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Uptown Tour - Part 1

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Well, we took so many pics of downtown during our trip that it's going to take me time to put it here, even if I only put the most interesting stuff, so I will divide it in two or three parts (but those who want can go and see the entire album here http:[email protected])

I hope you will enjoy it!

Let's start with an approach of uptown from South End on car

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Getting closer

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The Arena

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On Trade Street

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Construction of Epicenter on Trade

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The Avenue from the Discovery Parking were we parked

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I think Hears, IJL and Avenue really fit well together from this angle! :)

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Street level on the Avenue

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My father didn't like The Avenue and started saying it would have been better with green glass :shok: ...Well, why not? After all 210 Trade will be green. Anyway, here's the Avenue with it blue glass. As some said it in the forum, the balconies on the Avenue doesn't same safe when you see them...

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Trademark, from the Settlers Cemetery

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Trademark construction

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Is that grey wall what you call EFIS?...Because I agree it's kinda ugly : in my opinion Trademark would be better with white instead of that grey.

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However, I find the back of Trademark not so bad, except for the top of the building : something really seems to be missing there.

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Too bad one of the main Wachovia tower is hidden in this pic. But imagine what this view will be within a few years : the sea of parkings lots will no longer be there, Novare project in the foreground with the park and in the background the top of the new Wachovia tower and probably Trump Tower!

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Well, I've just realized I'm not allowed to post more photos in a post, so this is all for today, I'll post the rest tomorrow or after tomorrow!

But first a little words about my last visit to uptown. First, I traveled a little bit around the US so this time I was able to compare a little bit Charlot's downtown with some other's. I went to Denver and San Francisco, and if it will be pointless and stupid to compare Charlotte (or any other city) with San Fran, I think Denver could be a good example : Denver is a little bit bigger than Charlotte, and it seems to me it is an older city. I have the feeling downtown Charlotte can become like Denver's within 10 years.

Before I was always paying attention to the skyscrapers, and Charlotte skyline. Well, I'm another person that think Charlotte's skyline is one of the best I've seen, and the new projects added a little bit to it (but I can't wait to see the impact the new projects will have on it), however the "sea of parking lots" around downtown really struck me more than last time. Probably because I thought the new projects (Arena, Children learning Center, the Park and Courtiside) will add something to that part of town, but it wasn't as much as I was thinking. At least on the other side of Tryon the Novare project and the park will get rid of a good part of those parking lots. Because for the moment, downtown pretty much seems to be made of two main "corridors" : Tryon and Trade. Hopefully new projects will add more density to it.

The other thing I really paid attention this time, since I've seen so many people talking about it in the forum, was street retail/activity. And well, I'm sorry to say it, but I was kinda disappointed. I found uptown a little bit "dead", with less activity and things to do than in other places I have been. For me uptown didn't seem to be a "place to live in", like a "downtown neighborhood" : to me it looked like a pure financial district with some entertainment and shops for the people working on uptown during day or having to stop for a couple of days at downtown Charlotte for business. It was different from what I experienced in Denver : a lot of street activity any time of day (downtown Charlotte only became really busy around noon, when everybody just went outside to grab a lunch), a great range of different kinds of shops on almost every streets (and even on the street level of parking decks). I've seen some retail on Tryon, but a lot seemed "unfriendly" to me : I think the fact of having stores behind dark reflective glass walls, with almost no customers inside, didn't help a lot : I even had the feeling that some parts of gateway village were more active than downtown.

I didn't check the overstreet mall this time though, but a big mall center in downtown will be better (fortunately, that's actually what is going on right now with the Epicenter project!). South College street is really dead, and even the Arena area was dead when I checked there : since I am not a sport fan, I really don't know what can be going on around an Arena when there is no basketball game. But I was hoping on seeing some retail, shops and restaurants. Well, the only shop I saw was empty, the Arena was closed. And when I got closer to the main entrance to check the inside, the only thing I saw at the end of that big entrance was a security guard who saw me and shook his head before starting coming towards me...Don't know if he was saying "no, it's closed"; "no, do not enter" or "no, do not stay there" but by the time he may have got to the door, I was already gone...:mellow:

Anyway, about the street retail I was also kinda disappointed to see very few street level retail around fourth war, in the new apartments that were built (in the area where the Vue will stand) : again, from what I remember, and if I'm not wrong, in Denver I think a lot of those new apartments a few streets form downtown had street retail.

But, I have faith things will change in a good way. With all the condo towers being build a lot of people will be living in uptown and will have to find a way to entertain themselves. The Epicenter is a good first step, and if the One and the Trump Tower are built near the new Wachovia complex and the new museums, it is very probable some activity will emerge in that part of town. Not mentioning Novare's project.

So let's just cross the fingers and see how the place will be within ten years! :)

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Thanks for the photos. Your comments are right on the mark as well. In any case I hope you enjoyed your trip.

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It is always nice to get an outsiders perspective and I would have to say I agree with you as well. Uptown Charlotte still has a long ways to go, but it is heading in the right direction. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your pics.

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Because for the moment, downtown pretty much seems to be made of two main "corridors" : Tryon and Trade. Hopefully new projects will add more density to it.

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I feel like that in itself is a change from 5 years ago. In 2002, the district felt very linear, along Tryon alone.

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I would echo the OP's comments about Uptown's "unfriendly" vibe in regards to retail. A lot of the present development seems to have gone out of it's way to make the little street level retail available now completely oblivious to the sidewalk, dark, and uninviting. I think the pics of the new towers look beautiful but if I am not mistaken the majority have no retails nodes at their base. I am afraid that most will function as self contained silos or islands like Courtside and contribute nothing to encourage a vibrant street life downtown.

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I dont know if I'd say Denver is older. Perhaps more well established though. Does Gatewway Village really seem more active than Tryon? I've not been here very long, but I don't percieve that to be true.

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I dont know if I'd say Denver is older. Perhaps more well established though. Does Gatewway Village really seem more active than Tryon? I've not been here very long, but I don't percieve that to be true.

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Thank you for the comments : glad you enjoyed! I'll post the rest this afternoon.

Concerning Denver I might be wrong, but since its downtown is mostly made of buildings from the 70's/80's I thought the main city boom took place around the 70's : there wasn't a lot going on in downtown Charlotte at that time.

Concerning GV, there is some activity and street retail on Trade Street. But mostly, I think that GV doesn't have that "financial district" look that uptown has.

I feel like that in itself is a change from 5 years ago. In 2002, the district felt very linear, along Tryon alone.

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.....

Concerning GV, there is some activity and street retail on Trade Street. But mostly, I think that GV doesn't have that "financial district" look that uptown has.

2002, the main thing that comes to my mind is the Hearst Tower. I was surprised to see quite a lot of retail (well, mostly restaurants) on the Hearst on college street : that definitely brought some life in nort College Street.

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The simple fact that condo towers are going up means that street life will improve, as you'll have more people coming and going from these condo towers. As a result, retail and other forms of street life will follow. IMO the bigger reason Uptown feels like a financial district is because the heart of Uptown IS a financial district. We think of tryon as "uptown", but it's only a small part of uptown. Key neighborhoods of Uptown, namely First and Third Wards, are disconnected from the center of uptown by giant parking lots. The historic portion of Fourth Ward is connected, but Gateway Village suffers from being disconnected the same way that First and Third wards do. And of course there is virtually no residential in Second Ward right now. Once The neighborhoods of the wards become more attached to the financial district, via continued development, Uptown will feel more like Denver, rather than the 'two corridor' feeling you get right now.

...and if a cap were to be put over 277, South End would begin to blend the same way.

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