Centene Corporation drops plans for Charlotte headquarters

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An overview of plans for the planned campus of Centene University Town, which will now remain empty until new tenants are found. (Photo courtesy of Centene)

Centene Corporation drops plans for Charlotte headquarters

The Charlotte Business Journal broke the news on Thursday that the Centene Corporation will abandon plans to build a large campus in University City. Centene announced in July 2020 that it would build its new East Coast headquarters in Charlotte, bringing over 3,200 new jobs to the city.

The health care intermediary was to invest more than $1 billion to develop a corporate campus in northeast Charlotte and, in return, Centene would receive approximately $388 million in state tax incentives , $26 million from Mecklenburg County and between $23.6 and $31.6 million. from the city.

The city will now have to find new tenants for the 800,000 square foot office building which has been under construction for nearly two years now and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. Centene has reportedly yet to receive the promised incentive money in exchange for its Charlotte campus.

There have been conflicting reports about the reason for the change in plans, but one executive told CBJ it was due to a preference for working from home among company employees and the realization that a such a policy was working better than expected during the pandemic. A company statement later confirmed a desire to keep employees in a work-from-home or hybrid model as the reason for this week’s announcement.

“Centene has seen the value presented by University City for its investment plans in the Charlotte area,” read a Friday statement from University City Partners. “While it is disappointing to hear of their change of course, this provides an excellent opportunity for another company wishing to relocate or expand to an area that provides access to a turnkey campus with all the conveniences at hand. -work today looking for an employer.”

Centene’s longtime CEO Michael Neidorff died in April, less than a month after handing over the reins of the company to new CEO Sarah London, who was to take a more collaborative “Office of the CEO” approach alongside other senior company executives.


Statewide 20-week abortion ban reinstated

Federal Judge William Osteen Jr. issued a ruling Wednesday reinstating enforcement of the state’s ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The ban was lifted by a federal judge in 2019, extending the limit on fetal viability (24-28 weeks), following a ruling in Bryant v. Woodall which prevented the application of the ban.

Following the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade In June, allowing state legislatures to pass their own rules governing abortion, Republican leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly sent a letter to Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein asking him to reinstate the 20-week ban. , which he refused to do.

A woman stands in a crowd holding a sign supporting abortion rights that says, "Neither your body, nor your life, nor your choice.  :"
Pro-choice protesters gathered outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. (Photo by Justin LaFrancois)

Following Wednesday’s news, North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Meredith Cuomo released the following statement: “Today’s decision is a direct result of Republicans’ decades-long assault on human rights. reproductive. Now more than ever, we need to elect top-down Democrats who will fight to protect women’s basic freedoms and ensure that we uphold Governor Cooper’s veto in November.

Hours before Wednesday’s decision was released, political and advocacy organizations Planned Parenthood named North Carolina one of nine initial target states in their combined $50 million campaign platform. The $50 million in pledged spending represents the biggest investment the groups have ever made in a campaign cycle.

Planned Parenthood organizations launched the 2022 election platform, titled Take Control, to “help elect champions for sexual and reproductive health care and rights throughout the ballot and across the country,” according to a statement. In North Carolina, the votes for family planning focus on the election of Cheri Beasley in the US Senate.


Social district vote scheduled for Monday

Residents addressed the Charlotte City Council on Monday to talk about the possibility of setting up social neighborhoods around Charlotte. Social neighborhoods are areas in which alcohol can be consumed outdoors on public roads within certain borders. Speakers on Monday were overwhelmingly in favor of setting up social quarters, although some spoke in opposition, citing a potential plan to serve alcoholic beverages in single-use cups inside social quarters.

social neighborhoods
Residents opposed to single-use cups in social neighborhoods attend the city council meeting on Monday, August 15. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Despite some caveats, social neighborhoods are pretty much a safe bet for Charlotte. However, the process takes longer than in some surrounding municipalities due to the complexity of the issue in a large city. Places like Monroe and Kannapolis mapped out a few city blocks, set rules, and voted to approve a social neighborhood. Unlike those cities, however, Charlotte has several neighborhoods that compete for their own social neighborhoods, some of which are not close to each other.

At a June 6 city council meeting, City Manager Marcus Jones said his staff’s goal is to open an app portal to gauge interest in different areas of the city. Each potential district would require separate boundary approval. Before that happens, the city will need to pass an ordinance to authorize social districts first, which council is expected to do at its next meeting on Monday, August 22.


Man killed after crashing into CATS bus

Investigators aren’t sure what prompted a man to ram a CATS bus in southwest Charlotte on Wednesday, as he was killed in the incident.

Around 9:21 a.m. Wednesday, first responders were called to a collision with a motor vehicle that resulted in injuries. Upon arrival, officers found a green 2001 Dodge Dakota with heavy front damage and Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus #2128 in the roadway with rear damage. Dodge driver Robert Compton, 37, was not wearing a seat belt and was seriously injured.

The CATS bus had no passengers on board and the driver was the sole occupant and was not injured. CFD and Medic responded and assisted Mr Compton, but ultimately pronounced him dead at the scene.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the CATS bus had just dropped off two passengers and stopped at a bus stop in the right lane closest to the curb. Compton was traveling south in the right lane and failed to stop before colliding with the rear of the CATS bus. It is not known whether impaired driving, speed or phone use played a role in the incident.


Four people killed in gun violence this week

Four men have been killed in separate incidents of gun violence over the past week, including a local rapper who had been recognized by Queen City Nerve on several occasions in recent years. Three of the incidents happened on Saturday August 13, about an hour apart.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on August 13, police responded to a call of people in a vehicle shooting at another outside the Northlake Mall in North Charlotte. Responding officers found three men driving together in a car when suspects in a separate vehicle opened fire on them. All three were hit by gunfire. Two of the victims were taken to hospital while the third, Armani Spencer, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Just before 2 a.m. on August 13, police responded to a shooting call on Sumter Avenue in the Seversville neighborhood of northwest Charlotte, where they found Catoine Funderburk, 27, suffering from a wound Gunshot. Medic pronounced Funderburk dead at the scene.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on August 13, police responded to a call about a vehicle collision on South Tryon Street near the Whitehall Commons shopping center in southwest Charlotte, where they found the driver of the vehicle, Jamir Rucks, 22, with a gunshot wound. Medic transported Rucks to the hospital, where he died hours later. Rucks was a rapper who starred as Jaah SLT and received a record deal in 2020 thanks in part to his use of social media. Queen City Nerve honored Rucks with the “Biggest Buzz” award in our 2020 Best in the Nest issue.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on August 18, police responded to a shooting call on South Tryon Street near the Whitehall Commons shopping center in southwest Charlotte, where they found Dermaine Perea, 26, apparently suffering from a gunshot wound. Medic transported Perea to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Investigators believe the man was shot while driving on I-485 and went to the gas station to get help.


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