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New renderings: Metropolitan refresh to begin soon following COVID-related delays

Axios Charlotte

January 30, 2022

The refresh of the Metropolitan shopping center in midtown Charlotte will begin soon, with an anticipated wrap-up sometime this summer.
Why it matters: Like plenty of other projects around Charlotte, the pandemic shifted the timeline for the makeover of the Metropolitan, a prominent shopping center that opened in 2008. Northwood, which also owns and is overhauling Ballantyne, bought the Metropolitan and the land surrounding it in 2020.

Driving the news: As part of the Metropolitan project, the first new tenants, Open Rice, recently announced plans to move into the massive (7,500 square-foot) former Vivace space.

Flashback: We reported almost a year ago that the new owners of the shopping center, Northwood Investors, planned a refresh of the development that would begin in 2021. Currently, it’s in its permitting and bidding phase, and construction will begin after that.

The goal is to wrap up the improvements by mid-year, according to Jonathan Stewart, VP of leasing at Northwood Retail.

“Like so many businesses, these delays have been caused by material delays, weather constraints and the lingering effects of COVID in general,” Stewart told Axios via email.
Details: Expect aesthetic enhancements. That means “warming up the feel overall, upgrading the entrances and improving signage,” per Stewart. Construction won’t affect shoppers too much, but there will be barriers up as the heavier construction gets underway.

Plus, shoppers can also expect a handful of new tenants.

Last year, West Elm closed its 13,000 square-foot store at the Metropolitan. It was the retailer’s first in North Carolina, and it was one of the original tenants of the Metropolitan when it first opened.
Northwood Retail doesn’t have a new tenant signed yet for the space. But there are “strong prospects in the entertainment use and home furnishing categories,” per Stewart.
The landlords have two additional pending leases in the works that they’ll announce soon.
“We are looking to fill in the gaps and update the merchandise mix with a day-to-night lineup of eateries and gastropubs, along with health, beauty, and wellness offerings,” Stewart said.