Block By Block: Uptown Then And Now
Charlotte is known as the headquarters for several major banks - earning it the title of third largest banking city in the country. But Uptown's focus on banking and other large businesses created a somewhat sterile downtown with few retail or entertainment options. For many years it would clear out in the evenings and weekends - but that's changing. The last decade has been especially transformative for Uptown Charlotte with condos, apartments, restaurants, museums, parks, and even a minor league baseball stadium springing up. Since 2009, an estimated 5,000 people have moved to Uptown. In 2016, $2 billion was spent in Uptown on real estate projects and another $2.7 billion dollars of development is planned for the next two years, according to Charlotte Center City Partners.
In Charlotte’s Uptown area, construction began on 3,278 residential units in the past 12 months. There are currently 11 multifamily projects under construction that will add an additional 2,200 units. This growth is mirrored by more businesses opening in the Uptown area. Two new high-rise office towers, six hotels, and more than 70,000 square feet of ground floor retail space are in the planning stages, according to Charlotte Center City Partners.
The South Tryon Street area of Uptown has seen its share of change over the past decade. The 48-story Duke Energy Center and the $160 million dollar NASCAR Tower both opened in 2010. The area is also home to the Levine Center for the Arts which includes a number of cultural venues that opened between 2009 and 2010, such as the Mint Museum, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
The financial technology industry, called fintech, has helped contribute to the Charlotte area's growth. A CBRE report shows that jobs in the tech industry in Charlotte grew by more than 77 percent between 2011 and 2016. That means 21,690 new tech jobs flooded the area from companies like Lending Tree Inc., and Red Ventures. In March, Bank of America told the Charlotte Business Journal that it plans to invest $1.5 million in Charlotte's future as a fintech hub. Uptown has seen some of that growth with companies like AvidXChange pledging to bring 600 jobs to the area by the end of 2018. In June of 2017, the company announced its plans for a $300 million expansion project and a new partnership with Mastercard Inc. Also in Uptown, Queen City Fintech is a startup accelerator program that seeks to find and support the next big fintech companies - and maybe convince them to stay in Charlotte.
The Stonewall Corridor, as it’s being called, is also seeing significant development. Along the corridor, eight projects are planned or are currently under construction and will bring 2.7 million square feet of office space, 378,000 square feet of retail space, 850 hotel rooms, and over 2,600 residential units, according to Charlotte Center City Partners. In the seventeen acres being developed along the Stonewall Street Corridor, the Stonewall Station stands out. The 3 acre site will include a Whole Foods, and 15,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. Above that, Crescent Communities is opening 450 apartment units with 9 levels of parking (pictured below).