Charlotte likes its new development. A lot. Now a new non-profit wants to help make sure all that newness doesn’t destroy the city’s history in the process. It’s working to save historic Charlotte.

Preserve Mecklenburg is hoping to close a loophole that allows historic property to be demolished. The loophole involves landowners who file a certificate to allow demolition. Then they wait. If a stay of demolition hasn’t been placed on the property after one year, they can sell the property to a builder who can do whatever they want with the land.

Dan Morrill, a longtime consulting director for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission co-founded Preserve Mecklenburg with Frank Bragg, Chairman Emeritus of Bragg Financial Advisors. 

Their strategy is to approach the owners who want to sell historic properties and try to obtain an option to purchase. If they succeed,  they will look for a developer who will save the building as part of their overall plan and establish restrictive covenants in the deed to prevent future demolition.  

The all-volunteer organization is hoping to eventually take it a step further. They are considering different options for raising money to help them not only buy more properties but be able to repurpose them before reselling.

Preserving Charlotte’s history is important to 5 Points.  One of 5 Points owners’, Edwin Wilson is on the Historic Landmarks Commission. Preserve Mecklenburg plans to work hand in hand with the Commission and its mission. There are several differences between the two organizations. Unlike the commission which is funded by the county, the non-profit doesn’t need to wait for approvals from local officials. It also has a larger scope than buildings designated as historic landmarks.

Historic preservation is part of the 5 Points DNA.  5 Points Real Estate Agent Cassee Cunningham was a judge for the Charlotte Museum of History’s Preservation Awards. She also owns the Jennie Alexander house, a historic landmark property. 

Preserve Mecklenburg is currently working on 4 projects according to their website. The Charlotte Business Journal is following specific developments on the Victor Shaw House in Plaza Midwood and other projects in the works.

Public support has been encouraging so far. We are certainly excited about this new organization and commend them for the way they marry economically feasible opportunities with historic preservation. Who wouldn’t support a win-win? Their work is much needed and we THANK them for taking it on.

Don’t get us wrong. We love all the new development happening around the Queen City. Those cranes on every corner are a sign of growth and success. The new schools, luxury apartments with every amenity imaginable and cool new restaurants all add to the vibrancy of the city we call home. But we also appreciate the value of the Charlotte that came before and are glad to see care being taken to make it a part of the Charlotte of tomorrow.