New Arts Hub Set to Explode Thanks to Flywheel Group … and a Bomb Expert
Over the past six months, city leaders, funders and businesses have begun recognizing that local creatives and nonprofits are small businesses. Recently, the future of arts funding is in flux and the future of affordable space for artists is in question.
That’s why we’re fascinated by the potential of a new development taking shape off of E. Sugar Creek Road, just north of NoDa.
Charlotte Art League, OSO Skate Park, Aerial CLT and The Independent Picture House (the new evolution of Charlotte Film Society) have all announced that they’ll be sharing a facility off of Raleigh Street, working with developer Flywheel Group, LLC.
This intersection of arts and development is coalescing at an interesting time in Charlotte. And it raises a few interesting questions:
- Will it establish a new way for businesses and creatives to collaborate?
- How did the idea for this new arts hub come together?
- Will it provide long-term homes for creatives?
To answer that, we needed another cook in the kitchen to bake this batch of The Biscuit. The stories below explore this new project in detail in partnership with our friends at The Charlotte Ledger. They cover the art of business. We cover the business of art and creativity. So we joined forces.
This isn’t just a biscuit today. It’s a meal. Enjoy.
Baked in partnership with
Photo Credit (Above): The 5 and 2 Project
A Big Vision for North of NoDa:
Industrial corridor off Sugar Creek, a mile from the heart of NoDa, is ‘about to explode’; arts hub as the next domino
“Momentum is starting to build a little bit faster there. It’s on the edge of about to explode.” — Jacob Horr of the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association
If you spend a few minutes driving around E. Sugar Creek Road near the light rail stop, you’ll see it doesn’t look like much: Rusted-out barbed wire fences. Old industrial buildings. A faded mall with weeds growing in the parking lot.
But like a lot of places in Charlotte, looks can be deceiving: There’s plenty going on behind the scenes. And this otherwise unremarkable area just a few blocks north of NoDa could be one of the city’s next big areas that’s ripe for development.
Flywheel Group, LLC is planning to create something new — a retail, office and residential development that all starts with creating a new home for the arts.
Charlotte Art League Is Moving … Next Door
Jim Dukes is used to things blowing up.
Today, Dukes is the executive director of the Charlotte Art League (CAL). But, as a former defense contractor for the United Nations, he specialized in disarming mines and bombs.
That’s why he didn’t panic when Tony Kuhn, president of Flywheel Group, LLC, CAL’s landlord, hit him with a bombshell in mid-2020: We need you to move.
Dukes saw this as an opportunity to become an anchor tenant of a new art hub in Charlotte and put down roots for the League that will last 10 to 20 years. And others, have followed. Learn about CAL’s “roommates” here.
Image Credit (Above): The Flywheel Group, LLC
The Biscuit CLT Podcast: A Chat with Tony, Tony, Tim, and Jim
In the stories above, we’ve heard from Tony Kuhn of Flywheel Group and Jim Dukes of The Charlotte Art League. What they’re building north of NoDa has many moving parts. It may have the potential to influence how creatives and developers work together in Charlotte moving forward. We sat down together to ask more questions about the plan, including how it can provide stable, long-term leases for creative businesses. And, you can listen in.
On this batch of The Biscuit CLT Podcast, Tim Miner (The Biscuit) and Tony Mecia (The Charlotte Ledger) chat with Dukes and Kuhn about their partnership, community placemaking, the challenges medium-sized art institutions and individual creatives have faced recently in affordable, long-term space, and how developers can step up to meet those needs.
Flyover by The 5 and 2 Project
To provide a sense of the scope of the area off E. Sugar Creek Rd. being developed by Flywheel Group, LLC, The 5 and 2 Project took to the air and shared this drone footage with us.
Don’t go ’round hungry. If you missed the last batch of The Biscuit, don’t worry. We’ve kept it warm for you. This batch featured:
- A look at the Oprah Winfrey Network’s newest show Delilah, which was filmed and set in Charlotte
- A podcast interview with Nao Tsurumaki, the managing director of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
Click here to dig in, y‘all.
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