Thursday, November 30, 2006

REALLY big changes coming

The changes going on in uptown Charlotte are much bigger than the focus of my last blog entry, the EpiCentre: $4.7 billion in development is either proposed or underway, and the EpiCentre is just one of 15 residential towers planned for inside the 277 loop.

I gained a fuller appreciation of all of the happenings after Moira Quinn, senior VP of communications for Charlotte Center City Partners, shared a presentation this week showing, block-by-block, just how many new things are in the works.

I’ve followed each individual project as columnist Doug Smith or my other colleagues have reported them, but it’s something else to see them all lumped together.

In First Ward, there’s developer Daniel Levine’s plan for a mixed-use village and open-air market spanning the area from the county-owned Hal Marshall Center on North Tryon to Dixie’s Tavern on Seventh. In Second Ward, there’s the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the edge of the Metropolitan development on the former Midtown Square site, with condos, a Target and Home Depot Expo store.

In Third Ward, there are plans for a complicated land swap to build a minor-league baseball stadium and county park, surrounded by development. And in Fourth Ward, local entrepreneur Noah Lazes is planning a 30-acre entertainment district on former mill property near the Brookshire Freeway.

And those are just the highlights. It took Moira a full hour to describe everything.

Uptown, which was a wasteland after 5 p.m. not so long ago, now has 11,600 residents, projected to be 15,000 by 2008. Along with the new condos are coming new bars, restaurants and entertainment for that growing population.

Retail stores, other than the big ones at the Metropolitan, are slower to come. But plans are in the works to lure more.

What’s on your wish list for uptown? What’s not yet in the works that we still need? Let me know your thoughts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

More tax dollars going into developers' pockets?

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many of those condos are being bought as investment opportunities as opposed to acutal residences?
I can't wait to see what the pro-development rah-rah Observer is writing in 3 or so years when the bottom drops out on uptown.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. More parking decks
2. Medical or Law and Fashion & Design schools.
4. An international flea market with live entertainment and gourmet snack shops.
5. Newspaper/snack stands by bus and light rail stops.
Such amenities would lure brand name retail.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words: Movie theatre.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget UNC Charlotte's new building on the 9th Street end of the Levine development. That will be a great asset for the center city as well.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uptown needs something similar to New York City's Beacon Theatre. Relocating Oven's Auditorium to center city might be a good option since Independence Blvd. is a wasteland now.
Uptown wish list
Bloomingdale's or Lord & Taylor's
The Gap
Virgin Mega or HMV
Barnes & Noble
ESPN Zone Restaurant
Family Foot Locker
Discovery Channel Store
Street level full service salons
Street level post office
Gift and party shops
Street level florists

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree- why isn't there more shopping uptown? Bars/Restaurants are great, but its not exactly a booming place on a sat/sun afternoon.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brand name retail would be the key to give uptown the spark and life that it needs. Hopefully, when the projected 15,000 or so residents are in center city, such shops would spring up.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few vendors would help as well. It's always good to purchase umbrellas, handbags, scarves, gloves and hats on big city sidewalks. An upscale street-level gourmet bakery and stationary shop is needed. Also, a designer bridal boutique is needed as well. I got married two years ago and it was a hassle running to ends of charlotte from uptown for wedding services. Amenities and convenience are must haves in uptown.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have the current number in front of many city tax dollars does that come to for each of the 11,600 residents?

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does uptown need?

You mean other than half a brain and a piece of soul?

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, typical morons posting as usual. Don't hate it because you can't live uptown. Get over it already.
The bottom isn't dropping out. Charlotte is a boom town. All my friends from up north and the west coast are talking about it. Charlotte is the buzz word everywhere. Guess where they want to live as they move here ? That's right, uptown. It's going on in every mid sized city across the country. People are moving back to the center to enjoy ease of living and entertainment right outside their door. No more lawn mowing, fighting traffic, etc.
Bottom dropping with envy doesn't suit you.

1. Movies are coming to the EpiCenter as well as bowling.

2. We NEED that open air market they are talking about. NY, Chicago, Seattle. They have nailed it. We need it as well. Does anyone know WHEN it is expected ? How large ? If it will have good bakeries, produce, seafood, etc. ?

3. I fear that project by Noah wont make it. To far away from the dead center of town. We need a dedicated side street uptown that is wall to wall music clubs, bars, mini cafes.
People want to come, park and walk a few blocks. They don't want to have to drive all around uptown to different entertainment venues.

4. More retail. It is dead on Sunday afternoon. Property owners that rent out to the likes of Dean and Deluca and such need to change their contracts once they are up for renewal. Making them have to be open for weekends. Even if it's just limited lunch hours. Some of the fine dinning restaurants already have the same situation. They are liable to be open and they are always doing business.

Wake up people. We have a ton of residents now and even more in the next year. OPen the doors on the weekend, ADVERTISE that you are open and we will support you.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The condos bring in a ton of money for such a small area of land (uptown). My condo is valued at only $300k and I pay roughly $3,700 in taxes. Just do the math. With 15,000 residents in less than 2 years that's over 55 million dollars. But there are many, many condos valued way higher than mine. I bet the number for tax collected will be closer to 100 to 130 million per year.
Uptown residents produce limited wear and tear on our roads do to mostly walking and add virtually no children to the already filled school system. Almost all are well off financially and are no drain to social services.
I think we deserve any new amenities that we get.
Uptown residents are great for the tax base.

Please don't mention the light rail either. I think it's a great idea but I do not need it. It's the commuters that do. So please don't even start that argument. It's not for us uptown. It's for the rest of you.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Key word, AMENITIES!!! When people pay big money to live in the center of a city they want and deserve a verity of conveniently located amenities. People who live in Manhattan and downtown Chicago have everything they need within walking distance. Uptown Charlotte is a great place to live, but it lacks the amenities people look for in the center of a city. Upscale brand name retail will lure people to the area, especially on the weekends.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a ZOO!

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A REAL HOCKEY TEAM instead of the highschool flunkys we currently have.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An aquarium

A real market like Pikes !!! Not that lame excuse on Saturdays across from Reids.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More police on streets other than Tryon. On a Sunday late afternoon and into the evening you are hard pressed to find a foot patrol officer anywhere uptown.
MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ? MORE POLICE...get it McCrory ?

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say enough with public dollars going to the downtown. It's my feeling that the downtown area has been overly favored by the city council with huge city investments. The group that you mention in the article, Central City Partners has a big influence over city decisions. It is not a far stretch to say the business interests of the downtown run city council. I'm pleased that many are choosing to live downtown and I think that is a positive trend for Charlotte. But I believe a balance is needed for other sections of town that are in a state of decline. If the city council continues to focus their efforts on the downtown, and other areas continue to decline then city tax revenue will also drop. Is it in the city's interest to have a beautiful downtown area with large empty big box retail in the east? I don't see any interest in city council to address concerns in East Charlotte. Someone mentions a zoo or an an aquarium, why not build them in East Charlotte? The downtown area has the two sports arenas and now is getting the arts facilities. Why do we feel the need to locate everything downtown?

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the concept of some upscale shopping that's open on the weekend. I'd also like to see an aquarium or a nationally recognized museum or two put up there (rather than what's up there now). I think some sort of trolley linking to an expanded NoDA would be nice as well.

It's looking a lot better uptown in the year I've been here. Keep up the good work. Just give us more to do on the weekend during the day so we have a more of a reason to go up with our daughter.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Street level upscale retail lined around the Levine's planned park in First Ward would be ideal. Shops on the Park would be good.

A few family restaurants such as Houston's, T.G.I.F Friday's, On The Boarder and Olive Garden would be good for variety.

I agree with the last poster, uptown is improving and I'm sure it will continue to do so with more attractions and upscale shopping available seven days a week.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call me crazy, but I think there should actually be people on the streets of a city. The sooner we get rid of that ridiculous hamster trail (Overstreet), the better off we'll be. Quite frankly, Charlotte has YEARS to go before we begin to evoke envy from real cities all over the country who got it right from the outset--street level retail--open past 5 p.m. and open on the weekends. Aside from looking at the tired exhibits at the Museum of Craft and Design and getting a beer at Rock Bottom, there is NOTHING to do uptown during the day on Sat or Sun.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank Burns,
They locate everything downtown so one can drive or rail into one spot and spend the entire day without driving all over the place. I live uptown but when I didn't I loved coming in for the day when there were events. I wouldn't want to drive all over town. That's why ALL cities place major entertainment in a centralized downtown area.

As far as family friendly restaurants. Keep them out. No one who lives up here wants Suburb crappy style eateries. They don't belong in a city environment. There's Rock Bottom, China Bistro, Merts, Brixx and Uni Chicago Grille that is fine enough for families.
No one wants TGIF garbage in town.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current restaurants are good, but variety is needed. While TFIG may not be a good choice, an ESPN Zone would be good to have. The site accross the street from Days Inn on North Tryon would be a good restaurnt and multi-level book store site.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Days Inn is getting torn down next month to allow for retail / condos / ofices. FINALLY !!!!!
Maybe something to your liking will go there ?
As far as a sports bar you now have Brixx and Brick and Barrel has a hint of it on game days.
I believe there is also going to be a FOX Sports Bar soon at the EpiCenter.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make a lot of money.
I want to spend money.
The city needs to spend money to make my desires come true.
We need to copy every other city in America, instead of doing something original.
I saw two buildings today that looked like they were older than twenty years - TEAR THEM DOWN NOW!
But make sure the city pays for the demolition.

12:13 PM  

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