The faint moans of wind whistling through construction cranes seeped through Michael Smith’s windows in his office on the sixteenth floor of a South Tryon Street office building Tuesday – another sign of Charlotte’s growth.
“We find it a very soothing and welcome sound,” said Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. The head of the group that promotes uptown, South End and the area just west of Interstate 277, Smith has reason to be happy, looking at his group’s newly released 2017 growth figures.
The numbers paint the story of a building boom that’s still going strong, with growth in every sector.
Smith doesn’t see signs of a slowdown anytime soon, though, of course, all booms end sooner or later.
“Normally, it doesn’t come together like this,” Smith said of Charlotte’s current boom. “It seems pretty unique... We had such a deep recession before this, there was pent-up demand. We had a lot of catch-up to do.”
And 2018 is expected to be another big year, with Whole Foods opening at Stonewall Station and the Blue Line extension to UNC Charlotte starting service in March.
Here are four key numbers from the 2017 State of the Center City report that show just how much Charlotte’s center is growing:
That’s the approximate population of Charlotte’s center city, according to Smith. It’s a roughly 10 percent jump from the 2016 population, and more than triple the number of people who lived there in 2003, showing how quickly people are moving to uptown and South End. That’s despite the rent reaching an average of $1,640, almost 50 percent above the citywide average.
That’s the number of residential units under construction or completed over the last year in uptown. Add that to the 1,781 units under way or completed in South End, and you can see why population figures are going up.
That’s the amount of new hotel rooms opening in uptown this year, in projects such as the new AC Hotel/Residence Inn atop the EpiCentre. In 2017, the market added 704 new rooms. When the current crop of hotels are complete, uptown will have about 6,000 rooms – compared to fewer than 4,000 in 2005.
That’s the square footage of office space under construction this year in uptown, largely in big projects such as Bank of America’s new tower at Legacy Union, on the old Charlotte Observer site, and Ally Center across the street. Much of that space has already been leased by anchor tenants.