It’s hard to miss uptown’s boom: Cranes dotting the skyline, excavators churning up piles of red dirt and a sense of “Where did that building come from?” for anyone who’s been away for more than a few months.
On Tuesday, Charlotte Center City Partners released their annual State of the Center City report, putting the latest numbers to that building boom, which saw more than 2,100 new residents move to uptown and South End in 2016.
“As the world’s shifted back to urbanization, for living, for recreation, for entertainment and for employment, it’s just really positioned us well,” said Michael Smith, the group’s CEO.
Smith said he expects the good times to keep rolling, at least for the foreseeable future. That’s in spite of House Bill 2, the controversial state law limiting local LGBT protections, that’s prompted some companies such as CoStar to back off uptown office plans.
“It creates a headwind,” said Smith. “It’s impossible for us to measure what happened vs. what could have happened. I’m glad it continues to be a priority for us to evaluate its repeal.”
Here are five numbers that show the scope of the current uptown boom.
That’s the total dollar figure of real estate projects under construction throughout “center city” (which includes part of South End) last year. Another $2.7 billion worth of projects have been announced, according to Center City Partners’ estimates.
That’s the estimated population of uptown, up from 15,500 people in 2015. There are another 3,278 residential units, mostly apartments, under construction uptown. In South End, the estimated population has grown to 9,113, up from 8,000 residents last year.
24 percent and 36 percent
Those are the percentages of residents in uptown and South End who moved there from out of the state, indicating both places’ draws for new residents (Full disclosure: I was one of them when I first moved to Charlotte).
That’s the number of hotel rooms under construction, in six projects. There are another 1,265 hotel rooms planned. There are just under 4,600 hotel rooms in center city now, so the new rooms represent a 58 percent increase (though Smith acknowledges all of the planned rooms won’t likely be built).
“Between ‘04 and ‘14, we built less than 400 hotel rooms,” said Smith, for perspective.
There was a long pause in office building following the recession. Now, there are 5.3 million square feet of office space planned or under construction on top of the existing 19.4 million in Charlotte’s central business district. That includes projects such as 615 South College and 300 South Tryon that will finish this year, as well as future planned projects such as the Lincoln Harris/Goldman Sachs office tower slated for the former Charlotte Observer site on Stonewall Street.