Jun 26, 2023 - Business

3 west Charlotte properties Black investors bought to stave off gentrification

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

In Charlotte’s West End, community members are taking the area’s anticipated change into their own hands.

What’s happening: In recent years, local Black investors have purchased three prominent pieces of real estate along Beatties Ford, with hopes of mitigating displacement and helping shape the corridor’s future.

The properties include:

1202 Beatties Ford Road

Courtesy of Erika Troutman

Owner: Erika Troutman, a Historic West End Partners board member

Backstory: Troutman purchased “1202” just before the pandemic. It took about three years to renovate due to COVID-19 setbacks. Originally from a gentrifying area in Georgia, Troutman says she wanted to acquire property to ensure the community continues to reflect its longtime residents.

What they’re saying: “I don’t consider myself an investor per se,” Troutman says, “just making sure I do my part in … buying back the block.”

What’s inside: Black female-owned beauty businesses.

What’s next: Troutman says the goal is for tenants to outgrow the space and potentially invest in their own storefront along the corridor. They all have mentees and assistants or apprentices.

  • “I’m very intentional about who comes in the building,” Troutman says. “I’m just not looking for someone who’s going to come in here, be an entrepreneur, make their money, get out. It’s really about, how are you paying it forward?”

2023 and 2020 Beatties Ford Road

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Owner: E-Fix Development

Backstory: Christopher Dennis, founder of E-Fix Development, was already interested in expanding from residential to commercial investment when he was approached by Historic West End Partners’ J’Tanya Adams about buying the historic McDonald’s Cafeteria at 2023 Beatties Ford Road, once a central meeting location for social justice activists. After Dennis purchased it, he noticed the similar strip across the street and bought that one, too.

  • Uhwarrie Capital Corp, Towne Bank, Grubb Properties and the city supported funding for the property acquisitions in 2020 and 2021. Both buildings underwent renovations.

What’s inside: Dennis is leasing to businesses he says the community wants. Inside 2023:

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

2020 Beatties Ford is fully leased. TD Bank is cutting the ribbon on its storefront in July. There will also be a juice bar and nail salon opening soon after.

What he’s saying: “Archive coffee shop sold out its first day in business. They were well received by the community. They even made national news on the Today show, and that was in an area no one believed in, that was marginalized,” Dennis says. “That’s an amazing feat.”

What’s next: Dennis tells Axios his next venture will be a low-cost office space to help small businesses to grow, but he’s not ready to share the location yet.

1800 Rozzelles Ferry Road

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Owner: Dianna Ward and partners

Backstory: Ward said she used to complain about gentrification. Then, she connected with a group of active community members who talk real estate investment on the west side. Energized by these conversations, she says she called the owner of 1800 Rozzelles Ferry Road, a strip building.

  • “This could be a really powerful centerpiece for the west side,” she remembers telling the former owner. It’s right next to Five Points Plaza.
  • The owner agreed to sell to her. She officially purchased it in 2019, then overhauled the building. “We had to rip everything out,” she said. “There wasn’t a system there that we could keep.”

What’s inside: Jet’s Pizza and Rita’s Ice are open. Premier Pharmacy and Wellness and Karma Salon and Spa are opening soon.

What she’s saying: Ward says she’s still concerned about gentrification, but less than she was before.

  • “There’s just so much more education around keeping your property and knowing the value of what you have,” Ward says.

What’s next: Ward and a couple other investors have purchased a roughly 2,000-square-foot building at 2928 Rozzelles Ferry Road. The future tenant is to be announced.

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