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Graham has ‘Trade and Tryon’ vision for intersection

Sen. Malcolm Graham says he wants the “five-points” intersection near Johnson C. Smith University to become the “Trade and Tryon” of the city’s northwest corridor.

Graham, of Charlotte, who also is the chairman of the Beatties Ford Road Task Force, told the Charlotte City Council Monday that the university could become the anchor property at the intersection.

Graham envisions creating an entrance to the northwest corridor by sprucing up the West Trade Street/Interstate 77 underpass with colorful lights. He said the underpass is dark, ugly and a barrier between Charlotte’s uptown and Beatties Ford Road.

The university has offered $75,000 in funding for the $200,000 project. The remainder is expected to come from the city’s funding for the Arts and Science Council. Community leaders are hoping to have the lights on in time for the 2011 holiday season.

Also, Mosaic Village, a mixed-use development, is planned for the site of an old shopping center near the intersection. Mosaic Village would include a parking garage, office space on the ground floor and 300 apartments for college students on the upper levels. A classroom addition could also be added to the project in the future. JCSU has signed a 25-year lease to use the units as housing for its students.

Charlotte-based Griffin Bros., which owns eight tire stores in the Charlotte area and Pine Island Country Club on Stoneyridge Drive, wants to build Mosaic Village, but the project has a $4 million shortfall. Developer Mike Griffin wants the City Council to consider funding the remainder of the project to help revitalize the corridor.

Griffin Bros. is hoping to secure funding by June from a city business corridor-revitalization program but plans to break ground April 15. The council referred the project to its economic development committee for review. Mayor Anthony Foxx said the council might vote on the funding in May.

Mosaic Village is expected to be finished by August 2012.

Griffin Bros. also plans to break ground in October on a bookstore and print shop for the university at the site of a gasoline station they own at the intersection.

At the council meeting, Graham discussed another proposed project for the area: Smith Square, which would be a new entrance to the university.

Graham also said the historic Davis House will be restored to its former condition. But some funding from the city might be needed for that project, he said.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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