Optimist Hall will charge for parking starting Aug. 15

Free parking was one of Optimist Hall’s many perks when it opened in 2019.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Axios/WBTV) - Optimist Hall will start charging for parking on Aug. 15.

What’s happening: Parking remains free for the first hour and a half at the popular food hall just north of Uptown. After that, a visit will cost you $5 for an hour and a half to three hours and $18 for anything over three hours.

What they’re saying: “In an effort to provide convenient and efficient parking to our visitors, we are partnering with Laz Parking to transition to a paid parking program beginning on Monday, August 15th,” Optimist Hall posted on Instagram Tuesday, Aug. 9.

  • Optimist Hall representatives declined to comment further and turned off the comments section on the post.

Why it matters: Free parking was one of Optimist Hall’s many perks when it opened in 2019. The old mill quickly became a Charlotte favorite — offering a success story of what could be when Charlotte restored what it had, rather than tearing it down.

  • But now, just like nearly everything else in the city, prices are going up.

Zoom out: This is the second notable parking change in Charlotte this year. The city raised street parking from $1 per hour to $1.50 in Uptown and South End. Plus you now have to pay for street parking on Saturdays.

On Wednesday, blue signs were put up on poles around the lots to let people know the change is coming.

Frequent customer Ike Belton said he thinks the change is needed due to the growing popularity of Optimist Hall.

”Me myself, I live across the street at Ulta Purl so I won’t be able to tell my friends they can park over here now that they are policing that a little bit closer,” Belton said. “Personally, I don’t see the issue with it because the people aren’t really staying here longer than an hour and a half, which seems to be when the rate kicks in.”

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Lileana Pearson

Lileana Pearson

Lileana, who enjoys journalism that makes a difference, knew from a young age that this was the career for her.