The Pearl

Charlotte’s incoming innovation district is a big deal.

Why it matters: “The Pearl” will bring a four-year medical school, the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, to Charlotte. Stakeholders say it will be the “most innovative medical school in the country” with artificial intelligence embedded into the curriculum.

  • IRCAD, a France-based surgical training institute, will anchor the 10-story research facility onsite. The headquarters is expected to be a “super magnet,” bringing experts and surgeons from around the globe to Charlotte.
  • Atrium Health is teamed up with Wexford Science & Technology on the development.

The latest: The 14-story campus building, the Howard R. Levine Center for Education, is under construction. Next door is the 300,000-plus-square-foot research facility, where IRCAD will house its North American headquarters.

  • Work is also underway on parking garages, an outdoor plaza connecting the two buildings, road and utility work, and landscaping.
  • Events will be held in the plaza and green space, such as yoga in the park, a band concert, food trucks and small business showcases.

Timeline: Ground broke a little over a year ago and topping-offs were celebrated in December. The school, opening in 2025 along with the research building, will be competitive to get into. Glass is being put into the buildings.

  • The Pearl will keep expanding over the years, eventually covering more than 26 acres and incorporating a mix of uses, from hotel to residences.


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