Charlotte’s innovation district will be named in honor of Brooklyn neighborhood

For the Rev. Janet Garner-Mullins, the former Brooklyn neighborhood in Charlotte was an “entity in itself,” a historically Black community where residents could fine whatever it was they need.

She remembers going to Pearl Street Park, one of a few Brooklyn landmarks that remain. Nearly everything else was razed in 1960s under a city policy of “urban renewal.”

Pearl Street Park, once known as Charlotte’s ‘Negro park’ reopens after $4.75 million renovation

On Thursday, Atrium Health announced that Charlotte’s new innovative district, which will be located on land where Brooklyn once sat, will be named “The Pearl” as a reflection of that bygone community.

“I’m very hopeful and optimistic that the future of the innovation district will be beneficial to our community, especially the Black and brown community,” said Garner-Mullins, who spoke during a news conference where the new name was announced.

The $1.5 billion innovation district will house the Wake Forest School of Medicine in partnership with Atrium Health.

“The Pearl will be a place where Charlotte’s historic vitality meets its innovative future,” Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene A Woods said. “It’s a place where excellence lives and where excellence is learned.”

Officials have said that in addition to being a health and research center, the district will also seek to be a vehicle for economic mobility, creating more than 3,500 on-site jobs, 40% of which are not expected to require a college degree. Officials have said the district also will include some affordable housing.

Groundbreaking is expected later this year.

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