Launch Slideshow

Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte, N.C.

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    The tallest building between Philadelphia and Atlanta, the Bank of America Corporate Center (third from right) was designed by Cesar Pelli and HKS Architects.

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    Google Earth

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    Carolina Photo Group

    PARKING DECKS, CHARLOTTE-DOUGLAS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Architects: The Wilson Group (Charlotte) and LS3P Associates (Charlotte office) Developer: City of Charlotte Completed: May 2005 (West Deck), April 2007 (East Deck) Cost: $63.8 million The airport's West Deck (shown) won a 2006 AIA North Carolina institutional design award and a 2006 International Association of Lighting Designers merit award.

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    Tim Buchman

    VIRTUAL VILLAGE COMMUNICATION CENTER Architect: Mistri Associates Architects (now Mistri Hardaway Architects) Developer: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Completed: 2001 Cost: $500,000 Housed in the city's main library, the 11,000-square-foot digital media room received an honorable mention in the 2002 AIA/ Charlotte Business Journal's Bottom Line Awards, a 2002 National Association of Counties Achievement Award, and a 2003 Disabilities Services Award from the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies.

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    Tom Kessler

    IMAGINON: THE JOE & JOAN MARTIN CENTER Architects: Gantt Huberman Architects (Charlotte) in association with Holzman Moss Architecture (New York) Developer: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Completed: 2005 Cost: $28 million (construction only) This full-city-block facility houses a youth library and performance spaces and was the county's first LEED Silver structure.

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    Cameron Triggs

    THE WATERMARK Architects: Perkins+Will (Charlotte office) Developer: Tuscan Development Completed: August 2006 Cost: $7 million The unabashedly modernist look of the 34,000-square-foot office building was inspired by Werner Sobek's R128 house (2002) in Stuttgart, Germany.

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    Clay Andrews

    ZEITGEIST BUILDING Architect: Laughing Dog Studio Architecture (Charlotte) Developers: Bruce Clodfelter and Clay Andrews Completed: 2005 Cost: $850,000 Developed specifically for creative businesses, the 4,000-squarefoot structure won AIA Charlotte's 2005 Carole Hoefener Carriker Sustainable Design Award.

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    Jimmy Dudley

    CENTRAL 27 Architect: Tobin+Dudley (Charlotte) Developer: Tuscan Development Completed: April 2007 Cost: $4.5 million Located in Charlotte's Plaza Midwood area, the 27-unit condo building was voted the most unique development among in-town neighborhoods by the readers of Uptown Magazine.

Many people probably know Charlotte, N.C., as the home of the National Football League's Carolina Panthers or as the headquarters for Bank of America. Fewer know that Queen City—founded in 1768 and named for King George III's wife—was the nation's major source of gold prior to the California gold rush. The Carolina Mint opened in 1837, and Charlotte has been a banking and finance hub ever since.

Today, the 280-square-mile city is in the middle of a land rush. “Charlotte continues to grow and evolve at an amazing pace,” says architect David Tobin, principal at Tobin+Dudley. “The renewed interest in downtown redevelopment, both commercial and residential, is countered with the development of many 'edge cities.' ” This split development strategy, says Tobin, is providing both urban and suburban business opportunities.

“Like much of the nation, Charlotte saw a slowing of the economy during the early part of the decade,” says Tony Crumbley, vice president of research for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. “Since 2005, employment growth has picked up, and 2007 is looking like [a record year], with as many as 25,000 new jobs.”

POPULATION GROWTH

Charlotte's population of 664,342, which makes it the largest city in the Carolinas, is expected to grow by 110,000 over the next five years.

JOB GROWTH

Job growth since 1997 has been 24.1 percent, twice the national average.

RESIDENTIAL MARKET

In May, Forbes magazine named Charlotte—where the 2006 median home price was $190,600—the least-overpriced real estate market in the nation.

OFFICE MARKET

Office vacancy in the central business district is 3 percent, with average asking rates of $23.09 triple net.

MARKET STRENGTHS

  • Sunbelt location
  • Comparatively low cost of living for high quality of life
  • Solid job growth

MARKET CONCERNS

  • Managing growth
  • Public education
  • Roads and transportation infrastructure

DEVELOPABLE LAND

About 10 percent of the city's land is still available for development.

FORECAST

“Ideally, Charlotte will begin to develop a reputation for innovation. Forward-thinking corporations will be required for future economic growth,” says local developer Clay Andrews. “It will take major willingness by the public and private sector to do smart planning. Innovation is not always politically popular—it takes risk and a willingness to not ... go for immediate profit.”