S9 Architecture is helping turn an old Ford Model T and army missile manufacturing facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, into the city’s newest hub for creativity and innovation. Camp North End, a long-empty industrial site just northeast of downtown, will feature 1.8 million square feet of office, retail, and event space set inside its historic, early 19th-century factory.
New York-based developer ATCO Properties purchased the site in 2016 and opened it to the public last year. Various vendors have populated the grounds, and it’s been a hotbed of activity ever since, housing countless companies and office space for coffee roasters, media professionals, artists, and startups alike. It’s also been home to several exciting festivals and arts programs put on in the various open spaces.
S9’s master plan for the 76-acre campus will transform the site into a sustainable spot for businesses to put down permanent roots. ATCO brought on S9 to collaborate on the adaptive reuse of the complex’s 12 main buildings and connect them through experiential passageways. In between each structure, the team will lay out gathering spaces for people to eat, hang out, or put on events. The build-out will also include space for future residential and hospitality developments.
While many of the buildings on the site are already in use, ATCO and S9 are renovating four larger areas in the first phase of construction: the Gama Goat Building, the Mount, a 24,000 square-foot former Ford factory building, and the adjacent boiler building. The latter two were designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn in the 1920s. The design will substantially retrofit the dilapidated structures and add a contemporary edge to the facility.
This isn’t the first large-scale placemaking project the Brooklyn-based firm has done in recent years. S9’s design for Ponce City Market converted an outdated Sears building in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward into a coveted piece of real estate for top tech companies and local food vendors. Also under the firm’s industrial reuse belt is Dumbo’s Empire Stores in New York City, as well as Dock 72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home of WeWork’s New York headquarters.