This article was written, and the pictures were taken, in April of 2017. Today Camp North End is a vibrant, bustling hub of creative and commercial activity. Read on to learn about the history and to see some fascinating photos.
This summer there will be a new place to hang out in Charlotte. The place isn’t new, but the “hanging out” part is new. Camp North End, just north of Uptown, at 1776 Statesville Avenue, has a long, interesting history. Ford Motor Company built it in 1924 and manufactured Model T and Model A cars there. Then during World War II the U.S. Army used it as a quartermaster depot. After the war missiles were assembled and stored there. Most recently it was used by Rite Aid as a distribution center.
ATCO Properties & Management purchased the 75 acres and dubbed it Camp North End. “Camp” is a nod to its history. It was known as “Charlotte Area Munitions Plant” when it was used for missile assembly. ATCO plans a mixed use development, which will include offices, event space, retail, artist studios and public gathering space.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the project is ATCO’s commitment to preserving and restoring the historical buildings, which can be a rarity in Charlotte.
The first amenity will be an outdoor courtyard area that will have seating and fire pits and will host weekly events in the summer, with live music and food trucks. This will start in June. Follow Camp North End on Facebook or Twitter to get the scoop. We will list those events here on Charlotte on the Cheap too.
Here’s what the outside area looks like so far:
The outside gathering space is in the shadow of an old water tower and boiler room. These aren’t in use anymore, but ATCO plans to leave them intact as a point of interest. (Scroll down for some photos from inside that old boiler room.)
The shipping containers, like this one, will be adapted to be kitchens, but for now food trucks will be used instead.
Goodyear Arts will be moving into a 20,000 square foot warehouse. Goodyear Arts is an organization that grants artists paid two-month residencies in underused buildings. After the end of the two months, it invites the public to an event that showcases the art, along with music, performance art and dance. It will be moving into this space and enjoying at least a three-year lease, donated by the developer. If you’d like to help support Goodyear Arts as it adapts this space into studios, galleries, and performance areas, consider a donation or attending their “Immersive Prom” event on May 6th at their current location, 516 North College Street.
This is what their future space looks like now:
Event space and studios
The property will include a small event space that people can rent out for any kind of event. It will keep its industrial appearance. A little trivia: The lights on the ceiling, shown below, are non-explosive lights installed by the U.S. Army and they will remain. So that’s one less thing for you to worry about! Several similar buildings will be available for rental as studios.
The large warehouse
The largest warehouse will not be developed for several years, but it may be the most interesting. It originally had skylights, but the U.S. Army got rid of them so that the contents of the buildings couldn’t be seen from spy planes. The plan now is to restore the skylights.
The floor is interesting too. It originally was stone, but that surface was dangerous when missiles were stored there, because they could explode if they fell. So the U.S. Army put down what looks like brick, but is actually wood. (Look closely.) Right now the surface is uneven, but the plan is to protect and preserve this flooring.
This is what that large warehouse looks like from the outside:
And here’s a picture of a Model T that was built in that space:
Other tenants so far include Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas and Hygge Coworking.
Charlotte skyline from Camp North End
The boiler room
Now, for the boiler room. This won’t be torn down. It’s going to stay just how it is now. I got to walk around inside and it was like an industrial time capsule. If you get a chance to tour the boiler room, do it. (And watch your step.) Check out some photos: