As Charlotte luxury apartments race to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive landscape, one developer has turned to a new idea: Private bars.
Northwood Ravin, owner and developer of several prominent apartment buildings, has opened a private bar on the 50th story of The Vue. Called the Sky Lounge Bar, it’s open to apartment residents, who can bring up to two guests each. Northwood Ravin is opening a second private, rooftop bar at Uptown 550 on Stonewall, a 22-story apartment building under construction. That building is set to open late next year.
It’s the latest new amenity in a Charlotte apartment market that’s become increasingly tilted towards luxury. Instead of simple gyms and maybe a movie room, Charlotte apartments that have opened in recent years include high-end facilities such as “pet spas,” massage rooms, concierge services, valet parking, catered weekend brunches, wine fridges in each unit and off-leash dog parks.
Here’s how it works. The Vue’s Sky Lounge Bar is typically open from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. A staff of three works at the bar, including a concierge at the door who checks IDs and residency status.
The bar serves drinks such as the $12 VUEtini (vodka, sweet and sour mix, blue curacao, pineapple juice) and $6.25 local beers, from breweries such as Sugar Creek. House red and white wines are available for $8 a glass, and residents can also order from the Corkscrew wine shop downstairs and have the bottle brought up.
The apartments keep credit cards on file, so residents just bring their building ID to pay. The lounge is available to residents when it’s not being used for the bar. Apartments listed for lease at the Vue start at $1,661 a month for a one-bedroom and go up to $4,963 a month for a three-bedroom unit.
The increasing amenities in Charlotte’s newest apartments have contributed to rising rent – along with tight supply and strong demand, the biggest drivers.
The average rent in Charlotte jumped almost 6 percent in August, to $1,115, compared to the same month a year ago, according to Charlotte-based Real Data. The highest rents are in the uptown area, where the average apartment will set you back $1,860 a month. That’s largely because many of the new apartments uptown are expensive-to-build, high-rise towers.