Block By Block: Charlotte Then And Now

Aug 29, 2017

It’s not news that Charlotte is growing rapidly. This year, Charlotte was ranked fourth in the country for fastest job growth. In the last 10 years, more than 7,000 new businesses came to the Queen City, occupying 94 million square feet, adding $9.2 million dollars in economic activity, and employing more than 57,000 people, according to real estate research company Marcus and Millichap

The latest census data for Charlotte shows that a lot more people are moving in than are moving out. Factoring in those who are leaving, the Charlotte region adds 109 people each day, according to Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill. Many of these newcomers are young people looking to live close to the city. Apartments to accommodate them are springing up along the city's light rail system. Charlotte has started building it out, not just for transportation, but to focus growth and spark economic development.  A study by the National Apartment Association reports the Charlotte area will need 71,523 new apartments by 2030 to keep up with local demand. The city averaged about 4,000 apartment units a year from 2011 to 2016. Moving forward, Charlotte will need to average about 5,000 units per year to meet the expected demand, according to the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association.  

“Charlotte’s been a boom city since the railroads arrived in the 1800s. There’s never been decade when we didn’t grow by at least 10%. I think people will look back at what's happening today and they will know that this was a time when the city was changing rapidly.” 

- Tom Hanchett, Charlotte Historian 

This map pinpoints areas that have changed in the last 5 to 10 years. It includes side by side comparisons of city blocks – showing you then and now. We unpack why this rapid change is taking place, what’s driving it, why specific areas are so attractive, and who’s losing out. Many parts of the city still haven't seen much development and we'll look at a few of those areas, too.  As we profile different areas of growth, we hope to share the history with incoming residents and inform current residents of the changes happening around them.