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    Cambridge, MA, formerly of the QC
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    Born and raised in Charlotte — lifelong love affair with the Queen City. Demography. Architecture. Parks and Trails. Hiking - primordial cliffs and raptors at Crowders Mtn. are amazing. Arts & museums (art, history, science). Books, esp., Southern urban history (not an oxymoron). Favorite quotation: “When you look at a city, it’s like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it,” by Architect, Hugh Newell Jacobsen.

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  1. Sad story from this morning's CBJ (12/09/19), "City's rising violence strikes beloved NoDA business," by Jen Wilson "A troubling rise in violence in the city has hit home for one of Charlotte's beloved local establishments. One of the co-owners of Brooks Sandwich House in NoDa was shot dead outside the restaurant early this morning, apparently as he was just beginning his workday. CBJ news partner WSOC-TV reports the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded around 5:00 a.m. to a shooting at the restaurant at 2710 N. Brevard St., where officers found the victim. A short time later, CMPD confirmed it is investigating the death as a homicide, noting it appears the man was confronted by an "unknown assailant" as he was arriving to open the eatery. The victim has since been identified as 61-year-old Scott Brooks, who, along with twin brother David, had operated the restaurant since 1973. Aside from being widely known as one of the best burger spots in town, the longtime family-owned business is also a contributor to efforts to alleviate the affordable-housing crisis. Earlier this year, the owners donated 3 acres to be used for the development of affordable townhomes in east Charlotte. “That’s a place where you’ll see everybody from Charlotte converged there. It’s an iconic type of place and a landmark, so… obviously a big blow to the city,” police said, according to the Charlotte Observer. Condolences began to pour out on social media as the news spread. The area around Brooks, located a block off North Davidson Street and just south of Heist Brewery and the Johnston YMCA, is closed off as the investigation continues. Charlotte's surging homicide rate — more than 100 people have been murdered here this year — was cited by the major and several City Council members at last week's swearing-in ceremony as one of the most pressing issues facing local leaders in the year ahead." Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2019/12/09/cbj-morning-buzz-citys-rising-violence-strikes.html
  2. Sunday's Charlotte Ledger, "Huge Swath of Dilworth to be gobbled up by Developer" by Tony Mecia and Michelle Crouch "About 50 Dilworth houses between Atrium’s Carolinas Medical Center and East Boulevard (in red box) are on the verge of being owned by healthcare-related companies. About two dozen homeowners on Garden Terrace, Fountain View and Scott Avenue have agreed to sell to a company linked to Summit Healthcare, a medical-office developer. Separately, Atrium already owns about 25 houses in the area." "Every house along two neighborhood streets in Dilworth is on the verge of being owned by healthcare-affiliated companies, as about two dozen homeowners have agreed to sell their land to a developer active in the area, real estate sources tell The Ledger." "It’s a huge story for a high-profile section of Dilworth, as the pending sales crystalize worries about the growth of Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center and could one day lead to a dramatic transformation one of Charlotte’s historic neighborhoods." "The intrigue around Dilworth, which has quickly spread among neighbors in the last few days, centers on two residential streets off East Boulevard that dead end next to CMC: Fountain View Street and Garden Terrace. For years, Atrium Health has been purchasing houses on those streets. Atrium owns 14 of 19 residential parcels on Garden Terrace and 11 of 24 on Fountain View, for a total of about 6.6 residential acres in the area, according to a Ledger analysis of real estate records." "Now, though, land brokers have persuaded the remaining homeowners on those streets, plus a handful of owners on nearby Scott Avenue, to sell, says Nick Lukens with Moseley Real Estate Advisors, which represents the Starbucks on East Boulevard." “Any of the homes [on] Fountain View and Garden Terrace, if it’s not already owned by the hospital, it’s under contract,” he told the Ledger, based on conversations he said he has had with people familiar with the deals. Lukens said he didn’t know the identity of the company buying the houses." "Two other sources with knowledge of the transactions identified the buyer as being linked to Summit Healthcare Group — the medical-office developer that recently bought the Starbucks and Key Man buildings and related commercial properties that face East Boulevard." Link: https://charlotteledger.substack.com/
  3. close call yesterday in Brookhaven, GA - happily, no KK's were lost
  4. From today's (11/25/19) San Francisco Business Times: "Still, Schwab’s move signals to the Bay Area Council that it must redouble its efforts to push for more structural changes in Sacramento — especially around housing, homelessness and transportation — to help right the perception of California as a sinking ship." So long 415 - hello 817!
  5. Historically, North Carolina's legislature was dominated by the counties of the Atlantic coastal plain, many with fewer than 5,000 residents. Prior to the Supreme Court's 1964 ruling in Reynonds v. Sims (377 U.S. 533), Mecklenburg County had no more votes or influence in N.C.'s legislature than numerous so-called "rotten boroughs" (counties with very small pops.) in eastern North Carolina. Mecklenburg County was woefully underrepresented in the N.C. State legislature prior to the Reynolds decision which held that state legislative districts must be roughly equal in population. As late as 1964, Mecklenburg County, which had more than 300,000 residents at that time, effectively had no more voting power or representation in the NC State legislature than little Tyrrell County (located along Albemarle Sound) which had less than 4,500 residents. In fact, since the late 19th century Charlotte & Mecklenburg County had been pleading with the N.C. State legislature to site a public university in Charlotte, but didn't have the political heft to attain that goal prior to state legislative redistricting that was mandated pursuant to the Reynolds decision. Charlotte College, founded in 1946 to serve WW2 Vets, did not formally become a part of the UNC system until 1965 following Reynolds.
  6. Noble sentiments & reminds me of a famous stanza from Carolina's alma mater song - "Hark the Sound" by Wm. Starr Myers @1897: I'm a Tar Heel bornI'm a Tar Heel bredAnd when I dieI'm a Tar Heel dead.So it's Rah, Rah, Car'lina-linaRah, Rah, Car'lina-linaRah, Rah, Car'lina-linaRah! Rah! Rah!
  7. Links to stories in both the Charlotte Ledger and CBJ today (Wednesday 11/20/2019) (1) "Feds Sign off on $66 Billion BB&T-Sun Trust Merger" https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2019/11/19/feds-sign-off-on-66-billion-bb-t-suntrust-merger.html (2) "New Record: Hearst Tower expected to sell for $455.5 M" https://charlotteledger.substack.com/
  8. Overcast Seattle - On average, there are 152 sunny days per year in Seattle. Seattle gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 155 days per year. Sunny Charlotte - On average, there are 218 sunny days per year in Charlotte. Charlotte gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 105 days per year. Source: Sperlings Best Places
  9. From today's (11/15/19) Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter - ""News in Brief"" Big park envisioned but … : Architects and developers are making plans for a 220-acre park near NoDa that would be twice as big as Freedom Park. But before you get too excited, it’s on a rail yard owned by Norfolk Southern. Railroads are notoriously difficult to deal with, but there’s some optimism. Organizers are calling it “Queens Park.” (Charlotte Ledger) "Queens Park, the site’s proposed name, would be the area bordered on the west and east by North Tryon and Brevard streets, then Matheson Avenue and 16th Street to its north and south." "The park, supporters say, would be a way to connect neighborhoods that aren’t accessible to one another today, such as the North Tryon corridor and Optimist Park. A park is also an egalitarian use of the space — free for all to use. And the park could one day provide a vast staging ground to host major events, such as concerts or an NFL draft." “We see this as a great opportunity to introduce more green space, stitch the community back together in this particular area, and also plan for the future growth of Charlotte in that direction,” says Rugel Chiriboga, a principal with Odell Architects." (Charlotte Agenda) "One major potential hangup? The land belongs to Norfolk Southern. The group is already considering ways around that, though." ... "The city did work with Norfolk Southern to expand its intermodal facility at Charlotte’s airport in 2012. The intermodal is where shipping containers transported by train are transferred to truck trailers to be driven elsewhere throughout the region." (Charlotte Agenda) Norfolk Southern could move the bulk of its functions currently handled at the rail yard out to that intermodal area, according to Kuhn and others pushing for the park. At least two main commuter lines would remain at the park, Kuhn says. But there are ways to integrate them into the area’s design." ... "Shannon Binns, CEO of Sustain Charlotte, has been advising Friends of Queen Park. Binns says since the rail yard is privately owned, the city and county could work on some sort of land swap with Norfolk Southern to turn it into public space." ... "It is hard to imagine the idea for a central park going very far unless Norfolk Southern gives up control of that land, or sells it." (Charlotte Agenda) "Odell is the local architecture and engineering firm behind a number of high-profile local projects, including the Knights Stadium uptown and the old Coliseum on Tyvola Road. It was also former mayor Harvey Gantt’s first employer when he moved to Charlotte in the 1960s." "Odell has worked with developer Tony Kuhn of the Flywheel Group to determine roughly how the park would be laid out." "Odell and Kuhn envision vast stretches of trees, gardens, and pathways. Like other urban parks, Queens Park could include a music venue and art installations. In one rendering, Odell includes a massive metallic globe. Not unlike Chicago’s Bean statue — an identifiable meetup spot, seemingly made for Instagram." “Why can’t we do exactly what all these other cities are doing?” says Todd Serdula of the Flywheel Group." (Charlotte Agenda) "Also working on the effort is Eric Spengler, a local attorney with Spengler & Agans, PLLC, who recently formed a nonprofit called Friends of Queens Park LLC." "With the rapid redevelopment throughout North End, along the light-rail corridor especially, developers and city officials need to be more mindful about creating green space, Spengler says." "It’s going to take some heavy lifting and some investment, but that’s the whole point,” Spengler says." “Without that type of bold action you’re just going to have another South End, which is great, but it could be even better.” (Charlotte Agenda) Rendering of Queens Park in North End. Courtesy of Odell Associates Queens Park would be the area bordered on the west and east by North Tryon and Brevard streets, then Matheson Avenue and 16th Street to its north and south. (Photo Credit - Logan Cyrus - Charlotte Agenda) Links: https://charlotteledger.substack.com/arlotteagenda.com/186266/220-acre-version-of-new-york-citys-central-park-proposed-for-a-longstanding-north-charlotte-rail-yard/ (Charlotte Agenda) https://charlotteledger.substack.com/ (Charlotte Ledger)
  10. From today's (11/15/19) Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter - "New Steele Creek YMCA Identifies Itself" 'The YMCA of Greater Charlotte on Thursday announced it’s raising money to build a $9M, 14,000 s.f. facility on Highway 160, south of Sledge Road, in the Steele Creek area. It will be called the Gill Family YMCA, named after CPI Security founder Ken Gill and his wife, Malinda. The Y will include “group exercise studio(s), cycling studio, wellness center, Y Kids drop-in childcare facility, family fitness lawn, sports fields, locker rooms, and an outdoor aquatic center, which will feature a lap pool, splash park and wade pool.” Link: https://charlotteledger.substack.com/
  11. From today's(11/12/19) Charlotte Business Journal - "DC real estate developer enters market with massive office building renovation near Park Road" by Ashley Fahey (subscriber paywall) Excerpt: "A Washington, D.C., commercial real estate firm that's been eyeing the Charlotte market for years is making its debut locally with a multi-million-dollar office renovation project near Park Road. Akridge and Charlotte-based Levine Properties are in a joint venture to overhaul the nine-story, 145,000-square-foot office building at 4701 Hedgemore Drive. ... "Starting early next year, the companies will spend about 14 months and somewhere around $30 million renovating the entire building, which dates back to the early 1980s, and adding amenities before bringing it back to market for lease in the first half of 2021." ... "Joe Svatos, Senior VP of acquisitions for Ackridge, said "from the fifth floor and up, you have a spectacular view of the Uptown skyline, so we’ll take advantage of that," adding the building will have floor-to-ceiling glass and new amenities like a coffee bar, an athletic facility, a conference center and a parking ratio of at least 4 spaces per 1,000 square feet. Levine said the partners expect to invest about $225 per square foot on the project, or a little more than $32 million." ... "The building will be renamed One Montford Park as part of the overhaul." Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2019/11/12/dc-real-estate-developer-enters-market-with.htm (subscriber paywall)
  12. Estimated Homeless Pop. of Major U.S. Cities per the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Charlotte's total est. homeless pop. ranked 34th out of 48 U.S. cities in this survey. City Homeless Pop. Unsheltered Pop. 1. New York City 78,676 3,711 2. Los Angeles 49,955 37,570 3. Seattle 12,112 6,320 4. San Diego 8,576 4,990 5. San Jose 7,254 5,448 6. District of Columbia 6,904 600 7. San Francisco 6,857 4,353 8. Phoenix 6,298 2,618 9. Boston 6,188 163 10. Las Vegas 6,083 3,884 11. Philadelphia 5,788 1,083 12. Oakland 5,496 3,863 13. Chicago 5,450 1,357 14. Denver 5,317 1,308 15. Houston 4,143 1,614 16. Dallas 4,121 1,341 17. Portland 4,019 1,668 18. Sacramento 3,621 2,052 19. Miami 3,516 1,030 20. Atlanta 3,076 740 21. San Antonio 3,066 1,353 22. Minneapolis 3,013 404 23. Baltimore 2,508 546 24. Nashville 2,298 616 25. Austin 2,147 1,014 26. Fresno 2,144 1,681 27. Fort Worth 2,015 678 28. Long Beach 1,873 1,208 29. Columbus 1,807 288 30. Kansas City 1,798 324 31. Jacksonville 1,794 429 32. Detroit 1,769 158 33. Indianapolis 1,682 136 34. Charlotte 1,668 209 35. Colorado Springs 1,551 513 36. Omaha 1,411 64 37. Tucson 1,380 363 38. Albuquerque 1,340 384 39. Memphis 1,226 102 40. New Orleans 1,188 594 41. Oklahoma City 1,183 394 42. Tulsa 1,083 226 43. Raleigh 983 192 44. Louisville 926 153 45. El Paso 892 177 46. Milwaukee 871 161 47. Wichita 573 58 48. Virginia Beach 243 72 Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/10/07/48-major-us-cities-struggling-to-shelter-growing-homeless-population/40242171/
  13. One World Nations Online describes Charlotte this way: "The satellite view shows Charlotte, largest city, a transportation hub, and the seat of Mecklenburg County in North Carolina in the United States. The most unknown major city in the US is located some miles east of the Catawba River in the Piedmont region in the south-central part of North Carolina, about 400 mi (645 km) south west of Washington, DC, and 245 mi (395 km) north east of Atlanta, GA." The Nations Online story includes an interactive Google map of the City of Charlotte and 2 photos - Image: Mate Gary Ward Image: jbarreiros Links: https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/google_map_Charlotte.htm https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/about.html
  14. There were a few hints in yesterday's CBJ story regarding the timing of an MLS expansion to Charlotte. "Panthers owner David Tepper is campaigning to bring an MLS team to town — an effort expected to prod MLS owners to make a decision by the end of this year on whether to put a team here." ... "The next MLS board meeting is December 5 in New York. That could be a logical time to explore additional expansion. MLS could also opt to add Charlotte before that time." " League executives have already said they plan to cap the number of clubs at 30, but they have yet to offer a timetable or expansion cost." ... "Some industry experts have predicted MLS will eventually expand to 32 teams. Tepper seems unwilling to wait, as evidenced by his personal pitch to league executives this summer at their New York headquarters and again in Orlando during All-Star events." ... "Does soccer make sense (in a particular city) and why? That question should be answered soon, along with what’s likely to be a league-record price tag. Record-setting prices are unlikely to scare off Tepper. The $2.275 billion he spent to buy Jerry Richardson’s NFL team in July 2018 set a record for a franchise sale price." ... "Public participation — as in taxpayer money — looks likely." ... "CBJ reported last month that the discussions between City government and Tepper have centered on using 20 acres at the former Eastland mall site for an MLS team headquarters." ... "Council members have said they hope to make a decision on a possible MLS proposal before the next Council takes office. That changeover occurs December 2 with the swearing-in ceremony. Eight of the 11 Council members will be part of the next Council with three newcomers. Mayor Vi Lyles was also re-elected for a second term." "If the current Council is going to make the decision on soccer, it will likely have to do so at its November 25 meeting. Council has a business meeting next week and a zoning session on November 18, leaving November 25 as their final chance. Scheduling a special meeting would be difficult because of the Thanksgiving holiday." Photo - Don Garber, the Commissioner of MLS, met with Carolina Panthers owner, David Tepper, and other executives in August in Charlotte, the Panthers confirmed to CBJ on September 18, 2019. CBJ Links: https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2019/11/07/why-david-tepper-is-likely-to-pay-a-record-300m.html (Subscriber paywall) https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2019/10/16/exclusive-panthers-city-exploring-mls-hq-at.html
  15. From today's (Friday 11/08/2019) Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter - South Park isn't just a Mall anymore - adding walking trails - The Loop Excerpt: "Big changes heading to SouthPark area: - Demolition of Colony apartments starts in weeks - Adding walking trails, possibly new park and theater - Avoiding Eastland’s example: ‘evolve or die’ If you think of SouthPark mostly as a big regional mall, it’s time to change your thinking. There’s a bunch of construction going on around the SouthPark area. In a few years, it will look and feel very different. It will have new hotels, apartments, shops, restaurants and office buildings, sure — but it also could have a new theater and a town center park. And it will have at least part of a three-mile circular pedestrian path completed — like a greenway or the rail trail — that will be known as “The Loop.” Not just the mall: “You can say to your friends, ‘Hey, let’s just go to The Loop, and there will be things going on,” says Hilary Larsen, chairwoman of the SouthPark Association of Neighborhoods, a collection of nearby neighborhood groups. “When you get there, you’ll have ice cream, yoga, cool interactive art. What you really want is it to be some kind of an experience besides ‘Let’s go to the mall.’” Some people don’t like all the construction and new apartments, she says. But it’s inevitable, so the best move for neighbors is to work with developers to make it palatable: “If you want things to be the way they were, then what you are really saying is you want SouthPark to become like Eastland ." Link: https://charlotteledger.substack.com/
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