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Welcome to the new Mecklenburg Times

Readers of today’s edition might have noticed something different on the front page.

Just under our flag are nine words that weren’t there Tuesday: “Your inside source for real estate, development and construction.”

“What’s this all about?” you might be asking yourself.

I’m excited to introduce you to the new Mecklenburg Times.

Around for more than 80 years, our paper has a new focus, one that will serve a sector that has been, and will continue to be, important to our region’s economy.

I don’t have to tell you that the Charlotte area has boomed over the past decade, and, even in the face of the Great Recession, real estate development shows no sign of stopping.

Our mission will be to provide local real estate professionals with stories and perspectives that detail the trends and challenges affecting the sector. We’re going to go deep, with data and information that will help those in the biz stay ahead of the game. Look to us to keep you informed on matters such as local government ordinances and regulations — like those affecting zoning — and what they mean to the industry. We’ll also be your source for coverage on how national and state policies impact the Charlotte-area real estate community.

In our pages, industry officials will be able to keep tabs on real estate stories affecting not just Mecklenburg but adjacent counties, too, making us a one-stop-shop for all of the intelligence and news that you need.

In short, if you’re a member of the industry — a real estate agent, developer, investor or architect, to name just a handful — you should be reading The Mecklenburg Times, the only publication that has dedicated itself solely to real estate, development and construction news impacting our region.

Some highlights of our coverage:

• On page 4, our Business Barometer, you’ll find mortgage rates, permit data and home sales information, among other stats.

• Want a snapshot of real estate stories coming from counties in the Charlotte region? Check out Inside Tract, which premieres today on page 6.

• Every Tuesday, on page 2, you’ll find a Q-and-A with your peers in the real estate industry, from real estate agents and developers to government officials who oversee land use policies.

More features will be rolled out this year, so stay tuned.

In 2012, don’t miss our focus sections, which will go into, among other things, technology, financing and “green” trends.

Although The Mecklenburg Times’ focus is new, we’re no strangers to real estate coverage. This year, readers have watched us break major stories affecting the industry.

One worth mentioning here is our scoop this summer on a deed scam invoking the name of the Moorish Science Temple of America. Since our story ran, state lawmakers have considered legislation to crack down on such schemes.

In February, we were the first to report that Mecklenburg County would be rolling out a new way to assess commercial properties in the 2011 revaluation.

We’re just getting warmed up.

In my old life, I was a real estate reporter in New Orleans, where I ran a real estate beat from 2003 to 2007 for New Orleans CityBusiness, a sister publication to The Mecklenburg Times. From plats to PUDs, I know the lingo, and I have a passion for real estate reporting.

I hope you’ll enjoy our content as much as we enjoy providing it, and thank you for reading  The Mecklenburg Times.

Roberts can be reached at deon.roberts@mecktimes.com.

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