A look at Plaza Midwood illustrates the rapid growth surrounding Uptown Charlotte. The eclectic neighborhood just east of the city has attracted young families and young professionals to the area. In recent years, large apartment complexes have begun popping up as plans for the 2020 construction of the Gold Line Streetcar have solidified.
Home values have increased by 10.7 percent in the past year, with the average home costing about $400,000, according to Zillow. It expects values will rise by 4.4 percent over the next year. Many residents fear being priced out of their homes as droves of newcomers fill the apartments along Central Avenue and pay top dollar for the small, historic homes. Some residents also fear losing the neighborhood's character and valuable landmarks, like the church that once stood on the corner of Central and Hawthorne.
“As this rapid change began to be really evident in the late
2000s the church became a point of interest for people who were uncomfortable with the change. It was eventually torn down and apartments are going up.” – Tom Hanchett, Charlotte Historian
Another local landmark is the bar, the Thirsty Beaver. The owner of the land it sits on refused to sell, so now the bar is surrounded by apartment construction. You can hear from the bar's owner and other Plaza Midwood business owners on Charlotte Talks. [GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT SHAPE FUNKY PLAZA MIDWOOD]
Some locals fear the area is becoming too much of a main thoroughfare to the city. They've started petitioning the Charlotte City Council to prioritize pedestrian safety along the neighborhood's busy streets. The petition is called "Stroll and Roll Plaza Midwood" and focuses on adding things like bike lanes separate from traffic, more pedestrian crosswalks, more streetlights, and dedicated left turn signals. The petition calls upon the Charlotte Department of Transportation to use the "complete street" design to make the area more pedestrian friendly.
[Charlotte Talks: STERILIZING DEVELOPMENT]
According to the apartment research firm Real Data, there are a total of 9,108 apartment units in the Plaza Midwood, NoDa, and Elizabeth areas. (The information is not broken down by each neighborhood.) Of those 9,000 units, 1,400 are less than five years old. An additional 1,499 units under currently construction and another 1,934 units are in the planning stages.