City of Charlotte unveils new digital learning lab, The Nest, coming to Camp North End

Britt Clampitt

Charlotte, N.C. (May 8, 2018) – The City of Charlotte, in partnership with numerous North End Smart District (NESD) residents, businesses and community stakeholders, today announced the creation of The Nest, a state-of-the-art digital learning lab at Camp North End. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and members of the City Council will host a grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, at 2 p.m. showcasing the new community-driven space and highlighting the upcoming programming.

As a result of this collaborative, community-led process, the new space will be housed at Hygge Coworking and provide access to gigabit-speed internet provided by Google Fiber, technology education and digital literacy training. The digital learning lab will serve as a community gathering space for the eight NESD neighborhoods to use beyond the programmed events.

The Nest will also offer programming facilitated by multiple community partners, including: 

  • Red Ventures Road to Hire Program, a nonprofit designed to expand professional development opportunities for young adults (18-25) through a 12-week long paid workforce training program;
  • Queens University's Digital Charlotte team, which will help facilitate the Earn-A-Laptop program, with two spots reserved for Men's Shelter residents;
  • TechCLT Youth Programming, a long-standing program in the City of Charlotte that provides 16-24 year old residents with education and career pathways as part of the Mayor's Youth Employment Program;
  • BLKTECHCLT, an existing Camp North End tenant who will be leading the training the Youth Tech Charlotte Workforce Development cohort this summer;
  • Resident-Led Trainings, digital skills classes taught by NESD residents on key digital learning needs; and
  • Corporate-Led Trainings opportunities for local companies to participate in skill-based volunteering by leading training classes.

"I am always excited about the promise of technology training and professional development opportunities in Charlotte, and it is clear that The Nest is developing an effective program in an ideal location that will benefit a lot of people," said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.

"Charlotte residents and city officials searched for a space in the area and ultimately loved Camp North End because of its central location in the heart of the North End Smart District, the vision for Camp North End as a hub for innovation and connection, and their pre-existing relationships and partnerships," said Robert Phocas, Sustainability Director for the City of Charlotte. "The success of the North End Smart District hinges on our partners to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the next generation of innovators. Our hope is that our partnerships will help encourage local residents and small businesses to create and be inspired."

"The unique nature of The Nest allows for the space to truly meet the needs of the residents in the NESD," said Cherie T. Grant, Northwest Community Engagement Liaison for the City of Charlotte's Housing and Neighborhood Services. "Resident leaders have actively participated in the process of identifying not only the space, but also the trainings and workshops that would best serve the community. It has been a rewarding experience to see our corporate and organizational partners come to the table to respond to the voices of the NESD."

"Google Fiber is proud to be included in this collaboration," said Jess George, Community Impact Manager of Google Fiber. "TechCLT and Camp North End will serve as hubs for the entire North End, and we're excited to help drive those connections."

"The arrival of The Nest positions Camp North End as the doorstep for increased access and opportunity in the North End," said Damon Hemmerdinger, co-president at ATCO Properties & Management, the developer of Camp North End. "People searching for education, training and resources will now have a place to gather and gain the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy. We are proud to partner with the City of Charlotte to accommodate the growing population and workforce, and provide economic opportunity to the entire NESD community."

"Hygge was built on the foundation of bringing people together in the name of social good," said Garrett Tichy, owner of Hygge Coworking. "We regularly ask ourselves the question, what impact can the community produce if we lower the bar, open our doors, and empower the people around us to leverage the space? This partnership with the Tech Charlotte, NESD and the creation of this Learning Lab accelerates the mission of Hygge to support building community and the economic development in Charlotte."

"Google Fiber is proud to be included in this collaboration," said Jess George, Community Impact Manager of Google Fiber. "TechCLT and Camp North End will serve as hubs for the entire North End, and we're excited to help drive those connections."

The arrival of the Nest at Camp North End is the third major technology announcement at the campus in recent weeks. Earlier in the year, BLKTECHCLT, a community initiative supporting technologists and entrepreneurs of color throughout North Carolina, opened a 1,200 square-foot office made possible by a sponsorship from OrthoCarolina; and most recently, Ally Financial established a brand-new, 2,000 square-foot innovation studio at the Boileryard, situated at 1824 Statesville Avenue.

The Nest will be open to the NESD residents daily at Hygge North End. For residents interested in the Red Ventures Road to Hire program, an open house will be held on Saturday, May 19th at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interviews will be conducted on the spot.

For more information, please visit the NESD website at: and the Camp North End website at:

About North End Smart District

The North End Smart District (NESD) has been defined by 15 studies between 1993 and 2016 that identified the area as a future hotspot for development, attracting new economic activities, particularly centered on technology and innovation sectors.

Designated in 2011 as the Applied Innovation Corridor, Community Investment Plan bond funding is earmarked for collaborative economic development investments to improve the public realm. The NESD builds from that to focus on collaborations with the community within the eight neighborhoods in the district.

Charlotte's smart city vision includes creating a district that acts as a hub for the city's innovation engine. Smart Cities optimize infrastructure to maximize services and opportunities for public good. Government, companies, universities, and community partners collaborate to use innovation and data to increase economic opportunities, connectedness, efficiency, and harness the potential of its people.

The NESD's innovative approach to Smart Cities is one that ensures residents have a seat at the table making decisions for their community.

About Camp North End

Camp North End is the home of Charlotte's next generation workplace. As one of the largest adaptive reuse projects currently underway in the U.S., the project will transform a historic 75-acre site where people once manufactured Model T cars and assembled Hercules missiles into a catalytic hub of innovation and ideas.

 With over one million square feet of space for work, artistic expression, dining and hospitality, entertainment, recreation and community building, together with new construction in coming years, Camp North End's curated development will welcome residents from all parts of the Queen City and Mecklenburg County to make their future.​

The project's epicenter, the "Boileryard," is already open for happy hour every Friday evening through October, and its first redeveloped building is now occupied by local businesses and artists. Developer ATCO Properties & Management plans to redevelop buildings located at 1776, 1810, 1820, and 1830 Statesville Avenue, and 1701 North Graham Street, as well as build new buildings in the future. For more information about Camp North End, visit the official Camp North End website at or visit us on twitter at @campnorthend and on our Facebook page.

About ATCO

ATCO is a real estate investment and ownership platform deploying capital in select cities across the United States, with a particular emphasis on value-add opportunities in urban locations.  We seek to improve people's lives by creating places that they genuinely want to work, play, or live, and by doing our work with a long-term perspective.  

Through eight decades and four generations, ATCO has owned, managed, and developed a diverse real estate portfolio, primarily in and around New York City and also in select markets we target.  ATCO presently owns and manages more than 20 buildings ranging from high-rise office and residential towers to retail properties, from one-story industrial structures to high tech flex buildings. The portfolio of New York City properties includes: 555 Fifth Avenue, 40 Central Park South, 41 West 58th Street, 630 Third Avenue, 381 and 373 Park Avenue South, 515 Madison Avenue and the Atlas Terminals. Nationally, the company owns properties in Austin, Texas; Charlotte and Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Darien, Stamford and Westport, Connecticut; Baltimore, Maryland; and Orlando, Florida. Internationally, ATCO has investments in seven European countries.