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.
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“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.