Billboards part of redevelopment of historic east Charlotte building

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Billboards are meant to grab your attention. They line interstates and building facades across the Queen City.

Developers of two eye-catching billboards along Independence Boulevard say their advertising space is helping preserve a piece of Charlotte history.

“Seeing it in person, it just takes your breath away how big it is,” said Danny Knaub, vice president of marketing for Blumenthal Arts.

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On Broadway, it’s always a goal to have your name in lights. But when Blumenthal Arts found out about the opportunity to advertise its upcoming “Peter Pan Live” show on an east Charlotte billboard, its marketing team had no idea just how large their name would be.

“It just gets everyone’s eyeballs looking at it and it just does its job for myself for marketing the show,” Knaub said. “And when you have a show like ‘Peter Pan,’ that again, is so iconic and everyone knows that title, to get it out there as much as you can and for everyone to see it, and when you have a space like that on Independence on a giant billboard with that green color, is just incredible.”

Towering above one of Charlotte’s busiest corridors, the 24-by-44-foot V-shaped billboard is anchored to an unoccupied two-story building. While new to Independence, its presence is part of something much older.

“The windows are all from the 1960s, the terrazzo, the exteriors are going to get preserved. Even the bathroom tiles from the 1960s will still be there,” vice president of Gvest Capital Richard Gee told Queen City News in 2022.

At the time, renovations of the historic Ervin Building were in the beginning stages. The building, known as the first skyscraper east of Uptown, was built in the 1960s, and has sat vacant along Independence since 2008.

Monday, while still under construction, its eighth-floor balcony overlooks the billboard sitting on the newly constructed two-story building below. So far, it’s been a good investment for Blumenthal.

“So, in my world you’ll hopefully see a nice spike in ticket sales, and so ever since the billboard went up, sales have been increasing,” Knaub said.

Over the phone Monday, Gee told Queen City News that the billboard has been a success for local businesses. He said it’s also providing supplemental revenue for the Ervin Building project.

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Gee says they are currently transforming the Ervin Building into office space with a lounge on the eighth floor. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“I think that there is something very intriguing and fascinating about the mixture of new and old, so you have this historic piece with this really new modern billboard, and I think that is a really cool element and is something that is just drawing attention to a space and a building that a lot of people including myself weren’t aware of that history,” Knaub said.

Gvest Capital says it is in the negotiations process with a potential tenant for the two-story building. If everything goes smoothly, a restaurant could be coming soon.

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