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Goodbye 2019: Memorable Events Of The Past Year

This is a guest column from Charlotte Realtor Dennis Marsoun at Church Street Realty. For more, visit churchstreetrealty.com

Let’s take a trip through the year to find out some of the seminal events and things that have led us to where we find ourselves.

In January site prep work began for the Lennar apartment complex llocated between 8th & 9th Streets and the LYNX Light Rail Line. Called The Ellis, it will contain 546 apartments in a combination 33 story high rise and a 6 story low rise that will wrap around a “hidden” parking garage. This complex will be joined by a 12 story hotel at the corner of 8th and College Streets within 2 years. The combination of Lights, People, and Activity in a once dead section of town will broaden the comfort level of the city.

Also in January I produced a spreadsheet giving cost per square foot for a select number of condos. There has been a 2% increase in average pricing for downtown Charlotte. This price increase has been led by 400 N Church, 230 S Tryon, and TradeMark.

February saw a combination of BankofAmerica, Ally, and Barrings all commit to over $70 million to help low income housing and the North Tryon Vision Plan find some footing. As of this date, there has been no followup, that will follow soon.

March saw the beginning of construction of the new CMPD downtown precinct at the intersection of 5th and 6th Streets in the Third Ward. This project is nearing completion now and once completed it will open space in the First Ward for another plot of land that will be instrumental for the North Tryon Vision Plan to begin.

April saw the Polk Building be demolished. Built in 1925 as an auto dealership, complete with test ride floors for the cars, this building has been surrounded by scaffolding over the sidewalk due to the instability of the exterior brickwork. The land has been totally cleared and a new apartment complex is already coming out of the ground.

May saw the revelation that Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools had changed their school assignment maps to have the Third and Fourth Wards included in the Myers Park School district, truly big news.

June saw news concerning Brooklyn Village being delayed. This ambitious project covers much of the land from the government center to I-277 between McDowell and Davidson Streets. This mixed use plan includes residential, both affordable as well as market rate apartments, commercial and hotel accommodations. The biggest part of the plan will be located where Marshall Park and the former Board of Education currently exist. The shaky ground that this project seems to be on might disappear and re-emerge as something else.

July saw the news, and almost immediate start of a new Lowes “Technology Center” in the Southend across from the East/West station of the LYNX Light Rail. This 23 story building will be home to around 2000 technical jobs new to our city, another brick that is building diversity and changing us from just being a financial center.

September revealed the winner in a surprise non requested offer for the land occupied currently by the Charlotte Transportation Center. This piece of land between Trade and Fourth Streets, Brevard Street and the LYNX Light Rail line has served as a transfer depot for the city wide bus system. At times it has been a controversial place as a hangout for some. The very nature of transit in Charlotte is changing however and the size and importance of that transfer point is being questioned. Bus lines have been changed to take their passengers to the rail line, and that rail line now is becoming the transfer point. Should this ambitious proposal come to fruition, it will change that entire section of the city and encourage more development along East Trade Street.

November saw two main stories. First, a tower crane came out of the ground on the site of the Intercontinental Hotel on Sixth and Tryon. That was the fourth time in 2019 that I wrote about that hotel. I believe that the importance of it is both a sign of the beginning of activity along North Tryon as well as an architectural gem in the city.

The second story is about the plans to replace the current Main Branch of the CMPL with an iconic design that will provide a home and increased usage for the library. Again this will be across from the Intercontinental Hotel and add more strength to the recreation of North Tryon.

December was truly an incredible month. The merger of BB&T and Sun Trust Banks achieved final approval and the new bank, Truist, agreed to the purchase of the Hearst Tower. This merger and relocation to Charlotte has cemented us as the #2 banking center of the country.

Funding was approved and a generous donation by USBank provided us with visions of a part of the LYNX Light Rail Rail-Trail spanning the Belk Freeway providing walking access to downtown.

Northend Station, a series of clubs and bars along College Street between 6th & 7th Streets was sold to a developer. While no plans have yet been announced, this transaction holds the promise of fitting into the North Tryon Vision Plan very well.

And finally, Major League Soccer announced that David Tepper and Charlotte have been awarded the 30th franchise to begin play in 2021. This is the second “football” team that Tepper owns in Charlotte. The other “football” team, the Panthers finished a very disappointing year with a 7 game losing streak that cost the job of Ron Rivera.

All that happened and it only took 12 months to do it. So what are the signs that we can see from the year that will affect property values in downtown Charlotte? Connect the dots to see the coming of the North Tryon Vision Plan. First, Kathy Bessant of BOA is a driving force for the roll-out of this plan. When the strength of BOA gets behind a project it usually lends steam to it. Then look at the “seedlings” of that plan to get it moving; Intercontinental Hotel, Library redevelopment, Discovery Place redevelopment, Northend Station being sold to a developer, Police Precinct on 7th about to be vacated, The Ellis high rise and 546 apartments to be developed, 10Tryon announcing that Publix will put a store on the corner of 9th and Tryon. Looking at these individually and they appear to be nice additions, looking at them together and you can see a potential wave of development about to arrive.

All this development takes available property off the market, increasing the value of all properties around it. Residential properties around or near the Stonewall Street redevelopment have all experienced significant increase in value due to that development and the removal of dark and unused lots from the neighborhood.

While the Brooklyn Village redevelopment is still some years away from a funded and realistic plan, the potential of the remake of the Charlotte Transportation Center will open the surrounding areas for rapid growth. There was a planned condo on the corner of 4th and Brevard that failed because of its high price, around $525 per square foot, and its proximity to the CTC. With the reconfiguration of how transit works in Charlotte, and the distribution of those connections, the “fear” of the CTC begins to diminish. Once that property begins development, this location 2 blocks from the center of town, and centrally located to all the major employers in the city will blossom.

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