Jul 5, 2016 - Things to Do

Look how quickly Charlotte has grown up

charlotte-skyline

charlotte-skyline cover Photo via Gregory Hurst

It’s no secret that I love this city. It’s clean, it’s safe, it’s modern and it’s only getting better each year. It’s no secret that Charlotte has had a troubled development past. We’ve destroyed a lot of our history, seen projects get announced, half built and abandoned all together, but we have persevered.

I am (obviously) obsessed with the development in this city. To see where it was when I moved here in 2011 to where it is now is nothing short of remarkable. Look no further than Third Ward. What was once a sea of surface parking is now the most vibrant and beautiful place in the city.

I went digging to look at where how far we have come in 10-11 years and with the help of Adam Rhew and Center City Partners I got some incredible numbers to demonstrate the growth this city is seeing.

2005

Residential: 10,463 homes
Office: 20 million square feet
Hotel: 4,264 rooms

Charlotte-in-2005
Image courtesy of Center City Partners
2005-Charlotte
Image courtesy of Center City Partners

2016

Residential: 15,500 homes
Office: 22.9 million square feet
Hotel: 4,586 rooms

Charlotte-in-2016
Image courtesy of Chaz Beasley
charlotte-skyline-gregory-hurst
Image courtesy of Gregory Hurst

Under construction/planned

Residential: 3,073 units
Office: 2.2 million square feet
Hotel: 1,956 rooms

That growth is absolutely staggering, and this is just Uptown. This is not including South End, NoDa, Plaza Midwood, and the other growing areas right outside the loop.

I came across some images of the city from 2005 and it’s just incredible (and gross) how much surface parking and wasted lots we had, to where it is now, one of the best skylines in the country.

To truly demonstrate how insane the growth has been, here are all the major uptown projects that have been built since 2005 and are not shown in the images from that (and around) that year (Note: I may be forgetting a few, but I am pretty sure this is it).

Office projects

  • Duke Energy Center
  • 1BAC
  • 440 S Church/Ally Building
  • NASCAR Plaza
duke_building_night_skyline_the_green

Residential projects

  • Trademark Condos
  • Element Apartments
  • Catalyst Apartments
  • Skyhouse 1 Apartments
  • Avenue Condos
  • The Vue Apartments
  • SKYE Condos (note: there is a hotel in this building too)
  • The Madison Condos
  • Circa Apartments
  • The Mint Apartments
circa-apartment-charlotte

Miscellaneous projects

  • EpiCentre and Aloft Hotel
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame
  • Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
  • Mint Museum
  • The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
  • Knight Theater
  • Romare Bearden Park
  • First Ward Park
  • BB&T Ball Park
  • Ritz Carlton
romare_bearden_park
BB&T-Ballpark

That list is just astonishing, and that doesn’t include all the things that are UNDER construction. Here is that list:

Office projects

  • 300 S Tryon
  • 615 S College

Residential projects

  • Crescent Stonewall Station (note: This is also where the Whole Foods will be)
  • Skyhouse 2 Apartments
  • Ascent Apartments
  • Museum Tower Apartments
crescent-uptown
Image courtesy of Crescent Communities

Hotel projects

  • AC Hotel and Residence Inn at the EpiCentre
  • Springhill Suites
  • Embassy Suites
Embassy-Suites

Project that has everything

  • Lincoln Harris’ Observer site project

To say Charlotte is growing is an understatement. This is not even including all the bars and restaurants that have opened and are going to over the next few years, just incredible. I do want to go back to and focus on one area of town that is truly special: Third Ward.

What was once a barren wasteland of parking lots is now booming, with high rises springing up all around the park it has given the folks at Brevard Court and Latta Arcade quite the reason to be excited.

For those who don’t know (and I won’t get into it too much here) both Romare Bearden Park and BB&T Ballpark had its opponents and it goes to show how short-sighted people can be. These two projects were the catalyst to all the development you see around the area. The park is now nearly fully enclosed by buildings and Third Ward now has a true big city feel.

Two projects in particular (Ascent and 300 S Tryon) are soon going to be landmarks of the area and represent a shift in how projects are developed in this city. Both have a pedestrian, retail and streetscape focus unlike a lot of projects that have been built in the years past (looking at you Circa and Element).

300 S Tryon rendering
Photo courtesy of Spectrum Properties

As a reminder the Ascent (3rd and Poplar) is an apartment building that will have ground floor retail and continue to make the park a pure destination.

300 S Tryon (Tryon/Church and 3rd) is an office and hotel building that will have retail on 3rd and Tryon as well as a rooftop bar overlooking all of Third Ward.

Both projects are expected to be done mid-2017.

As Charlotte continues to grow it is important we maintain our sense of self and continue to push the envelope of design and improve the urban streetscape. Not to diminish the history of the city, but for all intents and purposes we are an incredibly young city that is moving out of its awkward teen stage and starting to mature.

Cheers to this beautiful city and I can’t wait to watch it continue to grow.

Cover image courtesy of Gregory Hurst

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