If Charlotte were a human, the city would likely be a teenager, getting taller and busting out the seams of its clothes in the midst of a huge growth spurt.
The city’s building boom shows no signs of stopping, with dozens of people a day moving here and apartments popping up like mushrooms after a rain. There are 14 more high-rises planned downtown between now and 2020.
But while you can hear the growls of construction machinery across most parts of the city, a few places stand out as white-hot centers of supercharged growth:
1. Stonewall Street
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If you weren’t here a few years ago, it’s probably hard to believe that most of Stonewall Street, the 1-mile route on Uptown’s southern edge, was largely empty except for Bank of America Stadium. Much of the street was taken up by vacant land left over from the construction of Interstate 277, a Goodyear auto shop and the former, largely empty Charlotte Observer building.
Now, a Whole Foods and 459 luxury apartments have already opened at Stonewall Station, next to the Blue Line light rail stop.
There’s more than $2.5 billion worth of construction underway, including two high-rise office towers (the 33-story tower for Bank of America next to the stadium and a 26-story tower for Ally Financial across Tryon Street), three hotels totaling more than 600 rooms, a 22-story apartment tower and two mid-rise apartment buildings that will bring more than 700 more upscale apartments between them.
And that growth isn’t finished: Developer Lincoln Harris is planning a mixed-use development with residences, shops, restaurants, more office and hotel space at the former Observer site next to the stadium, eventually totaling 5 million square feet. Meanwhile, Bob Walton Plaza, the drab county office building on Stonewall, is set to be torn down for a redevelopment called Brooklyn Village that will also bring more apartments, shops, restaurants, hotels and offices.
2. The Blue Line extension route
The $1.2 billion light rail from Uptown to UNC Charlotte opened in March 2018, but developers were already planning years in advance. The boom around the northern light rail is turning into a mirror of the southern line, which opened in 2007.
More than 5,000 apartments are under construction, planned or recently completed along the path of the Blue Line extension. That’s remaking neighborhoods like Belmont, Optimist Park and NoDa, which are seeing major influxes of new apartments.
Further north, Topgolf is planning its second Charlotte development at University City Boulevard and Ikea Drive, about half a mile from a light rail stop, while more apartments are planned around the stops near UNCC.
3. Camp North End
Just north of Uptown, plans are underway to turn a former munitions depot, Ford factory, distribution center and missile plant into a huge mixed-use development. With some industrial buildings almost a century old, the 75-acre project between Statesville Avenue and Graham Street could help Charlotte shed its image of a shiny new city that tears down historic buildings willy-nilly.
So far, the redevelopment has included opening a small strip of retail stores and artisanal shops. The developers are marketing a large, old warehouse for new “creative office” space, which could open in late 2018. Ultimately, the plans call for up to 1,500 new apartments, a hotel and up to 1.5 million square feet of office space at the site.
4. Waverly, Golf Links
In south Charlotte, a different kind of redevelopment has taken shape around Providence Road and Interstate 485. There, developers are turning a defunct golf course and parts of a family farm into suburban mixed-use developments. Called Waverly, Novel Providence Farm and Rea Farms, the projects will total more than 2,000 residences on sites that were once quiet and tucked away on the city’s outskirts.
But these aren’t the single-family subdivisions common in decades past. Built as places where residents can “live, work and play,” as the popular development mantra goes, this trio of dense projects includes houses, townhouses, shops (including a Whole Foods and Harris Teeter), a huge gym, dozens of restaurants, apartments and age-restricted housing for senior citizens.
5. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
If you’ve got friends and family who live elsewhere, or travel for work, chances are you’ll pass through Charlotte’s airport pretty frequently. Get ready for major changes: There’s about $2.5 billion worth of expansion plans underway or starting soon at Charlotte Douglas.
The airport, which saw almost 46 million passengers in 2016, opened nine new gates in July 2018, and plans to add up to 38 more. Construction is also underway on a new, eight-lane roadway in front of the terminal, and once that’s complete in 2019, a major overhaul and expansion of the terminal lobby will get underway. Other projects underway include a fourth parallel runway — the airport’s longest, at 12,000 feet — and a new control tower.