Atrium Health Pursues $1.5 Billion Innovation District

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Atrium Health officials recently shared early details with Mecklenburg County Board about a planned $1.5 billion innovation district in uptown Charlotte, N.C. The nonprofit health system is seeking a public-private partnership for the 40-acre district that would be built near a planned Wake Forest School of Medicine campus due to begin construction in 2022, according to a Charlotte Observer report.

Acknowledging that many details still need to be worked out, Atrium Health chief executive officer Gene Woods and developer Wexford Science + Technology told the county board that the innovation district would provide numerous benefits to the surrounding community. As part of the plan, Atrium Health is requesting $38 million in tax increment grants over 13 years.

The innovation center will include four research towers, an education building, two parking lots with a combined 2,000 spaces, a residential tower with 350 units, a hotel and mixed-use lots. Woods told the commission that the project will help train future physicians, helping to retain the brightest of area students who would otherwise have to relocate to attend medical school. Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. without a four-year medical school, according to Atrium.

As part of the innovation district, Atrium Health said it will donate 14 acres in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood valued at roughly $25 million to Inlivian, the city’s housing authority. The land is adjacent to 14 acres Inlivian owns and the combined property would be used to create about 400 units of affordable housing.

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