Charlotte, N.C. - The newly finished I-485 loop around Charlotte is already helping with traffic in some parts of town. It’s also helping to spur development.
On Thursday, we learned the section of the loop in the Huntersville area and West of the airport are expecting big development because of the roadway.
We followed development leaders on a tour Thursday of Charlotte's past and what could be its future.
"When we think about Ballantyne, it didn't even exist 20 years ago. We're looking for those kinds of opportunities and things that could change over the next few years," said Ned Curran, Chair of the N.C. Board of Transportation.
A one-stop-shop development down the road from Ballantyne on Providence Road is a part of that "change".
"Office, medical, residential, retail, and hospitality all on one campus," said Chis Thomas, the developer of the Waverly site.
"Doesn't mean you won't use the interstate to go to the mall or uptown, but the more we can help people to live their lives in a 5 mile radius, we're helping," said Curran.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce says most of the land around 485 has been spoken for but there are some opportunities ready for the taking.
"There are large chunks of land west of the Charlotte airport ripe for development, land still in the northern end of the county in Huntersville also ripe for development," said Bob Mogan, Chamber President and CEO.
Ripe for development, but is it ready? Builders have their own check list.
"We look at the travel patterns, residential growth," said Thomas.
In the Queen City, "growth" seems all but inevitable.
"Charlotte is 2.5 million people in our metropolitan area. We're going to double that in the next 20-30 years. How are we going to meet that challenge to move people and product in and through our region? We have to invest in our transportation infrastructure," said Morgan.
Part of the answer, according to the Chamber, is the controversial express lane on interstate 77 starting construction this Monday.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce says to date, the city doesn't know how it's going to fund the Red Line to Lake Norman and the extension of the street car.
The Chamber says those are challengers that could either make or break the Queen City's quality of life as our area grows.