Flyover Friday: Charlotte's biggest developments up close
Join The Ledger and The 5 and 2 Project as we show you your city up close, and from above.
In this occasional series, we take you up close to big and intriguing Charlotte developments with short, professionally produced videos that take you behind the scenes for interviews with developers and cool drone footage. The series is an independent editorial feature produced exclusively by The Charlotte Ledger in collaboration with The 5 and 2 Project.
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New videos: New editions of Flyover Friday will be released in the newsletter and on this webpage.
Season 2: 2021
Episode 1: ‘FreeMoreWest’ (Oct. 22, 2021)
In west Charlotte, not too far from uptown, there’s a big transformation underway.
Old warehouses and industrial buildings are being renovated and turned into office buildings. Townhouses are springing up. And it’s adding the trappings of hip area — including a coffeehouse and a deli, a couple breweries and a hard-seltzer bar, and even a “dog bar” where your pup can “burn off energy and socialize while you enjoy a drink.”
Developers are calling the area “FreeMoreWest,” a mash-up of Freedom Drive, Morehead Street and west Charlotte.
For expertise in this area, we turned to Chase Merkel of Trinity Partners, who shared his insights on:
Rehabbing old buildings for modern office space, known in the industry as “adaptive re-use.” Projects with major office components include Trinity’s 901 Tuckaseegee, Third & Urban’s Lower Tuck, Abacus Capital’s Switch Yard, Blue Jay Investment’s StationWest and White Point Partners’ Salt+Vinegar.
The growing nightlife and restaurant scene, which includes Not Just Coffee, Enderly Coffee, Noble Smoke, Pinky’s Westside Grill, Summit Seltzery and a few breweries.
The emergence of townhomes, including Hopper Communities’ Bryant Park Terraces and CapRock and My Townhome Realty’s Sky Terrace Towns.
Episode 2: The waterfront mansions of Lake Norman (Nov. 5, 2021)
You’ve been reading about Charlotte’s hot🔥 residential real estate market in these e-pages for months, but we’ve been curious — what’s the market been like for the drool-worthy, multi-million-dollar homes on Lake Norman?
Outdoor living became all the rage during Covid. And with more people working from home now, being within an arms-reach of an uptown office is suddenly less necessary for many, making lake life a little more doable.
The high-end housing market in the Charlotte region has spiked in the past year: the number of properties that closed for $1M or more was up a whopping 77% in September 2021 over September 2020.
Gawking at high-dollar lakefront homes is the most fun while done from a boat, but if you can’t have the actual wind in your hair, soaring over them virtually by drone is a close second (in our opinion).
For the lowdown on the high-end Lake Norman housing market, we spoke with Austin Wrench from Augusta Homes. He filled us in on:
What features people are craving — or avoiding — in lakefront homes these days, from secondary guest suites to formal dining rooms.
Who the buyers are who are moving into these homes, where they’re coming from, and what’s bringing them to Lake Norman.
The impact Covid has had on Lake Norman real estate, and the issues builders have seen with supply chain woes springing from Covid.
Why the lack of empty waterfront land means that buyers often either do big renovations or tear down homes and build new ones. (You won’t believe the drone footage of a waterfront mansion being torn down!)
The latest trends in pools — what homeowners want, and where they’re putting them.
Episode 3: Ballantyne transformed (Nov. 19, 2021)
Plenty of people live and work in the Ballantyne area, but there’s a massive effort underway to make it more of a regional draw for entertainment, dining and shopping.
Enter Ballantyne Reimagined, a 525-acre mixed-use development that’s now under construction by developer Northwood Office in the heart of Ballantyne on what used to be The Ballantyne hotel golf course.
South End needn’t worry about its devotees suddenly spending all their free time hanging out in the 28277, but when the core of the new Ballantyne project is complete in 2023, it’ll have some pretty sweet features: a stream park, walkable shops and restaurants, an amphitheater and connectivity to the Four Mile Creek Greenway. Residential development, including some 1,000 apartments, are expected to be completed in 2024.
Other projects are also springing up within arms reach of Ballantyne Reimagined: the new Panorama Tower at Ballantyne Village, which includes the 186-guestroom AC Hotel by Marriott; the 16-story Towerview luxury apartment building by Northwood Ravin and the 11-story Overlook Office Building.
To explain all the dirt that’s moving in Ballantyne, and when it’ll turn into places where people hang out, eat, shop and live, we spoke with Clifton Coble from Northwood Office. He filled us in on:
Recreational components to Ballantyne reimagined, which include plans for the 6-acre stream park. It’s being built between The Ballantyne hotel and an existing creek that was failing but is being restored. There’s also a 3,500-capacity outdoor amphitheater and a boardwalk that will connect the development to the Four Mile Creek Greenway.
Plans to handle traffic congestion, including possible light rail stops. The increase in traffic is worrying some Ballantyne residents who already deal with gridlocked intersections, especially during peak travel times.
The move to include affordable housing as part of Ballantyne Reimagined. (Plans call for Northwood to donate 4 acres of land to the city for a total of 260 affordable-housing units.)
The timeline for when the different phases of the project are expected to be complete, and how all the development that’s happening in the area is positioning it to become more of a regional hotspot.
Check it out here:
Season 1: 2020
Episode 1: Camp North End (Aug. 21, 2020)
Just a couple miles north of uptown, a series of old industrial buildings is being given new life. There are murals and restaurants, office space and shops, live music and film festivals.
It’s Camp North End, Charlotte’s biggest and most ambitious example of redeveloping old buildings for new uses. We take you inside that transformation by ATCO Properties and Shorenstein Properties.
Episode 2: Ally Charlotte Center (Aug. 28, 2020)
The Stonewall Street corridor uptown has seen a flurry of new buildings in the last few years. One of the most prominent, at the intersection with South Tryon Street, will be the new 26-story Ally Charlotte Center.
The outside of the building looks finished, and construction crews have turned their attention mostly to the building interiors. It will be home to the Charlotte operations of Ally Financial as well as the headquarters of Crescent Communities, which is developing the project. There will also be a 22-story JW Marriott hotel and restaurant/retail space designed to enliven the site, which is expected to open in the spring of next year.
Episode 3: Apex SouthPark (Sept. 11, 2020)
In a few years, SouthPark is going to look very different.
The old Colony apartments have been leveled, to be replaced by apartments and retail. A plan for a 15-story apartment tower on Fairview Road won approval this summer. There are plans for a park behind SouthPark mall — and for a three-mile greenway-like biking and pedestrian trail encircling the area, called “The Loop.”
In the middle of the action is a new development that’s almost finished called Apex SouthPark, a mix of 345 apartments, restaurants, retail, a Hyatt Centric hotel and — appropriately enough for Charlotte — a church.
We give you an exclusive look from the air and talk with Childress Klein’s Chris Thomas about the development — and where it fits into SouthPark’s future:
To give you a better sense of where this is, here’s a map:
In addition, The Ledger reported last month (subscriber-only) that the lineup of restaurants at the development includes Steak 48, Moon Thai & Japanese, Tiff’s Treats and Just Salad. There will also be a gourmet market and a few other restaurants that haven’t been announced yet.
Episode 4: South End (Sept. 18, 2020)
There’s no more dynamic spot in Charlotte than South End, and this installment of Flyover Friday takes you there. And you don’t even have to hunt for parking.
Once an area filled with mills and warehouses, South End today is known for its luxury apartments, hip restaurants and breweries and an increasing number of office towers. Throw in millennials zipping along the Rail Trail on e-scooters, Instagrammable murals, light rail and imaginative retail shops, and you have one of the more fascinating areas in the whole Southeastern U.S.
And it has all happened quickly: South End’s population density has increased by 22 times since 2000, according to figures from Charlotte Center City Partners. It’s expected to increase again by 60% in the next six years.
We enlisted the help of Clayton Sealey, widely known on social media as CLT Development, to guide us through where South End has been … and where it’s going.
We touch on a number of developments, including:
The RailYard by Beacon Partners, twin 8-story office buildings and retail
The adjacent Centro Railyard by Centro Cityworks and Ascent Real Estate Capital, a mix of micro-apartments with small ground-floor retail
The Square at South End by Beacon Partners, a 10-story office tower with retail, apartments and a park
The Design Center Tower by Childress Klein and Ram Realty Advisors, a 23-story office building that will be home to Lowe’s new tech hub plus retail
2151 Hawkins by Portman Holdings, a 16-story office tower with retail, a food hall and Sycamore Brewing on the ground floor
The Hawk by Ram Realty Advisors, a 13-story luxury apartment building
The Fulcrum by development company Fulcrum, 45 condos in a four-story building
Vantage South End by Spectrum Cos., a pair of 9-story office towers that will house LendingTree’s new headquarters, plus retail and a hotel
This is a fun one. Let’s do this:
And if you want to see where all this is …
Photo illustration of South End developments by Clayton Sealey
Many thanks to Clayton for his insights.
Season finale: UNC Charlotte (Sept. 25, 2020)
If you haven’t been on the campus of UNC Charlotte lately, you might be shocked at the building boom that’s taking place.
In the past year alone, the university opened a new recreation center and office of admissions, and work is happening now on a new 112,000 s.f. science center and renovations to aging buildings. A new conference center and hotel are being built on land adjacent to campus that’s owned by the UNC Charlotte Foundation, and the city’s light rail line now connects UNC Charlotte with its state-of-the-art Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City. The adjacent University City area is also growing like gangbusters.
UNC Charlotte hit some big benchmarks in September: Its enrollment surpassed 30,000 students, and it became the second-largest university in the UNC system, outpacing UNC Chapel Hill. (N.C. State remained in the No. 1 slot.) UNCC students have been studying remotely so far this semester but will head back to campus in the coming week to start in-person classes Oct. 1.
In this final Flyover Friday of our first season, we head to the heart of the UNCC campus and talk to Kathryn Horne, the university’s director of planning, design and construction, about some of the biggest projects happening on campus and how the ever-expanding university plans for growth:
And that’s a wrap!
➡️ We’d love to hear from you about other areas around Charlotte you’d like to see by sky when Flyover Friday makes its return. Got an idea? Drop us a line!
Blooper reel (Sept. 4, 2020)
Departing from our usual format, here’s an embarrassing montage of outtakes from filming over the last few weeks.
Blooper reel 2 (Sept. 24, 2020)
‘Flyover Friday’ trailer — released Aug. 17, 2020:
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The Charlotte Ledger is an e-newsletter and web site publishing timely, informative, and interesting local business-y news and analysis. The content reflects the independent editorial judgment of The Charlotte Ledger. Any advertising, paid marketing, or sponsored content will be clearly labeled.