February 02, 2023

Hello, and happy Thursday to you. It's Katie

☔️ Weather: 47 and rainy.

🥳 Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Robert Gillespie, John Hasouris, David Ogden, Caryn Overbey and Amanda White.

Situational awareness: It's Groundhog Day. Over the past 75 years, Punxsutawney Phil has correctly predicted whether there will be an early spring 69% of the time, per an Axios analysis of NOAA data.

  • ❄️ Could Charlotte finally get snow after more than a year?
  • Of note: North Carolina will have just one groundhog prognosticator this year: Snerd, a longtime Garner groundhog, per the N&O. Charlotte's own groundhog, Queen Charlotte, died last August.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 949 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🏗 Our building boom is not slowing down

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

More than $6.9 billion in apartments, offices and other construction projects is in the pipeline for Uptown and South End, Axios' Alexandria Sands writes.

  • That number includes 7,700 planned apartments — 2,600 that are under construction and 5,100 that have been announced.
  • It also includes 7.2 million square feet of office space. Work on 1.9 million square feet is currently underway.

Why it matters: This is good news for Charlotte, if you ask Center City Partners. The organization has compiled the data into its annual "State of Center City" report.

  • "We're bullish on what this means," CCCP president and CEO Michael Smith tells Axios. "There's definitely some headwinds coming with potential recession. But the beauty of this kind of data is it looks beyond a[n economic] cycle to see what's possible and where our community's going."

Charlotte's rapid growth is a positive sign for the city, Smith says. "Creating a place that is attractive to new people deciding to move here means it's an attractive place for the people who live here."

Yes, but: All the rapid growth often prices entire communities of people and businesses out of their longtime homes.

Full story: No, Charlotte's not done building apartments — or offices or hotels, for that matter

2. 💰 The rent is too damn high

Change in average asking rent for apartments in select markets
Data: Moody's Analytics; Table: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

While we're on the topic of apartments: In the fourth quarter of 2022, the average rent in the Charlotte metro area was $1,509, up 8% from a year earlier, per economic research firm Moody's Analytics.

Why it matters: Affordability is starting to weigh down the booming rental market. What's more, Charlotte still lacks thousands of affordable units for its lowest income residents.

What's happening: Many would-be homebuyers chose to rent longer last year, sustaining demand for apartments, economists at Moody's Analytics tell Axios. But renters are hitting their spending limit.

  • For the first time in over two decades, households have to spend an average of 30% of their income on rent, per a new report.

Year-over-year rent increases slowed in the second half of the year across the board, "and we expect further deceleration as new supply makes it to market at the same time the labor market softens," senior economist Lu Chen tells Axios.

What we're watching: New apartment construction, which Charlotte is very familiar with. The expected surge in supply could help bring down rent prices.

  • Yes, but: Experts say most cities will "remain undersupplied with the kind of affordable units that see the highest demand," per The Wall Street Journal.

3. 👑 The queen is coming to the Queen City

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal

Beyoncé is coming to Bank of America Stadium on Aug. 9 as part of her "Renaissance World Tour," the Grammy-winning star announced yesterday morning.

  • This will be her first performance at Bank of America Stadium.

Why it matters: Landing a stop on Beyoncé's tour is huge for Charlotte, which has missed out on some big-name performers in recent months — including Taylor Swift, Axios' Ashley Mahoney writes.

Flashback: The last time Beyoncé performed in the Carolinas was in 2018 when her "On the Run II Tour" with husband Jay-Z stopped in Columbia, S.C. 

What's next: Presale starts on Feb. 6 for BeyHive members. Fans can register here.

Full story: Beyoncé's "Renaissance" tour is coming to Charlotte this summer

4. 🏈 A Panthers lawsuit and other speed reads

Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

🏈 Former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule filed an arbitration suit last week against the franchise, claiming the Panthers are refusing to pay his offset contract money of about $5 million. (CBS Sports)

🚧 Levine Properties, Northwood Ravin and Horizon Development Properties want to rezone 115 acres in south Charlotte for a project that could include offices, a 100,000-square-foot grocery store, retail and residential units. (CBJ 🔒)

🏫 A gun was found on the campus of South Mecklenburg High School yesterday. This is the third gun found on a CMS campus this year. (WBTV)

🐘 Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) is expected to announce her 2024 presidential bid Feb. 15 in Charleston. (Axios)

Looking ahead to your future

💼 Check out who’s hiring in Charlotte.

  1. Special Events Team Member at Town of Matthews.
  2. Office Property Assistant at Northwood Office.
  3. Event Planning Internship (Paid) at Charlotte Country Club.
  4. Administrative Assistant at Erin Patterson Law PLLC.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. 🔑 Historic mill to become affordable housing

Osage Mill was built in 1896 by the founder of Bessemer City, John Askew Smith. Once one of the city's largest textile mills, the building has been vacant for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Gaston County

Work has started at the site of a historic textile mill called Osage Mill in Bessemer City, 30 minutes outside of Charlotte.

  • The $35 million adaptive reuse project will create 139 affordable apartments.

Why it matters: The rentals will house working families earning 60% of the area's median income.

  • In Charlotte, we often see old mills converted into offices, breweries, food halls and other commercial spots. It's not often they're turned into affordable housing.

Details: Plans call for preserving the 250,000-square-foot building's exterior and creating 12 three-bedroom apartments, 77 two-bedroom units and 50 one-bedroom units.

  • It should be move-in ready in 2024.

PR tips from a local pro 👀

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

Here’s the deal: A good PR strategy can make or break new businesses. Here are 3 tips from April Smith, founder of Social Ape Marketing:

  1. Have a unique angle.
  2. Think quantity over quality when pitching.
  3. Hire a PR firm with existing relationships to local media.

Learn more.

6. 🎶 A fun weekend ahead in Charlotte

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

There's plenty going on in Charlotte this weekend, from live jazz to a book swap, according to Axios' Alexis Clinton, who rounded up 28 fun events.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • 🎤 Comedian Pete Holmes will perform at Booth Playhouse tomorrow at 8pm.
  • 🍿 Camp North End is playing "Groundhog Day" during its 90s movie series tomorrow at 9pm.
  • 🐶 Legion Brewing is hosting a "speed dating" event where you can play with adoptable dogs Saturday at 1:30pm.
  • 👩‍🍳 Wentworth & Fenn Gourmet Bakery will teach you about the history of macarons during a hands-on pastry baking experience Sunday at 4pm.

Full weekender

7. 🍔 1 lunch recommendation to go

Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

QC Lava Grill is a Black-owned family restaurant in Charlotte's West End.

They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a menu of made-from-scratch American food with a Southern flair, Axios' McKenzie Rankin writes.

  • Menu highlights include their seafood baskets, wings, burgers, tacos, fries and cheesesteaks, plus soul food sides like mac and cheese and greens.
  • The address is 1700 Donald Ross Rd.

It's open Monday-Friday from 7-10:30am for breakfast and 11am-7pm for lunch and dinner. They’re open Saturday from noon to 6pm, and are closed on Sunday.

Pro tip: Seating is limited, so it’s best to order to-go.

📺 We took a break from our never-ending "Top Chef" binge to start "The Last of Us" on HBO — joining what seems like every other household in America.

  • I’m already a bit obsessed.