As master planner, developer and co-owner of the project, Cousins partnered with Bank of America to revitalize the historic Third Ward, which had deteriorated over the years as residents migrated to newer areas of the city. Cousins worked hand-in-hand with eight architectural firms and four general contractors to develop the 15-acre site, inclusive of 1.5 million square feet of high-tech office space, 125,000 square feet of retail and 1,000 residential units. Under an extremely compressed schedule, the technology center was delivered on time and significantly under budget, and has since been recognized as a catalyst for new growth in Uptown Charlotte.
As part of the revitalization efforts, and to convert the former neighborhood perceptions, Cousins immersed themselves in the community by holding town hall sessions, attending association meetings and more.
In an effort to better connect Gateway employees to the vibrant downtown Charlotte district a mile away, Cousins worked with local government to provide free shuttle bus service for short trips. In addition, Cousins assembled a highly visible and pervasive security presence around the clock in the neighborhoods and the development to assure prospective tenants, residents and office workers that the area was safe. The area soon boasted one of the lowest crime rates in the city.
One of the clearest indications that Gateway Village exceeded expectations for attracting people and businesses came in 2002 when Johnson & Wales University consolidated its two Southeastern campuses at Gateway Village. The five-square-block site also houses Bank of America, Accenture, Gateway Village YMCA, a hotel, restaurants and more – evidence of the project’s success in stimulating the area’s redevelopment.