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Big Business Comes To Charlotte's South End

Over the last ten years, Charlotte's Historic South End has emerged as a bustling center for art and design. Add corporate headquarters to that list. Charlotte's South End stretches for several miles south of Uptown. Art galleries, organic markets and funky shops are its heart. The district's restored mills are full of start-ups and small businesses. On the surface, it's not the kind of place you'd expect to find the headquarters of a major corporation. But that didn't stop Balfour Beatty Construction from snapping up 30,000 square feet right next to Pike's Soda Shop. "This is gonna be the largest user that we have in South End, by far," says Tracy Dodson with Charlotte Center City Partners. Dodson says easy access to light rail and parking made South End a sensible spot Balfour Beatty Construction. Ninety employees will work in the new office and be a welcome boost to the customer base for restaurants and shops in the area. But does South End stand to lose some of its off-beat charm as it attracts bigger business? "I think that no matter what, South End has a vibrant business climate to it," says Dodson. "I think what's happened is it's really matured and so this is opening the door to the next chapter." That next chapter could be awhile in coming. Dodson says Balfour Beatty is moving into one of the few swaths of South End office space large enough to house a corporate headquarters. Most of the renovated historic buildings have been parceled off to suit smaller companies.