February 10, 2021

Hello, Wednesday. It's Michael Graff. Welcome to the first edition of Axios Charlotte!

  • C'mon, you didn't think we'd stop saying "hello" to the day of the week, did you? We're still waiting for a response, after all.

🌦 Today's weather: 56 with scattered showers.

🚀 🏀 Join us for our virtual launch event, Thursday at 12:30pm! Gov. Roy Cooper and Charlotte Hornets president Fred Whitfield will discuss coronavirus recovery and the role of sports teams in those plans.

👩‍💻 🚨 Jobs alert: Circle de Luz is hiring a development and finance director, or explore the other 49 other positions on our weekly list of hot jobs.

🎂 Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Miles Grooms, Hannah Cochran, Lisa Parrish and Louise Proctor.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 818 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Pat McCrory's comeback

Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Pat — yes, that Pat — is back. Pat McCrory had the No. 1 morning radio show in the Charlotte market in 2020. Now, multiple Republican sources say he's seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2022.

Why it matters: After his unceremonious exit from the governor's mansion in 2016, McCrory couldn't find a job. Then he landed on the radio, and thrived. The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson on WBT was the top show in its time slot from May through November.

  • In the fall, he jumped from about 70,000 listeners a week to about 90,000, according to Nielsen data obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Former N.C. GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse wrote in the Carolina Journal last week that national Republican leadership is encouraging McCrory to run for Richard Burr's seat. Woodhouse called McCrory’s candidacy "likely."

  • "He's got his mojo back," Chris Sinclair, a public affairs strategist who worked on McCrory's 2012 gubernatorial campaign, tells me.

The state of play: McCrory isn't saying "yes" or "no" yet. But in a series of conversations last week, he told me, "I enjoy [the radio show] but it's not as fulfilling. There's a part of me who, every time I leave the studio, says, 'Boy that’s a great two hours, but I miss the decision making.'"

Flashback: McCrory served 14 years as Charlotte's mayor, more than any other in history. He won 56% or more of the vote in each of his mayoral elections.

  • But, as governor, he aligned more with the conservative legislature on several controversial bills, most notably HB2 — which cost the state billions in business.
  • "What happened to Mayor Pat?" became a popular question among local moderate Democrats.

The big picture: Rep. Mark Walker is already running for the GOP nomination. And many are waiting to see whether Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of the former president, joins the race.

Read more.

2. Scoop: NoDa's new art cinema gets a name

Rendering courtesy of Charlotte Film Society

The three-screen theater built to rescue the local independent film scene will be named the Independent Picture House, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff has learned.

Why it matters: It's been almost a year since the city mourned the loss of the historic Manor Theatre, the home to countless first and last dates in its 73-year history. Charlotte went from having 13 screens that specialize in independent and foreign films to zero.

What's happening: Demolition is underway at 4237 Raleigh St., an old industrial building near the Sugar Creek light rail station.

More photos and renderings.

3. 👍 or 👎: Truist Center lights

The Truist Center's purple lights can be seen for miles. Photo: Myles Gelbach

OK, let's settle this: What are your thoughts on the Truist building's new look?

  • We already know what the building's architect, Charles Hull, said: He put out a Change.org petition imploring that the "garish" signs be removed immediately.

Our thought bubble: We got to talking about it the other day, and turns out four of our six editorial staff members ... like it. Sorry.

  • 👎 Brianna Crane: Too try-hard.
  • 👎 Emma Way: But thumbs up at night.
  • 👍 Michael Graff: Today’s misunderstood genius. Tomorrow’s legend.
  • 👍 Symphony Webber: Has a "big city" flair.
  • 👍 Paige Hopkins: It’s bold. I like that.
  • 👍 Katie Peralta Soloff: Flashy, bold. Gets people talking.

Flashback: In late 2019, soon after the merger between BB&T and Suntrust closed, Truist bought the former Hearst Tower on Tryon for $455 million, a state record for an office building, the Observer reported at the time.

Read more.

Now hiring: 6 fresh job openings

💼 Let us help you make your next career move.

  1. Orthodontic Assistant at Lineberger Orthodontics.
  2. Social Media Coordinator – Skincare at cbdMD, LLC.
  3. Account Lead at Mode.
  4. Server at Aria Tuscan Grill.
  5. Retail Manager at Fit Atelier.
  6. Account Manager at Spot Freight Inc.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board

Hiring? Post a job

4. The latest on COVID in Charlotte

Data: Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins and The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Michelle McGhee and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

One in every 1,046 people in North Carolina has died from the COVID-19 pandemic. That's a lower rate than our neighbors to the south and west, but higher than Virginia, Axios' Caitlin Owens and Michelle McGhee report.

💵 The city now has $27 million in federal rent relief for affected Charlotte residents, the Observer reports. More information is available at rampclt.com.

🚌 Dozens of speakers lined up to speak at yesterday's CMS school board meeting, but schools are still on track to reopen Feb. 15.

5. Rendering du jour

Rendering courtesy of Atrium Health

A new look at the Atrium Health/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center planned for Charlotte was released yesterday.

  • Why it matters: Charlotte has been the largest U.S. city without a four-year medical school for years. Leaders hope this'll make the city the "Silicon Valley for health care."

What's next: Atrium plans to share the location of the facility next month.

Things to do: A virtual cocktail class and sidewalk sale

📅 Get some itinerary inspiration straight from our Event Board.

  • Virtual Cocktail 101 Class with Billy Sunday tomorrow, Feb. 11: Beverage director Stephanie Andrews will walk you through creating 3 cocktails. 6:30-7:30pm. $30.
  • Valentine's Sidewalk Sale at Laura Park Charlotte from Feb. 11-12: Shop up to 50% off duvets, pillow covers, and accessories.

Want more things to do? Check out our Event Board

Hosting? Purchase an Event Listing

6. 🍺 🤭 A beer says a bad word

Screenshot: Charlotte Ledger/Twitter

Sycamore Brewing did it again. The state ABC Commission rejected the South End brewery's lemon-lime hard seltzer can label because it reads "F--K 2020," the Ledger reports. Sycamore will appeal.

7. Airstream cocktail hour set

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Black Moth Bar, the cocktail bar from Rachel Hopkins and Jimmy Little inside a vintage Airstream trailer at Camp North End, will now have expanded hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 5-9pm.

  • Just thought you'd want to know.

The loop (we're keeping you in it)

🎉 News you can use from our super cool, very important Axios CLT partners. 

  • SAVE THE DATE — For all you business pros thinking about boosting your resume with an MBA, tune into UNC Charlotte's Belk College of Business' Virtual Preview Day on Feb. 20. The 50-year-old, top-ranked institution is even temporarily waiving the GMAT/GRE test requirement for summer and fall 2021 admissions.

8. 🧁 1 sweet thing to go: Frankie and The Ford

BW Sweets bakery owner Frankie White stands behind a cake he made
Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Frankie White continues to inspire. He started baking after losing his son to brain cancer a decade ago, then opened shops in east Charlotte and South End. Now he's opening a third on Beatties Ford Road, he told Axios' Symphony Webber.

Why it matters: BW Sweets is a successful Black-owned business moving to the heart of the historically Black corridor.

  • The development is part of the Corridors of Opportunity program. Neighbors in Washington Heights have feared that the program would push out Black residents and businesses.
  • Frankie's now bringing one in, right to the corner of LaSalle and Beatties Ford.

Details: The exact location is 2023 Beatties Ford Road. It's expected to open in late spring.

Share this story.

The most popular question during our shift to Axios has probably been, "Where's Ted?" I just keep writing back, "Who's Ted?"

  • The real answer is that he's now general manager of Axios Local, looking out from his ivory tower over all five of our new markets. He's still a big part of what we do here in Charlotte, though, and he'd be happy to hear from you at [email protected].