East Independence Plaza (Walton Plaza)

A. G. Odell, architect


Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Street Address:

E. Stonewall St.






The 7-story modernist office tower, of white brick and concrete combined with black glass side walls, has a distinguished history as a project developed by leading African-American lawyers Julius Chambers and Mel Watt, in association with other attorneys and doctors, as a real estate development for both black and white businesses and professional offices in the heart of Charlotte. They formed a partnership called Westside Professional Associates. Chambers is considered by many the most important Civil Rights attorney in the Southeast, and his law partner Mel Watt was one of the first two black representatives elected to Congress in the 20th century.

As traced by Charlotte historian Tom Hanchett for a forthcoming article, the partnership was organized to join in the real estate boom taking place in Charlotte on land cleared by urban renewal in the 1950s and to provide a central and prestigious location for black and white professionals. Located a short distance from the city’s government center, the area had been part of predominantly black Brooklyn neighborhood. After the land was cleared, it became the site of new buildings built by white companies and developers. To design their building, the Westside Professional Associates commissioned the Odell firm, well established as the preeminent designer of corporate modernism in Charlotte.

Among the notable partners and tenants were Gantt Huberman Architects (the firm of architect and Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt); medical and political figures Dr. Reginald Hawkins and Dr. Raleigh Bynum; and the law firm of Chambers, Stein, Ferguson and Lanning, which included the famed civil rights attorney Adam Stein. Although the ideal of a truly integrated office tower was never fully realized, many of those who had offices there recalled how important it was to have a presence in a major building at the center of the city. In 1994 the property was sold to Mecklenburg County, which renamed the building and filled it with government offices. In 2020 negotiations were underway for its sale.