With the demolition of the Belk Tower complete, UNC Charlotte moves to its first stage of reconstructing the area into the future Belk Plaza.

The Belk Plaza Planning Committee, a group of 14 faculty, staff, students or alumni, will begin holding meetings to discuss elements of the new plaza. The committees first meeting will be held Jan. 19.

Headed by Campus Landscape Architect Peter Franz, the committee includes members such as Student Body President Mitch Daratony and Director of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens Jeff Gillman.

“I feel honored that I am able to be part something that will have a long term affect for the campus,” said Franz. “From my time here … this will be one of the most important projects to be associated with since it is so central to the campus fabric.”

These 14 individuals will represent the campus in transforming the Belk Plaza. They will hold several meetings over the course of the semester until a final design must be submitted.

An important part of the redesign process is having community involvement and feedback during the planning phase.

Chain link fences still surround the remains of the Belk Tower. Photo by Ben Robson
Chain link fences surround the remains of the Belk Tower. Photo by Ben Robson

In order to receive this feedback, the committee will hold forums where UNC Charlotte students, staff, faculty and Charlotte community members can give their imput on the design.

“The Belk Plaza Public Forum is important in order to obtain input from the campus community to understand how the space could be used,” said Franz.

The committee just recently finalized the dates for these forums. Currently, there are three planned dates for forums.

The dates are Feb. 1, Feb. 22 and April 4. The time and location for the forums are the same for all three dates, but this is subject to change.

They will be held in the J.P Lucas Room in the Cone Building and will last from 4-6 p.m.

“By obtaining a broad perspective from students, faculty and staff a synthesized conceptual plan can be developed,” said Franz.

A website is being made now that will have these date, times and locations on it. It will go live within the next week.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois appointed the committee to work with the Charlotte architectural firm of LandDesign to create the new Belk Plaza.

The firm will submit a final design for the area in May and it will be approved by Dubois and the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees.

Photos by Ben Robson.

Nick Cropper is the News Editor for the Niner Times. Currently, he is a senior pursuing a major in PR and a minor in journalism. Although he has lived in Charlotte for close to four years now, he is originally from Maryland. Contact him at news@ninertimes.com for questions or if you want to pitch a potential story.