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MASSIVE Growth in Southwest Charlotte

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I posted this elsewhere but I knew there are some of you that only venture to this

forum, so I wanted to show you guys as well...

I live in Southwest Charlotte, far out in the sprawl. Southwest Charlotte is probably

Charlotte's 'final frontier' in terms of development. While other parts of the city were

booming for the past 20 years, Southwest Charlotte has kept relatively quiet.

Well, no more...

First off, let's map the area we're talking about. The pictures I've taken were all

within current or future (future annexation) Charlotte city limits, but I assure you this

kind of growth extends past Charlotte city limits and well over the border into South

Carolina as well.

The portion of Charlotte we're focusing on. Keep in mind we're about 10-13 miles

outside of Uptown:


The streets I explored:


So, let's start in Steele Creek, a little sleepy rural area in Southwest Charlotte. Here

are some traditional homes you'd find in Steele Creek:



Look at that field. Yes, Southwest Charlotte is VERY undeveloped...but that's quickly

changing. Right across the street from those two homes are some

Latin-American-influenced homes being built:



But that's only the beginning. If we drive a half a minute down the road, you start to

see one of three cookie-cutter developments nearby:



These weren't here five years ago. Moreover, the growth isn't done:


This is only the beginning...

I headed back out to Steele Creek (both a major road and the region's name, not to

confuse you) and right down the block is Huntington Forest. Huntington Forest is a

new development that will be very much like where I live now, in the Crossings. It is

a mix of cookie-cutter single family homes and townhomes. Construction began

recently and already quite a bit is done:


This picture was taken from a future cul-de-sac looking back at some of the

completed streets:


But this project has barely just begun. Look at how much more land awaits




Of course, with all these homes come people. And with people comes demand for

better infrastructure and resources. Nearby Huntington Forest is a brand new middle

school and library:


But right next door, a reminder of what this area was not long ago...


Not far down is South Tryon, being converted from a 2-lane to 4-lane road:


I headed back inbound along Shopton, taking some random sprawl shots of

developments that are so common here that I didn't even bother to remember the

respective developments' names:

Plenty of fields to convert into cookie-cutter housing:


This will be the community pool behind the clubhouse:



Soon enough I came upon a future construction site for Berewick. This one's

a biggie. Here's an exerpt from an article about what Berewick will be:

Pappas Properties signs builders for southwest Charlotte development


Pappas Properties is preparing to start construction by fall of the first houses in a

new 1,050-acre southwest Charlotte community.

What developers call going vertical -- getting the first structures out of the ground --

is the final step in a process that started at Berewick with site preparation in


"Planning, design, engineering, stormwater retention -- all those things take time,"

said Pappas Properties Chief Operating Officer Charles Teal.

"And we also got held up by wet conditions during the winter."

The developer has just signed four "featured" builders -- MI Homes, Shea Homes,

MDC Homes and KB Home -- to construct housing priced from $150,000 to $300,000

in four Scottish-themed villages at Berewick.

Southwest Mecklenburg has emerged over the past five years as one of the county's

most active development areas.

Utility lines are being extended to the area, and Interstate 485, a 67-mile loop to be

completed around the county by 2010, is opening more land for development.

Pappas is busy building roads off Shopton Road West into Berewick, located roughly

between I-485 and Lake Wylie.

As access improves to that initial phase in the fall, Teal said, home builders will start

the first of about 1,300 planned units, including some townhomes. The first

model homes should be ready by late fall, he said.

The project will include a 237-acre town center, zoned for 1.2 million square feet

of corporate and business park office space, 250,000 square feet of retail and 750

apartments, townhomes or condominiums.

Amazing the size of some of these developments. Well, this is what it looks like right now:



Not too far away are other signs of the area's continued growth, including Steele

Creek Place (a future office park), and of course good ol' I-485:



But then again, all you have to do is look across the street, and there is a reminder

of small-town North Carolina...a firehouse, general store, and old home:


Before turning off Shopton onto South Tryon, there were a few more developments

still to check out. The first is a gated luxury apartment-home complex, so new the

paint is probably still wet:


and across the street is another apartment development. I have to admit, I kinda

like the design of these:


and, oh yeah, they're still under construction too:


A cool new police and fire training academy is also nearby:


But before we leave the Shopton area, I've saved the best (err, worst) for last. ;)

To truly give you a sense of the sprawl developing out here, I found yet another

development, climbed up a hill, and made a sprawling pano for you all:


So we're finally done with Shopton. Let's head down South Tryon to Arrowood. First

stop: Time Warner

Here is Time Warner's current operations center, located in Crescent Ridge One:


Here is their new building, under construction:


Rendering of the completed Time Warner building:


But, as always, there's more. There are actually five more Crescent Ridge

buildings planned for this site. Crescent Ridge Two is currently in the works:


Further down Arrowood is Forest Park, where EquiFirst plans to build another 60,000

square foot building. They already have two 60,000 square foot buildings in the

office park, and the second one just opened last year. But it's time to build again...

EquiFirst's current two buildings, totaling 120,000 square feet (connected by a



Adjacent site where third building will be constructed:


Rendering of future EquiFirst building:


Very quickly, on the way back, here is some continuing development at Whitehall.

Whitehall is actually a massive development, but right now there is not much being

constructed. Here are some medical buildings being built on Arrowood behind the

Wal-Mart at I-485:


This whole South Tryon-Interstate 485 area has boomed, but I really didn't want to

waste my time taking too many pictures of it. It's an annoying interstate exit

development, complete with Wal-Mart, Lowe's Bi-Lo (supermarket), Chic-Fil-A,

Arby's, ABC Liquor, IHOP, Qdoba's (Mexican), Blockbuster, Chili's, Bellacino's, etc,

etc, etc...

The result of this fast-growing, poorly-planned development is just what you'd

expect, gridlock traffic:


So we move on, but not very far down the road, to perhaps the largest development

of them all...AYRSLEY. (www.ayrsley.com).

This is an example of stereotypical 'smart growth' design. It incorporates residential

and commercial components into an environment that attempts to be both auto- and


The entire town of Ayrsley will include 1.3 million square feet of office space, 277,000

square feet of retail, 65,000 square feet of entertainment (including a movie

theater), three hotels with 425 rooms combined, and over 1600 residential units.

Right now only three buildings have been erected, with a fourth just now being


Ayrsley as seen from South Tryon:



The just-opened YMCA:


The Arcade Building:


Construction site for the majority of Ayrsley:


I didn't see any reason not to wander out to the construction site...



From there, looking back at the completed portion of Ayrsley:


These maps will put Ayrsley into perspective. The first map is the master plan:


Now, I've colored the completed three buildings blue, and the Arcade Building (under

construction) is striped blue:


This is a big, BIG development.

Just across South Tryon from Ayrsley is a strip mall (one of many that have popped

up like weeds throughout Southwest Charlotte), but I can't help but notice how

similar the design is to Ayrsley. Technically that strip mall is a part of Whitehall



To give you an idea of how far out we are, and yet we're STILL in Charlotte city

limits, take a look from this point on South Tryon, looking back at the Charlotte



Can you see it? The vague silhouettes of the skyline towers can barely be seen on

the horizon just to the left of the road, just above a 'one-way' sign.

So, yes, Charlotte, specifically Southwest Charlotte is now booming. Is it good? Is it

bad? Well, I suppose that's a matter of opinion and perspective. But I just thought

you guys would like to see a lesser-seen side of Charlotte.

Hope you all enjoyed.

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Man that is pretty nasty looking! Thankfully we don't have that kind of development at the lake anymore, but that is because it is not under Charlotte's control. I thought that Charlotte put an end to culdesac neighborhoods. I don't even care for the arysley either. It looks too much like a strip mall.

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I say it's better Ayrsley than what could have been. They'll build it anyway, so you wish for the best type of development, LOL! I had no idea that all of this development was taking place in that part of Charlotte. Take that development and combine it with the CBD, northeast, revitalization of the west, continued development of southeast, east and new development in the northwest and you have a LOT of construction in Charlotte. Not sure how the city keeps up! No wonder our money is tight for funding.

Great tour by the way! I love stuff like this!! Excellent!!

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I guess I missed this thread... Are the pictures still available? Nothing is showing up.

Someone with gobs of bandwidth should offer to host nostyle's excellent site.

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Unfortunately, with the exception of Davidson, the "northern" towns are losing their grip on their efforts to modify the predominate automobile-oriented pattern of development found most places in America. "Interests" determined to undermine these efforts are gaining power and influence. These towns need your help!!!

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I guess I missed this thread... Are the pictures still available? Nothing is showing up.

Someone with gobs of bandwidth should offer to host nostyle's excellent site.

Sorry. I had to remove these pics to may way for the Charlotte Forum Meet pics.

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It keeps going and going and going...

I was way down Rea Rd. today. I couldn't get a really good shot for all the new development down there. Here's the best I got:


There's a lot of land being pushed around down there too. :blink:

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What's funny is the amount of progress that has been made in these developments since I originally made this thread. The construction at Crescent Ridge is really moving along rapidly. The office building at Ayrsley is pretty much done and new townhomes are already being erected. My own company's new building is probably 80% done right now (it was an empty field when I made this thread). It's almost time for another sprawling update!

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One day this past summer, i decided to take a drive just west of the catawba river. I drove around Mount Holly, Belmont, down 273 of the peninsula, and then looped around in York County to connect back with York Rd to come back home.

My favorite little town was Mount Holly. It has amazing views of the city skyline, and has a cool old time downtown that has potential if/when it is ever discovered. I think all those areas in Gaston have been bitten by the bug that realtors spread when newbies come to this region "west is bad". Most of Gaston that I drove though was run down and undeveloped.

When I came to the SC side of Lake Wylie, i saw how much it was newly developed. And then I hit Buster Boyd Bridge into Meck Cty. I sat still on that road for LITERALLY hours before I had inched enough in traffic to get to the first intersection to try to find back roads out of that mess. I wanted to stab my eyeballs out. I was so put off of the whole experience, I will not go down there again.

The more time that I spend in the sprawly suburbs of charlotte, the more I am convinced that the only way to avoid seriously mind-numbing traffic (both during the commute and what should be pleasurable weekend driving) is to live in the gridish parts of the city intown. Living uptown, I can honestly say that the only time I am trapped in gridlocked traffic is when I have to go the burbs to shop or when I am driving out of charlotte on Friday afternoons.

It strikes me that some city and state leaders typically refer to R3land as the quality of life base. I really just can't figure out what part of distant exurban life is quality.

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