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Each week, WFAE's "Morning Edition" hosts get a rundown of the biggest business and development stories from The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.

BizWorthy: Developer Buys Land Occupied By One Of Charlotte’s Oldest Businesses

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The property that houses Harry & Bryant Funeral Home on Providence Road in Charlotte has been sold.

A developer has bought the land that one of Charlotte’s oldest businesses sits on.

Harry & Bryant Funeral Home in Myers Park was founded more than 130 years ago. The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter reports the land was purchased by a local real estate developer for nearly $4 million. The Ledger’s Tony Mecia joins us with more on that and other news.

Marshall Terry: Tony, what are the plans for this spot?

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Tony Mecia: Yeah, Marshall, I talked to the developer this week, who told me what the thinking was behind buying that, paid about $4 million dollars for a little over an acre there, right on Providence Road on the Myers Park side. He said basically right now they're going to hold on to it and just see what happens in the next few years.

Originally, the same developer had told me in March they were planning to put an office building on the site. Those plans sort of got put by the wayside. And now they're just holding on to the land. They say the funeral home will continue to be there for a certain amount of time and sort of renew the lease. He's couching it more as a longer-term investment rather than any displacement of the funeral home at this point.

Terry: And there's other development planned for this part of town, right?

Mecia: Yeah, there's a lot going on there. It's fairly close to town, high visibility area. You have the auto repair shop that's a little farther down the corner that's turning into a bank branch. You have an old Boston Market that's being converted into a hamburger place, ACE No. 3. And then there are always rumors about what's going on with the Manor Theatre site. The owner there owns a couple of blocks right along Providence Road, pretty prime real estate, but no plans have been announced. So, it's certainly an area corridor to keep an eye on.

Terry: Tony, a headline in yesterday's Ledger reads, "Atrium Health is limiting non-essential surgeries again." That's what it sounds like, at least. What does that mean?

Artur Tumasjan
The Charlotte Ledger looked into whether some elective surgeries were being postponed due to an increase in COVID-19 patients.

Mecia: Marshall, I've been talking to doctors the last couple of weeks who've been telling me that it is getting increasingly difficult to schedule elective surgeries at Atrium Health. So I put that question to Atrium Health: What's going on with nonessential surgeries? And they sent a statement back and asked that it be included in its entirety, which is a little unusual. But we put it in there, and they basically are saying, well, I'll just read the key sentence, they say, "For a small percentage of patients who might need a longer recovery time in the hospital, their personal care team is evaluating their specific procedure and working with them on a case-by-case basis to determine if their procedure needs to possibly be adjusted."

So, to me, that sounds like a way of saying that, yes, they are limiting some elective surgeries that require overnight hospital stays as the number of COVID patients is increasing. You'll recall Atrium and Novant did that in the spring, right at the onset of the pandemic, and the number of patients was sort of slow to recover. This time they're being, I think, a little quieter about how they're trying to manage the increasing number of COVID patients.

Terry: Sticking with pandemic-related news for a second, the Ledger this week found travel agents in Charlotte are busy booking socially distanced vacations for 2021. I guess people are really itching to get out of the house this year.

Mecia: I think a lot of people are itching to get out of the house, Marshall. Some people obviously don't feel comfortable leaving the house or leaving Charlotte. But there is another segment of people that is very much interested in booking vacations with travel agents that we talked to this week. I think the thinking is: "Look, the vaccine's on the way. We don't know what things are going to be like in a few months. Why not put in a deposit on somewhere and see what happens?"

Simon Migaj
This counts as social distancing, right?

A lot of these vacations, the deposits are refundable. And so travel agents told us that some of the places that are kind of hot, no pun intended right now, are Caribbean islands, all-inclusive resorts on Caribbean islands or in Mexico, any beach destination, places where people can be outside. The ones that are less popular, maybe for obvious reasons, are cruises and going ... to big cities: New York City or European vacations — those are kind of out, I think, kind of for obvious reasons. So, people are definitely, I think, yearning to get out of the house, and so travel agents are getting pretty busy.

Terry: Finally, I'm a little sad to bring up that it looks like one of our regular topics on this segment is coming to an end, and that is the property dispute between former Congressman Robert Pittenger and Lending Tree CEO Doug Lebda. What's the latest there?

Mecia: Marshall, we've talked about this a lot over the last year and a half. We've covered it fairly exhaustively in the Ledger. It's a property dispute between former Congressman Robert Pittenger and Lending Tree CEO Doug Lebda. They're next-door neighbors on the Quail Hollow Club's golf course. And Pittenger had claimed that Lebda's new 15,000-square-foot house was too big, too gargantuan, was too close to his property line, to his 10,000-square-foot house, so Pittenger sued. The discovery was worked out in court, and the judge last month dismissed the case. Pittenger's lawyer told me this week that Pittenger does not plan to appeal. So, this one is coming to an end.

Terry: Well, what are we going to talk about now?

Mecia: I think we'll come up with something. If anybody knows of any other conflicts out there, feel free to drop WFAE or the Charlotte Ledger a line.

Terry: All right. Thanks, Tony.

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