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Construction’s ramping up on the new light rail line to UNC Charlotte. But even as work plows ahead on the $1.1 billion project, it’s not clear whether the new line can match the economic spark supplied by the Blue Line, which fueled the South End’s rebirth.

Major corporations don’t fill out the entire picture when it comes to growing the employment base. Another part, one that’s easy to overlook right now, is how well or poorly a city grows its own small businesses into big businesses. Case in point: The Schubert brothers.

Construction could be imminent on the first phase of a project that could bring $700 million worth of development and a new public park to uptown’s First Ward.

Charlotte, long criticized for lacking the distinctive sense of place you find in other cities, seems to be budding with possibilities for new civic spaces that could add character and excitement.

Some are calling for business leaders to take a stronger role in solving Charlotte’s problems.

Among the lessons from the Twin Cities: Embrace green-friendly growth and protect your past.

Last summer, the Charlotte Chamber went to Houston to look at ways to grow the energy sector, among other topics. On Wednesday, about 130 people will join the chamber on the latest inter-city visit, this time to Minneapolis.

Nearly seven years after Charlotte officials brought light rail to the South End, the area is booming with new apartments, restaurants and shops. But residents say the city overlooked one crucial task: making South Boulevard safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Airline service matters. And incentives aren’t always the key.

Eric Frazier: With the Amazons of the world shipping more products, the supply-chain industry is adding jobs. And the median wage might surprise you.

With Tryon Street project and others, Crescent Communities hopes to build city’s most beloved gathering spots

Embedded in the FBI case against Patrick Cannon is a prickly issue that has orbited Charlotte’s development circles for decades. Does local government tie up building projects with too much red tape?

This was to be the year construction launched on perhaps the most important public project to hit uptown in years: a $150 million-plus plan to demolish the Trade Street Greyhound station and replace it with a modern transit hub. What happened?

We’ve had a pretty big run of news lately on the hot-button issue of how, when or if public dollars should be spent on subsidies to private business.

If you haven’t been up to the University City area in awhile, you might want to go take a look – now. If what has happened in the South End over the past few years is any indication, the university area stands on the brink of a substantial makeover, courtesy of the $1.6 billion extension of the Lynx light-rail line from uptown.

A group that includes some of the most powerful people in Charlotte wants to make the region a global hub for business innovation, advanced manufacturing and logistics.

Google has named Charlotte one of nine metro areas where it would like to bring its lightning-fast Google Fiber broadband network. Will it make Charlotte a tech hub?

In 1993, columnist Doug Smith’s search for a Snickers bar highlighted uptown’s challenges. Two decades later, he sets out again.

The Charlotte region has some 918 foreign-owned firms hailing from about 46 countries, according to the Charlotte Chamber. Germany provides the biggest chunk of them, nearly 200. But increasingly, more are coming from China – about two dozen now and rising.

For as long as I can remember, people around Charlotte have been using Atlanta as the measuring rod for all that’s good or bad in Charlotte’s future.

You can see the Queen City’s post-recession comeback story taking shape at a business park under construction in southwest Charlotte.

After MetLife leased an already-built tower and revamped the lobby, leaders of Ballantyne Corporate Park say they’d like to give the owners of their next potential tower the chance to make changes before construction starts.

As economists, bankers, real estate developers and civic boosters look back over 2013, and peer ahead to 2014, our collective optimism is rising.

After shrinking its business at just the right time, the Matthews-based storage company is now charging ahead with aggressive growth

Patrick Cannon, who will be sworn in as Charlotte mayor on Monday, stepped before members of the Charlotte Chamber this past week and asked for a precious political commodity: cooperation.

The creation of a new statewide job recruitment group leaves some leaders wondering whether they should keep contributing to the Charlotte Regional Partnership. There’s even talk it should be merged into the Charlotte Chamber.

New luxury apartments going in near the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the Metropolitan signal healthy growth ahead for city

The old Philip Morris USA campus in Concord has sat dormant since the tobacco giant shut the site down in 2009, taking more than 1,000 jobs and one of the region’s most significant manufacturing operations with it. People have been speculating ever since about what will replace it.

Charlotte businessman and former mayoral candidate Scott Stone says political and economic uncertainty at the national level is causing local businesses to stay cautious about expanding their operations.

As a demolition team dismantles Eastland Mall, leaders hope redevelopment of the site will help revitalize the eastside.

Developer Anthony Dilweg, former quarterback for Duke University and the Green Bay Packers, is betting big on Charlotte. He and his colleagues recently announced the purchase of 121 W. Trade St., a 32-story office tower, for $59.6 million.

Jim Gross, the developer of the pink Arlington high-rise on South Boulevard, is developing a seven-unit high-end townhome complex on Selwyn Avenue near Queens Road West.

Several small businesses say rising lease rates will force them to move from the venerable south Charlotte shopping center

Developer Wendy Field’s Providence Road community is selling fast despite fact that she’s just publicly announcing it.

The folks who want to replace Eastland Mall with a massive $250 million-plus movie production complex might want to get on the phone with N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho.

Gov. Pat McCrory and his Republican allies leading the General Assembly believe a lower-tax, business-friendly North Carolina will mean more new jobs and lower unemployment.

Up until recently, the strongest impression in my mind about the interplay between Chinese and American business interests came from a Fortune magazine cover story.

Although state budget cuts are significant, Charlotte Regional Partnership head Ronnie Bryant says “this is nothing new to us.”

North Carolina’s economic development leaders hope a lot more guys like Charlie Rice turn up in these parts. He’s a job creator who recently moved his business to the town of Davidson. But didn’t receive financial incentives to move to the state. He just likes it here.

Researcher says North Carolina leaders are ‘so busy applauding...for being No.1’ that they’re not focused enough on job creation.

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Eric Frazier
Eric Frazier covers economic development. He has been reporting and editing at the Observer for more than 15 years. If you have a story idea or news tip to share, contact him at:
CharlotteObserver.com