce Model Ts and Model As. Famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn designed the buildings, which featured a ton of natural light from large windows and skylights.
The 240,000 square-foot warehouse that hosted last week’s CreativeMornings was the original Ford warehouse, with a 40,000 square-foot showroom in the front and a 200,000 square-foot production facility in the back.
(5) “Camp” stands for Charlotte Army Missile Plant.
The U.S. Army took over the facility in 1941 and used it as a Quartermasters Depot, building new warehouses on the site to hold a wide array of military supplies during World War II.
In the 1950s, the facility was repurposed to build guided Hercules missiles for the Nike Project, which is when it got the name Charlotte Army Missile Plant, or CAMP. ATCO’s Charlotte offices are located in the former general’s house on the site.
Camp North End was then a Rite-Aid facility from 1975 through last May.
(6) That history will be preserved.
While ATCO plans to significantly transform Camp North End — converting it to office and retail space, dividing up warehouses, and building roads that cut through the middle of the site and even through buildings — the company plans to do that while preserving the facility’s rich history. That means keeping the buildings largely intact, including the boiler house building from the original Ford plant around.
(7) Three tenants have already been announced for the site.
– Goodyear Arts, the nonprofit arts venue, will occupy more than 20,000 square feet for at least three years.
– Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas, which teaches students in grades K-12 about financial literacy, the workplace and entrepreneurship, will take more than 30,000 square feet.
– And Hygge Coworking will open a 10,000 square-foot third location in the former Rite-Aid office building on site.
Shrum said ATCO also has tenants lined up for many of the smaller office spaces that make up the 18,000 square foot building close to the boiler house. Expect those announcements to come soon. The company will start leasing more larger warehouse spaces in the coming years.
(8) You’ll be able to hang out there starting this summer.
ATCO has turned the space right outside of the boiler room into an outdoor event space, with picnic tables, string lighting and an area for live music.
Shrum said they plan to start hosting regular community events in this space in June — think music, food vendors in shipping containers and adult beverages — and will eventually start doing public tours. And Vintage Charlotte Summer Market will be at Camp North End on June 3.
Photos: Corey Inscoe and Sallie Funderburk