New owners of former Epicentre start major renovations, look to move beyond troubled past

Major changes are finally starting at the once popular complex in uptown that was the pinnacle of Charlotte nightlife before succumbing to financial and other problems. Renovations are underway at Queen City Quarter, formerly known as the Epicentre.

Renovations began Friday in the Quarter’s 15,462-square-foot plaza, according to property management group CBRE. Work kicked off with replacing walkway pavers and installing benches with planters in the common area.

Friday’s action fell on Britain’s Queen Charlotte’s birthday, for whom the city of Charlotte is named and who was the inspiration for the property’s, CBRE said.

Meanwhile, a seafood restaurant plans to make its debut at the site.

It’s all part of the transformation for the 303,324-square-foot complex at 201 E. Trade St. CBRE has not disclosed the cost of the renovation project.

In September, CBRE rebranded the former Epicentre complex, which will become an entertainment destination instead of a nightclub venue.

Improvements at the Quarter

The Quarter’s interior façades and exterior staircases also will be repaired where needed, and the entire building will be painted, CBRE said.

Areas that are being worked on will be blocked, but no businesses will closed or impacted, according to CBRE.

Parking garage lighting and the security camera system also have been upgraded.

Renovations at Queen City Quarter, formerly Epicentre, in uptown Charlotte includes improvements like new pavers in the 15,462-square-foot plaza, according to property management group CBRE.
Renovations at Queen City Quarter, formerly Epicentre, in uptown Charlotte includes improvements like new pavers in the 15,462-square-foot plaza, according to property management group CBRE.

About Sea Grill Restaurant

Sea Grill Restaurant and Bar will open in a 9,275-square-foot on the ground floor, in the former location of Blackfinn Ameripub, CBRE said in a news release.

CBRE refused to say who the owner is or when the restaurant is expected to open, but said it’s the “operator’s second concept in Charlotte.”

Sea Grill’s menu will include daily fresh seafood delivery and meats. Think salmon stuffed with crab and lobster, soup bouillabaisse with two pounds of seafood, whole fish selections, oysters, caviar, deer medallions, and surf and turf with a 10-ounce lobster tail.

What else is new at the Quarter?

In March, CBRE announced four other businesses opening at the Quarter, including one already open and the others opening this summer:

Portal 123, an Instagram museum and immersive art experience, opened last month.

Cajun Market, a fast-casual Cajun-Creole restaurant, will open in a 1,270-square-foot space on the first floor in the former Grabbagreen spot.

Nostalgia Hollow Co., a coffee and home goods shop based in Kannapolis, will open in a 1,900-square-foot space on the first floor. It’s in the former Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina spot.

Super Icy Brothers, a frozen dessert shop, will open on the second floor in a 1,929-square-foot space. The Italian ice shop sold alcohol-infused desserts at Carolina Place mall in Pineville, before closing in March, according to the company’s Instagram. Super Icy Brothers planned to open at Northlake Mall but is no longer listed on the online directory.

Other businesses and restaurants listed on the Quarter’s directory are: Bowlero, CVS, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Fuji Hibachi & Teriyaki, Insomnia Cookies, Mortimer’s Cafe & Pub, Red Eye Diner, Skyview Dentistry, Tailored Smoke cigar shop and World of Beer Bar & Kitchen.

Problems for the old Epicentre

In March 2022, foreclosure proceedings started after Epicentre defaulted on its $85 million loan with Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

In August, Deutsche Bank took ownership of the one-block complex with the sole bid of $95 million at the foreclosure auction sale.

When Epicentre opened in 2008 during the economic recession, the one-block center had been lauded as a catalyst for development. It was a hub for activities tied to the Democratic National Convention, NBA All-Star Game and other high-profile events.

But its popularity dwindled over the years because of rising crime, and as development shifted to South End. The pandemic further strained shopping and dining habits.

GO DEEPER: A timeline of Charlotte’s Epicentre: From nightlife hot spot to facing foreclosure

Queen City Quarter is on College Street, between Trade and Fourth streets.

It’s within walking distance of Charlotte’s biggest attractions, including Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium and the Charlotte Convention Center. It’s accessible from the Overstreet Mall and features an on-site parking deck, a LYNX light rail station on the second level, and on-site property management.