Vote in our poll: What do you think about the center’s move to NoDa?
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte announced this morning that it’s current offices will be moving from the N.C. Music Factory to a new location in NoDa.
The new 4,568 square-feet facility at the corner of N. Davidson St. and E. 28th St. is located next to the popular coffee and pastry shop, Amelie’s, amid a growing and popular artistic and LGBT-friendly neighborhood north of Uptown.
The organization said it plans to vacate its current space by Dec. 31 and begin moving into its new offices the first week of January.
The new, two-floor facility at 617 E. 28th St. will double the organization’s existing office space and includes multiple meeting rooms and a large multipurpose room on the first floor. Additionally, leaders say the new location will provide better access and parking. It is also situated next to CATS bus routes and close to the future LYNX Blue Line light-rail extension, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2013 and open to the public in 2017.
“We are thrilled,” LGBT Community Center Board Chair Scott Coleman said in a release. “This culminates a process that we began more than a year ago, painstakingly searching for a larger facility in one of our central neighborhoods that is on the public transportation line and offers suitable parking. We feel like our future home in the vibrant neighborhood of NoDa fits everything we were seeking.”
The center’s latest move follows five years of operations at the N.C. Music Factory. The NoDa location is the third move the center has made. Founded in 2001, it opened its first location in February 2003 in a street-front building on Central Ave. in East Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood. In February 2008, the group moved its operations to the N.C. Music Factory.
Some community members have long-awaited the center’s move back into a more visible and gay-friendly location. Center leaders have said their search included locations in Plaza Midwood, seen by many as the city’s de facto “gayborhood” for its high concentration of LGBT business owners and residents. To the applause of those gathered, leaders initially announced they were looking for new space, including locations in the neighborhood, during an April event at Petra’s, a gay-owned Plaza Midwood bar popular with community members.
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, smaller East Charlotte neighborhoods like Plaza Midwood and NoDa collectively represent the largest concentration of same-sex couples in the city. (Related story: “The Queen City Count” July 21, 2012.)
The N.C. Music Factory location has seen a variety of high-profile and historic events. In January 2010, Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton spoke to members of the Charlotte Business Guild during a meeting there. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chief of Police Rodney Monroe held a community forum there in October 2010. In December of that year, Mayor Anthony Foxx held the first-ever LGBT community forum attended by a sitting Charlotte mayor. Foxx later attended an LGBT small business roundtable there last year.
The NoDa building is no stranger to LGBT causes, either. In the spring, it briefly housed the Charlotte offices for the statewide campaign against Amendment One, the anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment passed by voters in May.