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Phillydog

Charlotte's Hot but...

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I post this after a week of visitors coming in and leaving, coming in and leaving...4 different sets of friends, all first-timers to NC came from Boston, SF, Los Angeles, and Chicago. They all - independent of one another but consistently - had 2 comments about Charlotte...

1.) They expected a more provincial, some said "rural", gray, uninspired Southern Sunbelt town. They agreed that Charlotte isn't what they expected...it was bigger, more urban, more sophisticated, more interesting than they expected. I told them that I thought that until recently, their expections were probably right, but that in just the past couple of years, Charlotte seems to have stepped into high gear and is changing more rapidly than we close to the scene are aware?

2.) They had all heard that "Charlotte was one of the 'hottest cities' on the East Coast" meaning they all knew Charlotte was growing fast, but that what they saw amazed them. They couldn't believe how much of the city was under construction... None of them knew Charlotte had a light rail line under construction. They wondered if the city could continue at what my buddies from Boston called "break neck speed" without having a collapse.

What do you think? Is Charlotte really climbing in the ranks of US cities? Is Charlotte building too much? Or, are we genuinely witnesses to the emergence of a new, great, US city?

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:rofl: I thought you meant the heat, which it was pretty hot today.

Anyway, I think we can, for some time, and I think we'll see even more development once the South LRT is complete, and the next line is u/c.

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My cousin and her (then) fiance made similar comments when they came to visit from Denver a couple years ago. Not that there nearly as much construction as there is now, but they didn't realize Charlotte was as big as it was. They really liked it and my cousin now visits about 3-4X per year.

I'm not sure what "collapse" your friend was referring to, but I think any sort of hiccup will come simply because infrastructure can't keep up with the growth. I don't think there's any fear of near economic collapse like Pittsburgh experienced recently.

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^Right. Not really a collapse, but at some point the city will probably take a breather while it adjusts to the new growth.

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Anyone that thinks Charlotte is building too fast or too much should visit Phoenix or Las Vegas. In fact, even though it's more of an economy of scale type thing, anytime I think Charlotte is really growing I just go to Atlanta. That's a whole different level than Charlotte.

Not to discount Charlotte's growth, we're growing at a rate faster than I've ever seen. More importantly, we're urbanizing, truly urbanizing for the first time, so I think that creates even more of a vibe than similar growing cities.

Still, I hardly think we're unique. You could make the argument that cities like Orlando and Nashville are experiencing similar growth.

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Hot is Hot. In twenty years Charlotte is expected to grow into the tenth largest city in the US. We currently stand at 20th. With a great mass transit plan, great coroporate strength, and listed as one of the largest distrubution centers in the US, I believe Charlotte will only continue to shine. Even if we do have a massive downdraft in the economy, the local scene here is much better prepeared to deal with it. I think that Charlotte will definately join in the ranks of the Top Tiered cities in the next two decades. It is definately going to happen.

Speaking of growth, this topic ties in real nicely to the "Charlotte Now" that was on least night. All they were speaking about was Growth and Mass Transit. To anyone who caught it, it was a supurb show regarding where we are headed. Pat Mumford and a guy from the CDOT were the guest speakers, along with the Host Mike Collins.

One thing that was continually brought up during the show, is that in the next twenty years Charlotte will add about 400,000 people JUST IN THE CITY ! That is bascally like adding another Cincinatti to the city proper.

We will certainly be listed in the Top Ten cities in Population. Many of our bordering counties are already listed in the Top 20 fastest growing in the US. Union at latest count was the 16th fastest Growing in the Country, and of course we all know how Mecklenburg is fairing.

All in all, Charlotte's growth has really just begun.

A2

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It is a lot of fun to live in a city that is a hive of new construction and exciting projects. I think city/county leaders are aware of the perils of growth and are trying their best to avoid a repeat of Atlanta. There are things to do in Charlotte, but honestly,I think it can still be a bit boring. When I get this feeling I drive by exciting new construction sites and tell myself that if I can just hold on for a few more years it will be so worth it :thumbsup: From an arts standpoint and acceptance of diversity, Charlotte has a very long way to go. Most "hot" cities pride themselves on their inclusiveness. Charlotte is severly lacking such a mindset which makes it not hot or cool in this specific category :P

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Anyone that thinks Charlotte is building too fast or too much should visit Phoenix or Las Vegas. In fact, even though it's more of an economy of scale type thing, anytime I think Charlotte is really growing I just go to Atlanta. That's a whole different level than Charlotte.

Not to discount Charlotte's growth, we're growing at a rate faster than I've ever seen. More importantly, we're urbanizing, truly urbanizing for the first time, so I think that creates even more of a vibe than similar growing cities.

Still, I hardly think we're unique. You could make the argument that cities like Orlando and Nashville are experiencing similar growth.

Interesting thread. I have to agree with rockhilljames though. The growth that's taking place in cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, and a few others is unbelievable. Charlotte is experiencing a level of activity that is happening in a number of cities throughout the country such as Tampa, Orlando, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, etc...

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There are different types of growth: Natural growth from having more births than deaths, growth from immigration of the international variety, and most importantly, at least when discussing the scale of new development, INTERNAL MIGRATION. Immigrants usually can't afford new developments as they are generally poor so I doubt they contribute very much to more office buildings going up or new subdivisons on the edge of town.

Let's talk about Internal Migration.

Between 2000 - 2005, Charlotte had the 8th highest Internal Migration rate in the nation at 111,000.

For reference sake, here are the cities ahead of Charlotte:

1: Phoenix 300,000

2: Vegas 227,000

3: Tampa 201,000

4: Atlanta 193,000

5: Orlando 190,000

6: Sacramento 141,000

7: Dallas 117,000

Of Note:

11: Raleigh 83,000

20: Nashville 52,000

21: Portland 48,000

38: Myrtle Beach 29,000

70: Minneapolis (10,705)

75: Denver (19,000)

90: San Diego (97,000)

93: Los Angeles (305,000)

95: New York City (1,175,000)

Numbers from http://www.demographia.com/

The trend is that the largest cities in the US, outside the sunbelt, are losing population to the smaller sunbelt cities. They are not losing population overall because they have that natural growth impetus of a large number of new borns, and immigrants from foreign lands seem to be most attracted to the biggest cities.

I extrapolate from this that Charlotte has more development than other cities like Minneapolis and Denver. Babies are not buying new homes and I am assuming that immigrants are not buying brand new condos and homes. Plus these people coming to Charlotte and seven cities ranked before it are cashing out of their homes and bringing that new found wealth to the south. We don't talk about the suburban sprawl in Charlotte on this forum, but many thousands of homes are in the works and many more thousands will be announced before the year in through.

I could be wrong though, I am certainly no master of sociology and the analysis of demographics. Anyways, I prefer Charlotte's growth to that of say Minneapolis and Denver, I prefer people taking money from other places, and investing it into the economy of my city.

----------------

If nothing else, the numbers above show a very strong interest in Charlotte at the national scale. Somehow the word is out that Charlotte is a very desirable place to live. :D

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Let's talk about Internal Migration.

Between 2000 - 2005, Charlotte had the 8th highest Internal Migration rate in the nation at 111,000.

For reference sake, here are the cities ahead of Charlotte:

1: Phoenix 300,000

2: Vegas 227,000

3: Tampa 201,000

4: Atlanta 193,000

5: Orlando 190,000

6: Sacramento 141,000

7: Dallas 117,000

Of Note:

11: Raleigh 83,000

20: Nashville 52,000

21: Portland 48,000

38: Myrtle Beach 29,000

70: Minneapolis (10,705)

75: Denver (19,000)

90: San Diego (97,000)

93: Los Angeles (305,000)

95: New York City (1,175,000)

Numbers from http://www.demographia.com/

What's interesting to note is that of the cities with highest net migration, all of them - except Vegas - are bigger than Charlotte and some, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Dallas - are SIGNIFICANTLY - larger but even these, with the exception of Phoenix and Vegas; and I think this is significant, Atlanta and Dallas ARE NOT attracting significantly MORE people.

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How do those numbers stack up on a percentage basis?

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My cousin and her (then) fiance made similar comments when they came to visit from Denver a couple years ago. Not that there nearly as much construction as there is now, but they didn't realize Charlotte was as big as it was. They really liked it and my cousin now visits about 3-4X per year.

:rofl: I'm from Pennsylvania originally and when my parents first visited, I remember my Mom thinking Charlotte was comparable in size to Harrisburg, PA prior to the visit. She was a little surprised when she got down here finally.

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:rofl: I'm from Pennsylvania originally and when my parents first visited, I remember my Mom thinking Charlotte was comparable in size to Harrisburg, PA prior to the visit. She was a little surprised when she got down here finally.

Easy way to put our growth in perspective -- and this is only visual, not statistical. But from growing up here and recalling what the city used to "look" like: take a drive to Greensboro or Durham -- our skylines were extremely similar 20 - 25 years ago with only a tower or two in the air. Only ten years ago I was heading away to get to a much more urban city. I stayed because I had started a business and it was taking off so leaving was a foolish move at the time. I opened my eyes a couple years later and realized the city I wanted was coming to me and I couldn't be happier I stayed.

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I opened my eyes a couple years later and realized the city I wanted was coming to me and I couldn't be happier I stayed.

If you were to write your memoirs one day, that'd be a great closer. Keep that. :P

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If you were to write your memoirs one day, that'd be a great closer. Keep that. :P

Might use it somewhere :ph34r:

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.......

Not to discount Charlotte's growth, we're growing at a rate faster than I've ever seen. More importantly, we're urbanizing, truly urbanizing for the first time, so I think that creates even more of a vibe than similar growing cities.

Still, I hardly think we're unique. You could make the argument that cities like Orlando and Nashville are experiencing similar growth.

You make the key point here. Charlotte is urbanizing. Unlike the vast majority of metros in the USA, Charlotte's core county, Mecklenburg, is experiencing most of the growth in its metro. Elsewhere, look at any major city and you will find that most of the growth is in the ever expanding suburbs and the core is stagnant. Minneapolis, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, and so forth all have this problem. A lot of Charlotte's success in this area is due to the progressive nature of zoning rights over Mecklenburg county and the fact that we have a stated, published and financed long term plan for growth based on mass transit.

This is the key difference to Charlotte's growth.

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That's exactly right. Look at the where people are moving and you have a pretty clear idea that the region's zoning and design standards are making a difference. One sees this in Charlotte, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville...and even, Belmont!

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One thing that was continually brought up during the show, is that in the next twenty years Charlotte will add about 400,000 people JUST IN THE CITY ! That is bascally like adding another Cincinatti to the city proper.

We will certainly be listed in the Top Ten cities in Population. Many of our bordering counties are already listed in the Top 20 fastest growing in the US. Union at latest count was the 16th fastest Growing in the Country, and of course we all know how Mecklenburg is fairing.

All in all, Charlotte's growth has really just begun.

A2

In terms of the south( I will exclude Texas from this), I think Charlotte will become the 1st city proper with over 1 million people.

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In terms of the south( I will exclude Texas from this), I think Charlotte will become the 1st city proper with over 1 million people.

I'm assuming you're leaving Florida out as well. Jacksonville proper is already 130k (2005 estimates) ahead of Charlotte and growing at a similar (but slower) rate. However, unless somehow the tides turn back to even more suburban (than the current rate) living here, you're probably right about Charlotte.

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Is it being argued that Charlotte is urbanizing simply because Mecklenburg County is getting the lion's share of the metro's growth? I'd argue that Charlotte isn't unlike any other city, particularly in the South, in which the majority of the growth is on the periphery (i.e., University City) as opposed to Uptown and inner ring suburbs.

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Anyone want to speculate as to why Charlotte seems to be shifting to another gear in terms of development?

Of course there is the speculation of new jobs, but so far, nothing has been publically confirmed.

So why is Charlotte getting more development than any other comparable city?

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Because somebody knows something somewhere.

Actually two reasons.

One, Charlotte isn't anywhere near tapped out yet in downtown condo construction. Remember, before the Arlington there were exactly 0 condo towers in Charlotte. It's not like we had a great market to begin with. Now you can add in Courtside, Avenue, and Trademark. That's still only 4. It looks like the Vue, 210 Trade, and the Park will soon join their ranks. That's 7. That's more than 0, but still not tapped out as far as the market goes. If Furman's right, and 10% of the population might want to live in a condo tower, we'd need a capacity of around 100,000 people...and we ain't even close.

The second reason, and my opinion, is that we're about to see one or more relocations/start-ups in the Charlotte area. Obviously people who's job is to know about these sorts of things know about them. Portman and Trump don't build in markets that can't support them.

Read the tea-leaves: Ritz-Carlton, Trump, Portman. We have a very well paid executive field in Charlotte. Something tells me it's about to get bigger.

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I've been wondering the same thing. Sometimes its easy to forget we only have a metro of 1.5-2 million people.

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I think atlrvr is right, the people announcing these biggies very likely know more about something that are coming our way. This isn't simple and pure speculation on their part. These are big, well informed companies that wouldn't take foolish risks without some "reason". I also agree with rhjames -- to me we are really seeing the city catch up to comparble cities downtown populations.

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