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nmcheese

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About nmcheese

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  1. Eastland's declining health has already been well discussed in this thread, but the WSJ just picked it as a poster child for the retail downturn and dying malls: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124294047987244803.html It's more of a local-to-the-neighborhood thing rather than a city or even nationwide thing, but it deserved a mention.
  2. Having recently relocated to the other coast - there have been a few common themes in people's perception of Charlotte when I mention it as my previous place of residence. Granted the sample size is a few dozen tech-sector people in Seattle - not exactly representative of the whole population. - Very few people have been to Charlotte or know anyone that has - not exactly a tourist destination. - Basketball is the most commonly associated sport - though Tarheels, not the Bobcats - The food people wonder if the whole barbecue thing lives up to the hype (if you get it at the right place) - NASCAR has some followers even out here. - People have identified it as 'the other place in the nation where the real estate market doesn't suck' - which is good, I suppose. (house hasn't sold yet though)
  3. More infill along Park Rd: 1) Signs have been up for a couple weeks on a small infill project along Park Rd at the Park South triangle. - 13 townhome units where previously there had been 3 SFH sites. - http://www.thehamptonsatparksouth.com 2) Just north of the Park/Sharon intersection there are two SFH lots that are being redeveloped into ~10 unit new stub-street developments. No listed websites yet. I'm not sure how the developers arrived at this [low] level of density - it seems that building more structures like the LNR building at Tyvola/Fairview would bring the density required to have a more livable streetscape for that section of Park Rd rather than just more cars per day along that stretch. Since the Tyvola down to Sharon Rd. West intersection stretch is all residential, lining Park Rd. with mixed use would serve an existing population as well imo. Not to mention that north of Fairview the development of the Pfeiffer site and the refreshing of the run down apartments near Selwyn are helping build a viably dense corridor already.
  4. fyi - there's a grand opening event for the Design Within Reach tonight (Thursday) with food from the new M5 Mediterranean Grill next door
  5. Nice rendering - a huge improvement over what's there - however it would block my cube's view of downtown I'll get over it though - that block needs all the help it can get. From that rendering there only appears to be street level shops on Graham - it's interesting they'd shift the focus that way vs. Trade.
  6. ^ I concur- Roosters is good, even for what they charge. Went there with the significant other last week and we shared the following: The pork shoulder BBQ, though in an odd form factor (sliced as opposed to pulled) was very tasty - good tangy sauce as well. Spinach gnocchi were presented well and flavorful, though the cheese/cream sauce was a bit heavier than I would pair with it - halved cherry tomatoes, olive oil, and a generous shaving of reggiano are all any gnocchi need imo (see Il Posto a block away for proper gnocchi) The sauteed corn appetizer wasn't as caramelized as I was hoping for, but I can see the logic - most people would consider it 'burnt' the way I'd like it - still, the texture was good (the kernels kept their pop) and the corn fresh tasting and sweet. Dessert - peanut butter chocolate pie - very rich, very dense slice of pie - definitely enough for two people. They really need to expand the patio seating - we were able to get one of the 3 outside tables - watching the sun set over the mall/new apartments was a relaxing way to spend an hour or so eating dinner.
  7. The plan does appear to be somewhat cookie cutter in the current 'tear down, rebuild as strip-mall-with-condos' theme of suburban development, and I'm not sure that would work for that part of town. There is already a large existing housing stock in the mile surrounding the mall site, as well as (rather run down) retail along Central and Sharon Amity. This would be a good tie-in to the Middle Ring neighborhood discussion we had in a different thread. Central and Sharon Amity roads are important city streets and should be treated as such and planned around. Instead of redeveloping the lot into an island of parks and condos the streets should be the main focus. Make them more pedestrian friendly (wide sidewalks, plan ahead for the Central Ave. streetcar even), focus all the restaurants/retail along the streets (with condos above them of course) - make the lot a part of the city infrastructure, not leaving it to stand alone in that neighborhood. As for the 'back' of the property - tie it into the existing neighborhoods - small single family homes, townhomes, whatever, as long as the main focus of the development is improving the street corridors. This could serve as an example for how Central Ave should develop south of Midwood - Dense along the street, denser individual residential units behind the main streets (anything within walking distance), fading back to single family homes in the existing neighborhood.
  8. ^ Check out the Food Bazaar or Mega Food Bazaar and the different Asian specialty grocers around town for a different spin on shopping for food - prices that range from cheaper than HT to really-surprisingly-cheap - along with a more diverse selection of produce (Using the aisle-o-peppers: fresh, dried, roasted you name it at the Food Bazaar stores as an example) - even though they're typically not located in the most convenient neighborhoods it's worth the short drive sometimes to find interesting food and save some cash. For daily groceries I tend to walk to the local HT, but when it comes time to really cook I'll be driving to the Asian mall on N. Tryon Anyone have definite dates on when the Trader Joe's will be opening? I'm looking forward to those.
  9. I hope Bombay Cuisine survives into the new food format for that building - that's one of my once a week lunch spots - in any case, this is a positive development that highlights what I think is one of the main problems with downtown Charlotte - narrow sidewalks that don't accommodate real-city foot traffic nor outdoor seating for a cafe/restaurant.
  10. I'll start with a few suggestions for my side of town: the South Charlotte wedge. Impacted Roads: Sharon, Park, South Blvd Problem: More dense growth in the South Park area, further southern expansion of the city out into Ballentyne - and a lot of these residents work downtown. Observations: During various commutes through this area there are some major intersection delays: Park/Fairview, Sharon/Fairview, South/East, South/Arrowood (on the Arrowood side). Also while construction is temporary, currently South Blvd is impacted by the light rail work and Park Road is being resurfaced, adding to the slowdowns and traffic anomalies. Analysis: It appears that these roads were designed for the capacity of the existing neighborhoods in that part of town... no one ever envisioned people would live as far out as Ballentyne and use these roads to commute... as such they're a overworked. The major problem for this wedge of town is that neither South Park nor Ballentyne are included in mass transit plans. While Ballentynites could drive to the southern end of the light rail and take it into town, my initial opinion is that won't happen very often. Optimistic thinking would place a subway line from downtown with stations under East Blvd, Park Rd Shopping Center, South Park, Somewhere along 51 and then Ballenyne - since property values preclude making another surface line out that way. However in the near term, pehaps some creative light timing: for instance effectively make South, Park, Providence roads limited access during peak hours using traffic lights - circulator/cross streets get one minute out of every 10 for instance - might go a long way to decreasing the accordion effect backups in place currently. Are there any other examples of using lights to turn the spoke streets (in hub/spoke city layouts) into limited access arteries during peak hours? Would that actually help solve the problem? I didn't really address the light rail here because I think it will do more to influence future development patterns than to address existing problems, namely the South Park and Ballentyne residential/commercial hubs.
  11. Not to hate on this project, as it does look very impressive, but do the living/shopping demographics not really match up to anyone else - how many people that can afford $350psf - $450psf (at over 1000 ft^2) regularly shop at Marshalls? I tend to associate Marshalls with my under $100psf lifestyle
  12. I think the only non-meat things on the menu are the salads, and even those are optioned with chicken/steak... the menu is rather limited and very campy-sounding, but the food was good overall, and they have Trummer Pils on tap, which makes everything better. Other new restaurants: Beantown Tavern out in downtown Matthews by the library - yes, it's waaay out there, but it's in the walkable 4 blocks of Matthews, and the food is very good - esp. the crab cakes imo.
  13. Dessert Options: Take out for home enjoyment: Kalinka Ukranian Market - On Park Road Extension by the Park/51 intersection - lots of interesting pastries/cookies/chocolates, in addition to standard european market fare. Dine in: yes, it's in the Middle of Nowhere compared to downtown - but the Waldhorn (way out south blvd in Pineville) has some of the best desserts in the area, imo. Closer to town: Dolce Gelato near the Harris Teeter on East Blvd - they have a gelato counter, and now a dining room area in back. Chain but still good: Manzetti's (related to California Dreamin) at Shops on the Park by South Park has fresh NY cheesecake imported daily - it's dense and ceamy - good stuff.
  14. nope - i'd probably defer to Greek Isles for that - Little Village is pretty directly a sandwich/pita place
  15. I'm also surprised no one has promoted Little Village Grill It's a very inexpensive quick sandwich/pita grill in Gateway Village - 700 Block of W. Trade. Great gyros - pretty good grilled chicken subs too. They're also in the running for best fries in Charlotte imo.
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