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atlrvr

So....I'm moving to Boston

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Next week I leave Charlotte to start a new job at a different company in Boston. This change will take me out of the loop of "inside" knowledge on local projects, so while I will continue to participate here, my comments will be more reactionary, though I will try to limit the number of "That's awesome" and "Looks great" replies.

Before I leave, I wanted to share an honest critique of my hometown, both positive and negative, and perhaps at the end I'll make a few predicitions for A2.

Charlotte is and likely will continue to be the second most important city in the "New South" behind Atlanta. The city has many competitive advantages over other "peer" cities such as Raleigh, Nashville, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach and Birmingham.

1. The banks here cannot be valued enough. While they may contribute a relatively small share of the total workforce, everything else is tied to their success. Corporate law firms, accountants and the way down to copy stores and bike messengers. Their charitable contributions are almost always the largest corporate donations on every capital campaign project in this city. For this city to continue to thrive, we need to support causes that the banks value, such as arts. In this world where geography is both neglible as a distance but more important as a "place", Charlotte needs to create value in this city for the banks to continue to add high-paying employees.

2. Our airport is the one amenity that is most taken for granted here. We may have gripes about its appearance, but we are blessed to have so much direct connections to all over the country and world. While I think some competition is good, we should be wary of Southwest and other low cost carriers entering the market, because if US Airways dies, that will be a lot more damaging to our economy than a low cost alternative to JFK several times a day.

3. Our planning department is beginning to make strides in encouraging pedestrian-minded developments, but we are still a LONG way from having acceptable zoning policies in this city. This city seems to have given up on controlling growth. Sure we are limiting some cul-de-sacs and requiring additional connections/stub streets, but these policies can't eliminate the major component of non-sustainable suburband sprawl which is the separation of land-uses.

I find it ridiculous that a large 800+ community will be built on Archdale (at the former Celanese site) and the zoning specifically prohibits any sort of retail or commercial buildings on the 100 acre site. One million connections to Archdale won't make a bit of difference if all 800+ households have to use Archdale to go to work, school, the store, church, strip club, etc. The only way we will start seeing a reduction in traffic is to allow the land uses that generate high-traffic volumes to be be built adjacent to origin of most trip.....residences.

Additionally, the planning department seems to be focused on the 5 future transit lines. While they are proactive in these area in creating smart urban design, the remaining 90% of the county is allowed to mutate into some suburban nightmare. We should have a transit plan that looks past 2025, with a wishlist....I'd prefer an extensive streetcar system. We should then encourage land-use regulations consistent with that future plan. We should allow density in these additional corridors with the stipulation that the supportive infrastructure (wide sidewalks, transit stop pads, etc) be installed now. These corridors should be logical enough that it makes fiscal sense to reroute buses their now, and as demand builds, we convert to a more long-term cost-effective technology (streetcar).

If we don't plan now, it will be much harder to increase density in corridors that make "transit sense" in the future.

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I saw your post a few weeks ago in the Boston forum and both I and Neo were a bit shocked by your plans to move but hope you will do well in your new digs. Please feel free to help us out in the Boston section of UP if you feel like it as that sub-forum needs a shot in the arm.

Good Luck and please don't be a stranger. I've enjoyed our discussions in the Charlotte forum. Your participation there has helped to make that forum the success that it is.

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This is sad news indeed. Your insight will certainly be missed. I hope you find nothing but success and happiness in Boston... and if you get the itch for a first-hand progress update on the QC, well there are 10 daily nonstop flights from BOS to CLT. Best of luck! :thumbsup:

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I wish you much success atlrvr. I enjoy your insight and "inside" knowledge.

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4. Charlotteans seem to be far less interested in investing in their city than they were 10 years ago. At that time, there was much more public support for capital investments such as public transit, arenas, arts packages, baseball etc. We were eager then to add as many amenities as we could. While I don't want to debate the fiscal soundness of all the different public investments, I believe that many more poeple are buying into the John Locke rhetoric.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, the fact is, Charlotte is a growing city, and will likely continue to grow. As Charlotte grows, there are certain aspects a city of its size SHOULD have. We are well behind most comparable size older cities in regards to amenities, and while we obviously can't afford to "do everything at once", we do need to realize that in today's era of transience, thier are certain expectation that people have of a place, and if those expectation aren't met, a person will simply move.

5. We are not a World Class City, but we are closer than we were 25 years ago, but not as close as wel will be in 25 more years.

Being a WCC has become so cliche that it is hard to determine what is and is not "world class". Here's a simple answer, to be world class, a city should be taught in Geography classes all over the world. Bank of America may be a world class bank, but that doesn't make Charlotte world class.

There is hope though, for those that care. Charlotte is becoming a place with an identity. The rise of the banks is part of that. US Airways could become part of that, expecially if the Star Alliance creates a southern US hub here. NASCAR is part of it, and though I don't care for it, we should embrace it. But more than these items, we should worry about connecting with people, because it is people's impression of a place that will elevate our status........look at Atlanta, it has lots of "things", but without the Olympics, I would laugh at any suggestion that it could be "world class".

Charlotte needs more festivals. It needs a greater variety of cultures to locate here. It needs more pedestrian retail....things that bring people into contact while experiencing the city. Open air markets, inviting plazas....these are far more important that skyscrapers (though they are nice too).

________________________________________________________

As a city, I love Charlotte, but I've gotten the sense lately that many are becoming complacent. There are lots of cities that are envious of Charlotte and would love to take its position in the pecking order or southern cities. Nashville has more urban growth than most know, and have "won" corporate HQs that perhaps could have gone to Charlotte including Lousiana & Pacific and Nissan North America.

Raleigh is finally gaining some momentum in terms of urban development. They are still landing huge tech companies there and RBC Centura, which could have just as easily relocated its HQ to Charlotte.

While confidence is important, the city should be aware that complacency and smugness was an attitude that was common less than 100 years ago throughout the "Rust Belt".

__________________________________________________________

A few parting predicitions.

By 2010, there will be 22 new high-rises (over 12 stories) either completed or under construction.

The Charlotte CSA will surpass 2.5M in 2012. At this point, growth will quickly accelerate in both terms of business and population, with the CSA suprassing 3M by 2018.

The light-rail line will be a success, and will carry 13,000 people a day by 2010, but their will be siginificant delays with all other lines, except the street-car line, which will open between JCSU and Presby in 2010. The other lines will get built, but construction won't begin until 2010 on the North line, and the NE extension and other lines won't begin until 2013.

First Citizen's bank will accelerate growth, and continue its expansion into Atlanta...it will become an attractive target to a large western or mid-western bank and will be bough. The East Coast HQ will be located in Charlotte.

There will be a Uptown condo bust in late 2008 or early 2009. Inventories will go way up and demand will actually decrease slightly. It will be 2012 before the condo market recovers and plans for new towers are considered. The exception to all of this is Novare, who will remain active in Charlotte, completing a new tower every 2 years or so.

Finally, the population of Uptown in 2010 will be 16,000.

The population will reach 20,000 in 2015 and 30,000 in 2020. Uptown will reach near peak population of 35,000 in 2026, when the last of the surface lots are developed. Uptown employment will peak at 90,000 around that same time.

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I am quite jealous. Boston is an awesome town. You will love it. Except for those winters :ph34r: Good Luck!

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Wish you nothing but the best, atlrvr.

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All the best and good luck with your new job. Enjoy Boston.

Great overview of Charlotte btw, the predictions are pretty good too.

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The Charlotte forum will never be the same. You added so much and did it with class, maturity, and a wealth of knowledge. Hope everything goes well for you in Boston, and enjoy the winters :P

Oh, and i'll try to keep you updated on everything with pics...

Mo

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Good luck atlrvr! It was great having your insight in the Charlotte forum and I'm sure your presence will be welcomed in the Boston forum should you choose! Thanks for help shaping the future Charlotte with your comments here. Hopefully the right people will read what you have written and make the necessary changes to ensure the future of this great city.

:thumbsup:

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I moved to MA for a year and a half and even to this day when I tell people I moved there they assume I meant Boston. I have to tell them no, I lived in a small town about 70 miles west of there. The thing about MA is that most people think Boston is basically the whole state lol. Good luck, have fun :)

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Good luck Atlrvr, you will be greatly missed. Just please assure me you will not become a Red Sux fan!!! :(

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Thank you everyone for your kind farewells......have no fear though, I'm renting my house in Charlotte in preparation for my eventual return. I love this city too much to leave forever....

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Thank you everyone for your kind farewells......have no fear though, I'm renting my house in Charlotte in preparation for my eventual return. I love this city too much to leave forever....

We will miss you altvr. Best of luck and don't forget us!

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Goddamit you will be missed.

Have fun in Boston and check back in with us every now and then. I LOVE Boston and think it would be a great place to live....

In summer.

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atlrvr, thanks for everything! Please make sure that your new Boston home provides enough space for a modern architecture-loving, left-leaning, beer drinking, and handsome 40ish college student who might be visiting now and then. I know of no one who fits that descripton, but one should always be prepared!

All the best of luck to you and your family. You will be missed, my friend!

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Thank you everyone for your kind farewells......have no fear though, I'm renting my house in Charlotte in preparation for my eventual return. I love this city too much to leave forever....

i was going to ask you that.... in all your predictions of charlotte... when do you predict you'll return? anyways, i do wish you the best... as boston will only be adding to their stock of sharp thinkers.

so whos going to fill the information gap when you leave.

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Good Luck in Boston man. Your insight will be sorely missed around here. I'm sure you'll love Boston and will come back full of ideas for Charlotte one day and, if you ever need a break from the winters, you can always come back to Charlotte to check out the progress down here.

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If I had to make a guess, I'm thinking 6 years in Boston will be about right......we'll be back for Christmas to thaw out. :)

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Well, I guess this is good bye for a while. (or at least see ya' later). You have been a great comrad and have shared a wealth of information, that will be sorely missed. I am optomistic about your new role and especially your family's future as you embark on another leg of your journey in this little thing we call life.

I know Charlotte will be losing a tremendous person, and Boston will be receiving one. However, I am hopeful for your eventual return and your family's continued success in Bean Town. I am sure that the cradle of the US will embrace your ideas and your knowledge and you will flourish in your newly adopted city.

I hope that you will still continue to post and know that we are just a mouse click away. UrbanPlanet members are a family to me, and you are as close as a brother in cyberspace. The different personalites make this site a wonderful sounding board to colaborate and share in ideas, whether good or bad, and, as such, makes UP unique in our quest for developing our Urban Centers into a more inviting and enjoyable living entity. Your insights are certainly welcome anytime and I hope that from time to time you can let us know how things are going.

For now, I will simply leave with a Good-bye, and good luck!

Godspeed

A2

:cry:

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