Friday, December 18, 2009

Musical Chairs

Lots of movement comeing to downtown Charlotte soon. With the Duke Energy building about to open, Wells will be consolidating many of their offices near their South Tryon turf. They will be opening several other buildings that they currently have people in.

Couple this with the announcement that because of the Electrolux relocation to the Fifth/Third facility on David Taylor Road, and 5/3's desire to relocat to downtown and you will find an additional 150 people walking our streets.

Getting back to Duke, when they move into their new building, there should be some more musical chairs taking place as well. One that I hope for is the relocation of their data center from College and MLK Jr Blvd to their current headquarters office building on Stonewall and Church. That would open space for a redevelopment of the MLK Jr / Church site, perhaps as another convention center hotel.

Stay tuned, it should be a fun year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Strange Things Happening At The VUE

All the active listings for The VUE Charlotte have been withdrawn from MLS! This is a strange thing to happen since the construction has restarted, and the exterior should be completed shortly.

Or is it?

There certainly is no equilivant for the type or size of building that The VUE will be. It's distinctive crown, and the amenities that will be available will be amazing, but the prices have been significantly higher than the market, and while our market is recovering, it is recovering slowly.

I was contacted by a real estate consulting firm inquiring about recent sales and rentals in the downtown Charlotte market. One of the issues I was asked was my opinion as to whether the building should be converted to rentals vs condos. I was also asked if I thought the existing pricing structure was correct.
My guess is that the developer is considering a repricing of the building.

Fourth Ward Square Begins To Close

The ambitious project to turn a 154 unit apartment complex into affordable condos is entering into the closing stage!

The complex, consisting of 7 buildings and a clubhouse with pool, have been going through extensive renovations since this summer. New roofs, new windows, and a repair and painting of the exterior is the most visable signs of this rebirth.

The developer also installed all new air handling equipment, heat pumps, water heaters, floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and fixtures countertops and all new appliances.
The extension of the $8,000 Tax Credit has been a blessing for the developer. The initial goal of completing all the units and having them ready for a November 30 closing quickly faded away as the volume of work became apparent.
What will emerge from all the dust will be a vibrant community with a great location in the Fourth Ward.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Senate Eyes Expanded Homebuyer Tax Credit

Senate leaders are nearing agreement on a six-month extension of the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit. It appears the tax credit will be expanded to more buyers and the income limits will be raised.

The current tax credit is limited to first-time homebuyers and expires November 30. Details are still being worked out. But the tax credit extension is expected to be rolled into a manager's amendment and attached to a bill that extends unemployment benefits (H.R. 3548).

The Senate is slated to vote on ending a filibuster Tuesday evening so that the senators can vote Wednesday on H.R. 3548 and send the extension bill back to the House of Representatives.
Senate Eyes Expanded Homebuyer Tax Credit

Senate leaders are nearing agreement on a six-month extension of the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit. It appears the tax credit will be expanded to more buyers and the income limits will be raised.

The current tax credit is limited to first-time homebuyers and expires November 30. Details are still being worked out. But the tax credit extension is expected to be rolled into a manager's amendment and attached to a bill that extends unemployment benefits (H.R. 3548).

The Senate is slated to vote on ending a filibuster Tuesday evening so that the senators can vote Wednesday on H.R. 3548 and send the extension bill back to the House of Representatives.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Protect Your Cell Phone

REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.

REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketingcompanies and you will start to receive sales calls. ...... YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:

888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list.

It will only take a minute of yourtime. It blocks your number for five (5) years.You must call from thecell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from adifferent phone number..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Third Ward Park Comes Closer

Here's an update on the Park courtesy of Third Ward FB group:From Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation:

"Dear Stakeholders, Although it may seem all is [quiet] at Romare Bearden Park, several key components of this wonderful project are gathering momentum:

Timetable: The Department is hopeful that construction could start late next summer. The County will release a portion of unsold 2004 bonds for sale next June. Construction of Romare Bearden Park is the number one priority for the Department - the park will be first in line when funding becomes available. We will know more as the County moves closer to the bond sale and determines specific department allocations.

Building Demolition: Asbestos abatement in the existing structures is underway. Once abatement is complete, in about a month’s time, the three buildings will be razed.

Public Art: On October 7th the Art and Science Council kicked off the artist selection process.

To date the ASC has risen over $225,000 to help support funding for a major art piece.Romare Bearden Foundation: The Department is working with the local liaison to the Romare Bearden Foundation. Jerald Melberg, gallery owner and former curator for the Mint Museum is helping us add the depth and richness of Romare Bearden through the careful selection of his works, text and thoughts; capturing Romare’s spirit that is to be incorporated into the interpretive signage throughout the park.

Fundraising: As we draw nearer to construction and the economic climate improves, Partners for Parks, the non-profit fundraising wing for the department, is gearing up to undertake a fundraising effort. We will pass along details of the fundraising effort as they progress.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An Extension for the Tax Credit?

Congress is considering expanding and extending the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, which expires Nov. 30. More than 1.8 million home buyers will have used the credit by the end of November, including an estimated 355,000 who wouldn’t have bought a home without it, according to the National Association of REALTORS® and other analysts.Mark Zandi, chief economist for, is among those in favor of extending the credit. Zandi would also make it available to all homebuyers. "The most fundamental argument for the credit is that nothing works in the economy if housing is falling," Zandi said. "[The credit] is a good insurance policy. It's vital to stem the housing price declines."Opponents argue that the tax credit is too expensive and doesn’t help enough people. Extending the credit through the end of 2010 and making it available to single filers earning up to $150,000 and joint filers earning up to $300,000 would cost an estimated $16.7 million. Some in Congress propose using unspent money from the $787 billion stimulus bill to pay for it.

Source:, Les Christie (10/14/2009)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interesting Rail Road Dynamics

We come across railroad tracks all the time and don't think of it at all. Sometimes we might be stopped as a train passes, but not too frequently. It is more the case that we consider it something from our past.

Well, a long term look into the future might provide us with a significantly different view of what is in store. There are many different projects to upgrade rail beds, and most people think of passenger traffic. The reality will be much different.

The Panama Canal is being widened to allow super tankers to pass through. Big deal, right? Right! Those ships carrying cargo from the Far East will then be able to pass West Coast ports, and deliver their goods to the East Coast markets directly into ports like New York, Norfolk, Charleston, and Gulf Coast ports.

Charleston stands to be the biggest receiptient of this activity, and lo and behold, directly upstream from Charleston is Charlotte. We are in the process of moving the multi-modal yards from off Tryon Street to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

We may consider Charlotte to be a banking town, but the reality of it is that we are a distribution center in the southeast, the fastest growing region of the country. So, the next time you cross the tracks, think of our future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fourth Ward Square Rocks!

Activity is in high gear at this project. Various speciality teams, appliance removal, cabenit removal, ceiling scraping, fixture removal, carpeting removal, are tackling the project simultaniously. Additionally, the window replacement and roof work has also started in earnest.

The plans calls for units to be done in ""Stairwells". From start to finish, each stairwell requires 20 days. Multiple stairwells will be worked on at the same time.

Originally, the developer planned to have only half of the project complete this year, with this renewed effort, the entire complex is now scheduled to be completed by mid November!!!!

First time home buyers will now have the luxury of getting into this project this year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

ArtParty from Green-Rice Gallery

I held an ArtParty from Carla Garrison,owner of the Green-Rice Gallery in Noda last night between 6 and 9 pm. It was the third time I have hosted these folks, and they did not disappoint either with their attendance or their artwork.

Several of the artists were in attendance, and one, Matt Hooker, spent part of his evening working on a skyline painting.

Jeff and Janet Ganoung from the Great Harvest Bread Company on Kings Drive brought some of their delicious breads for us to enjoy.

We also had a wine tasting from PRP, and Megan Magri hosted that event.

It was a lively crowd, and our party got somewhat extended past 9 pm. Look forward to more of these events in the future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Trains, Trains, and Trains

There was a meeting last night at the Government Center hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The main focus was improvements to be made to rail lines as it affects the downtown area of Charlotte.

One of the main points was changing the CSX rail line that runs east and west, paralleling the Brookshire Freeway and spanning I 77 near the Johnson C. Smith Campus. This also runs past the growing North Carolina Music Factory. That line crosses over two Norfolk Southern lines as they converge behind the ADM Grain Silo's near the Northwest edge of the Fourth Ward. This CSX line will be dropped below grade by some 30 feet!

The most noticible impact this will have on us will be the reduction of noise as the trains will no longer need to blow their whistles as they pass over other tracks, and will no longer need to be staged to allow other traffic to pass.

This will also open the way for expanded and upgraded Amtrak traffic as it will approact the new to be built Amtrak Station on Trade Street near Graham.

One thing about railroads, they are sometimes slow, but they are steady and relentless. The light at the end of the tunnel is significant progress coming to Charlotte!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Buyers Tax Credit Extension Promised- What It Means For Everyone

The stimulus bill passed in February provides first-time home buyers a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price or up to $8,000, whichever is less, when they file their taxes. Since then, new buyers using FHA-insured loans will be allowed to treat the tax credit as additional down payment funds, or use it to pay for the closing expenses. That program < HERE> was set to expire November 30th. As it gets closer to that date some consumers trying to come up with the necessary funds may be fearful that time will run out, dashing their dreams of owning their home. With recent improvements in the housing market, declining inventory and other positive metrics, Congress should see the long term value in extending the Tax Credit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he expects congress to extend the tax credit by the end of the year. Reid envisions maintaining the credit at the $8,000 level. He said there has been an effort to make the credit available to those other than first-time homebuyers, but acknowledged that may be a steeper climb.
Do I Hear $15,000?..... Raising The Ante
The Home Buyer Tax Credit Act of 2009, introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), would raise the tax break from $8,000 to $15,000, or 10 percent of the home's purchase price, whichever is lower; remove income restrictions - the current credit is available only to households making $75,000 or less - and extend it to all home purchasers, not just first-timers.
Bankers say that increasing the first-time buyer program would go a long way toward stimulating home sales and, in turn, the economy. Jay Brinkmann, the chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, estimates that just upping the tax credit to $15,000 would lead to an additional 400,000 home sales.
I am Not Buying, What's In It For Me?
This is not only good for first-time buyers but possibly all homeowners.
1) As first timers move into the market it takes pressure off the resale inventory. To the extent that existing homeowners who want to move up probably have to sell their existing home, this new policy can have a dramatic impact. Recently up to 40% of all home sales have involved first time buyers.
2) See all those foreclosures in your town or subdivision? They are weighing down the value of your home even if you can't see it happening. First-Timers generally buy at the low end of the market and will absorb these abandoned homes.
3) Studies have shown that first-time buyers have a significant impact on the local economy and contribute in other socially positive ways.
4) A thriving resale market helps maintain home prices as they recover from the recent downfall.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Inside NASCAR Hall of Fame

What a treat the City of Charlotte is in for with the May 2010 opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I was fortunate enough to have a guided tour of the facility yesterday. As a "Realtor Without a Car" you might understand that cars don't impress me all that much, but as someone who can understand promotion and marketing, I was extremely impressed.

The size of the Main Hall will take your breath away! The ability to walk through a section of a speedway curve and get a feeling for the 33 degree angle of the banking will scare you. The layout, placement of changeable exhibits, amenities, restaurants and nearby hotels will make this Hall a favorite destination.

You will be proud to take your out of town friends to this place.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have a VUE of the VUE

Please go to this link;locale=en-US for a virtual tour of one of the units available in the VUE. I had the opportunity to personally see this unit, and it is quite stunning.
One of the unique features of this is the fact that it has it's own garage! That's right, it is on the fourth floor, and when driving up through the parking garage, you will come to a section that has garage doors, and this unit has one. Two parking spaces that enter directly into the condo.
The kitchen has all the latest appliance, and the rooms are all of good size.
This will be a great addition to the Charlotte downtown market.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Is What Is Not Happening In Charlotte

By Tom Leonard in Flint, Michigan Published: 6:30PM BST 12 Jun 2009

House under demolition, USA: US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive The US government is looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature Photo: GETTY The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area. The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint. Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country. Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.

Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis. In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside. "The real question is not whether these cities shrink – we're all shrinking – but whether we let it happen in a destructive or sustainable way," said Mr Kildee.

"Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity." Karina Pallagst, director of the Shrinking Cities in a Global Perspective programme at the University of California, Berkeley, said there was "both a cultural and political taboo" about admitting decline in America. "Places like Flint have hit rock bottom. They're at the point where it's better to start knocking a lot of buildings down," she said. Flint, sixty miles north of Detroit, was the original home of General Motors. The car giant once employed 79,000 local people but that figure has shrunk to around 8,000. Unemployment is now approaching 20 per cent and the total population has almost halved to 110,000.

The exodus – particularly of young people – coupled with the consequent collapse in property prices, has left street after street in sections of the city almost entirely abandoned. In the city centre, the once grand Durant Hotel – named after William Durant, GM's founder – is a symbol of the city's decline, said Mr Kildee. The large building has been empty since 1973, roughly when Flint's decline began. Regarded as a model city in the motor industry's boom years, Flint may once again be emulated, though for very different reasons. But Mr Kildee, who has lived there nearly all his life, said he had first to overcome a deeply ingrained American cultural mindset that "big is good" and that cities should sprawl – Flint covers 34 square miles. He said: "The obsession with growth is sadly a very American thing. Across the US, there's an assumption that all development is good, that if communities are growing they are successful. If they're shrinking, they're failing."

But some Flint dustcarts are collecting just one rubbish bag a week, roads are decaying, police are very understaffed and there were simply too few people to pay for services, he said. If the city didn't downsize it will eventually go bankrupt, he added. Flint's recovery efforts have been helped by a new state law passed a few years ago which allowed local governments to buy up empty properties very cheaply. They could then knock them down or sell them on to owners who will occupy them. The city wants to specialise in health and education services, both areas which cannot easily be relocated abroad. The local authority has restored the city's attractive but formerly deserted centre but has pulled down 1,100 abandoned homes in outlying areas. Mr Kildee estimated another 3,000 needed to be demolished, although the city boundaries will remain the same.

Already, some streets peter out into woods or meadows, no trace remaining of the homes that once stood there. Choosing which areas to knock down will be delicate but many of them were already obvious, he said. The city is buying up houses in more affluent areas to offer people in neighbourhoods it wants to demolish. Nobody will be forced to move, said Mr Kildee. "Much of the land will be given back to nature. People will enjoy living near a forest or meadow," he said. Mr Kildee acknowledged that some fellow Americans considered his solution "defeatist" but he insisted it was "no more defeatist than pruning an overgrown tree so it can bear fruit again".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tax Credit can be used for Down Payment!

In his work with Congress to pass the Recovery Act, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said, the President stated that “this economic downturn began with a downturn in the housing market and a recovery in our economy has to begin with the recovery in the housing market, as well.”

Bringing the Tax Credit to the Closing Table
In a move to further stimulate home sales across the country, Donovan announced that the FHA was allowing home buyers to apply the Obama Administration’s $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit toward the purchase of an FHA-insured home.
Under new FHA rules, state housing finance agencies and other government entities can “monetize” up to the full amount of the tax credit to enable borrowers to immediately apply the funds toward their downpayments.
Home buyers who are using FHA-approved lenders can apply the tax credit to a downpayment beyond the 3.5% minimum required on an FHA-insured mortgage — or to their closing costs.
Donovan cited estimates from NAHB that the tax credit would help to stimulate 160,000 incremental home sales — 101,000 to first-time buyers who receive the credit and another 59,000 to existing home owners who will be able to buy another home after selling their current home to a first-time buyer.
“Given FHA’s current market share, we believe that tens of thousands of families will be able to purchase a home by our actions today in allowing this tax credit to be applied toward their FHA-insured mortgage,” he said.
“I believe this policy is a real win for everyone,” Donovan said. “And today, we are, by doing this, taking another important step toward accelerating the recovery of the nation’s housing market.
“Families will now be able to apply this tax credit toward their home purchase right away. And at the same time, I want to be very clear, we are putting in place the necessary safeguards to ensure that consumers will be protected in using this.”

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What's Up with the $8,000 Tax Credit?

In order to understand the details of the housing stimulus bill or $8000 home buyer tax credit (also called as $8000 housing tax credit) as a first time home buyer you need to understand the following points:What does first time home buyer exactly mean? -The law defines "First time home buyer" as a home buyer who has not owned a principal residence for the last three years. For married tax payers, both you and your spouse must be 'first time home buyers' in order to qualify for the housing tax credit. For unmarried joint purchases, either of the qualifying partner may be a 'first time homebuyer'. In this case the $8000 housing tax credit can be allocated to any of the partners. Note the if you have bought a home 3 years ago and have rented it since then, then it does not count as principal residence and you may still be eligible for the $8000 first time home buyer stimulus. Neither rental properties or vacation homes count as principal residence. However, if the new home you are purchasing is a mobile home or condo, and it is going to be your principal residence, you still qualify for the home buyer tax credit. Even building a home on a land (as opposed to purchasing a ready-made house) qualifies for the $8000 housing tax credit. In order to qualify for the home buyer tax credit, the first time home buyer must purchase the house between January 1 2009 and December 1 2009, both dates inclusive.
How much tax credit will homebuyers get? - Although this tax credit is referred to as $8000 housing tax credit, remember that the total amount of tax credit a home buyer gets is up to 10% of the purchase price of the new house up to maximum of $8000. Thus in order to get a full tax credit of $8000 your purchased property must be above $80,000 in value.
1. Income Limits for $8000 home buyer tax credit: First time home buyers with modified gross annual income of $75,000 get full benefit of this housing tax credit. The tax credit is gradually reduced for those with income between $75,000 to $95,000 and finally a home buyer gets no tax credit if his/her modified gross annual income is more than $95,000. For married taxpayers, the home buyer tax credit is gradually reduced to zero for modified gross annual income between $150,000 to $170,000.
2. This is a Refundable Tax Credit - Remember that this is a tax credit and not a tax deduction. That is qualified first time home buyers deduct $8000 from their total tax owed to the IRS and NOT the total taxable income. Moreover a refundable tax credit means that in case the total taxes you owe to the IRS are less than $8000, you can actually get a refund for the balance amount!
This $8000 home buyer tax credit, unlike $7500 tax credit does not need to be repaid to the IRS - the earlier $7500 housing tax credit was essentially an interest free loan which the home buyers needed to repay in 15 years. However, although this $8000 home buyer tax credit may look only $500 more than the previous housing tax credit, it is all yours!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Look At Charlotte's Skyline

This is a striking photo taken from the construction camera at The Garrison located near Tenth and Graham Streets. In it you can clearly see the impact that some of the new construction is having on the Charlotte Skyline.
In the background is the Duke Energy Tower. In this picture, the “Handle” is almost ready to be installed. The height of it easily dwarfs the buildings in the foreground, the Carillon Building, and TradeMark Condominiums.
In the foreground you can also see Hanover Place, a small townhouse development on North Graham Street, and Fifth and Poplar, a low rise condominium development which encompasses an entire city block. In between the two is the location for Fourth Ward Park. To the right can be seen the continued growth of The VUE, destined to be the first high-rise condominium in Charlotte to top out over 50 stories. There are about 15 more floors to go.
They are just about the level where there will be a step-back as the tower continues to rise.
The sales center, located in the Independence Building on the Square, has indicated that 65% of the units are under contract. That is a healthy amount at this stage, and as it nears completion, the activity will pick up substantially. The VUE will indeed be a noteworthy addition to Charlotte. The views will be incredible, both looking at the city as well as looking towards Kings Mountain, and the way it will “frame in” the Fourth Ward can already be felt.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Update on Fourth Ward Square

Fueled by unheard of low pricing, the apartment conversion to condominium has created quite a stir! The original goal of having 28 units under contract by June was surpassed on the second day. The developer quickly began to release additional buildings for sale.

The overall project consists of 7 buildings totalling 154 units, and as of 4/18/09, 6 buildings consisting of 125 units are under contract. Whew!

I believe what we are seeing is a combination of a well planned conversion using quality materials and appliances, extremely attractive pricing, pent up demand, the promise of the governments tax credit for first time home buyers, and low interest rates. The scene at the sales center reminded me of a sale at Filene's Basement!

Once the dust settles from the marketing activity, there will be a significant amount of activity on the site. The roofs will be replaced as will all the windows. All warped sideboards will be replaced and the entire complex will be painted. Then the interior work will commence.

Despite the media's constant reporting of the sky falling, there are good things to talk about.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flurry of Real Estate Activity

An apartment complex on North Graham Street between Eighth and Ninth Streets has been in and out of the news for the past 3 or 4 years. Originally, this site was to be replaced by a new development, and the plans changed several times over the years from twin hi rises, to a Fifth and Poplar type development, but all that has changed.

Tom Thornburg, the developer of Fourth Ward Square, has decided instead to renovate all the units in the complex (154), and sell them as condominiums. The amazing part is the level of detail of the upgrades, all Stainless Steel GE appliances, new cabinets, new countertops, new lamintate floors along with porcelean tile and carpeting in the bedroom. An incredibly attractive package.

The amazing part is that the prices begin at $99,900 for a small one (real) bedroom unit. Initially, the first phase of this development consisted of two buildings and 55 units. All but 5 of the units sold within 2 days, and in this market.

There is good news if you look for it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

GMAC On South Church?

Another piece of refreshing news came last week with the announcement that GMAC bank will be bringing an additional 200 financial services jobs to Charlotte.
GMAC currently has a location in Ballantyne with around 260 employees that will be relocating into downtown Charlotte to be joined by the new jobs.
That announcement will mean the infusion of 460 people into our downtown workspace.
The exact site for GMAC Bank has not been announced, but there are several good candidates. One is the soon to be completed NASCAR Plaza Building. As GMAC is a major credit arm for the auto industry, this might seem to be a natural location.
A second location, and probably a better one, is the Novare office building located at 440 South Church Street. The beauty of that building is that any building signage will have a Tryon exposure since it is located behind the new Arts Complex. Many of these new downtown workers will seek housing here, which will help downtown to lead the recovery.

Shovels Will Be Turning

Long anticipated, dirt will soon be turning in the northern part of downtown Charlotte. The first announcement was the UNCC Classroom Building on the corner of East Ninth and Brevard Streets. This development will bring an Iconic structure into the city, not just another building. The design is intended to look like a pile of books, and will be 12 stories, including professors offices, classrooms, lecture halls, as well as some ground floor amenities.
The construction of this building will essentially put it on the future LYNX northern extension, which will run directly into the main UNCC campus. You would think someone was actually planning this!
The overall scope of this project will be connected to an underground parking deck covered by a 4.5 acre park between East Seventh and East Eighth Streets. This park is ideally located across from ImaginOn, and cattycornered from Reid’s. It will also become a convenient lounging space for the UNCC students.
The size of the Classroom Building will allow for thousands of students to be integrated into the downtown area.
The second announcement, coming as somewhat of a surprise, was the announcement of the North Carolina Dance Theatre Headquarters and Studio space. The street level studios will have expansive glass frontage on North Tryon Street creating great pedestrian activity similar to the cooking classes at the Johnson and Wales Main Classroom building on West Trade Street.
These two projects will begin almost immediately, and mark rebirth of the North Tryon corridor. These projects will have the effect of bringing more people into this area, which will spur additional development of retail designed to service them. The value of properties located nearby will increase in value as the ability for people to walk to their jobs is highly sought after, especially for the “creative class”.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

First Ward Activity

As I indicated in my last newsletter, The Marsoun Report, the UNCC Classroom Building in downtown Charlotte is about to begin as reported in the Charlotte Business Journal as well as the Charlotte Observer. The unique cantilevered architecture is designed to look like a stack of books!

The building should begin construction within 60 days, and is scheduled to be tied in with an underground parking garage and First Ward Park see here

Growth out of the current economic crisis will start from events like this. Daniel Levine's plans for a First Ward Village will begin to unfold as construction begins. Nothing generates hope more than activity, and there should be plenty to go around.

While the Light Rail extension is not finalize yet, it will pass next to this new building and will generate yet more activity along this corridor.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Duke moves to Tryon Street

In case you have not been paying attention, big changes are underfoot at the Cultural Campus on South Charlotte. The project is rapidly coming together with the Bechtler Modern Art Museum looming eerily over it’s plaza, just in front of the Knight Performing Art Center. The new home for the Mint Museum is starting to look recognizable, and the Harvey Gantt Afro-American Cultural Center is also beginning to look like a museum, and less like an idea.
The big news this past week is that Duke Energy will be moving its corporate headquarters into about 500,000 sq ft of this tower. This brings up several interesting possibilities for the changing nature of our city...First, no offense to Shaw or Meineke, but a major non bank corporation now has a headquarters on Tryon Street. Far from bad news or a surrender, this is great news, we are diversifying! Second, what will happen to some of the existing Duke facilities in the downtown area? Well, if you grant me some poetic license for a minute, what would you think if the Duke Data Center on the corner of College and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard moved over to the current Duke Energy site, and we then had another parcel that could become the second headquarter hotel site for our growing Convention Center? This is pure speculation on my part, but it seems to make perfect sense to me!
The only downside in this change is that the condo’s that were to be part of the overall development have been put on hold.
As this Duke Energy Center Campus continues to completion, the remake of the Stonewall corridor is becoming visible. The NASCAR Hall of Fame has placed the final infrastructure beam last week, and the remake of Caldwell Street into a two way street, and the new interchange from I 277 to South / Caldwell Boulevard is almost complete. Big growth will continue in this corridor.