Spotlight: Rise and Shine! Iconic Center City Building Comes Online

Spotlight: Rise and Shine! Iconic Center City Building Comes Online

Date Published:
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In the fall of 2011, students in UNC Charlotte’s MBA program and other graduate programs will be attending classes in an iconic 12-story addition to downtown Charlotte’s skyline.

Construction is on schedule for the new $50.4 million Center City Building, which is the only University of North Carolina classroom building conceived and designed specifically to serve the business, organizations and people of the urban center. The overall project, including parking, adjacent park, roads and service features are collaborations with city, county and private business.

The new structure will provide UNC Charlotte with an enduring presence in the city’s business and cultural district, while serving as a brick-and-mortar illustration of the University’s position as the leading institution of higher education in the region.

As a result of our rapid growth over the last few years, UNC Charlotte has been fortunate to have built a number of important new academic buildings. But from a number of perspectives, this may be the most important, said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois.

We are literally bringing our considerable intellectual resources to the heart of the Charlotte community. By offering top graduate programs in a center city setting, it represents our commitment to the continuing growth and development of the work force and providing lifelong learning opportunities.
- Chancellor Philip L. Dubois

“The Center City Building is a significant symbol for our academic mission,” Dubois said. “We are literally bringing our considerable intellectual resources to the heart of the Charlotte community. By offering top graduate programs in a center city setting, it represents our commitment to the continuing growth and development of the work force and providing lifelong learning opportunities.”

Upon completion, the Center City Building will offer several of the University’s graduate-level programs, including the Belk College of Business MBA. The university’s Urban Design Studio will also be based there.

Joseph B. Mazzola, dean of the Belk College of Business, noted that UNC Charlotte and the business school have had a presence in the Center City since the mid-1990s. But the relationship will change dramatically with the new facility, he said.

“This new building will help to cement our relationships with our Uptown business
partners and will open up a whole new realm of possibilities for Belk College students
to interact with the business community,” he said.

In addition, graduate-level classes in the colleges of Engineering, Health and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Arts + Architecture’s new master’s program in Urban Design, will be held in the downtown campus building.

The 12-story cantilevered design is by renowned architectural firm KieranTimberlake, in partnership with Charlotte-based Gantt Huberman Architects. KieranTimberlake’s client list includes UNC Chapel Hill, Yale, Cornell and Princeton Universities.

The striking 143,000 square-foot building will overlook a four-acre park and anchor the redevelopment of the First Ward neighborhood. The building site at Ninth and Brevard streets will be adjacent to the park, and a light rail stop is within easy walking distance.

While the core purpose of the Center City Building will be to serve professionals, managers and executives continuing their education, the University also expects it to become part of the cultural fabric of the central business district.

For example, a 300-seat auditorium will be made available for public events, and a spacious lobby will be a public space with such amenities as an art and architecture gallery, a bookstore and a coffee shop.

In addition, with a goal of achieving the distinction of a LEED silver certified building of distinct design, the project illustrates the University’s commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship. Rodgers Builders of Charlotte will serve as the construction manager.