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atlrvr

2008 Predictions

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2007 has come to a close, with a slowdown in housing (single-family more-so than multi-family), a record low office vacancy rate, and retail humming along (though nothing dramatic). CATS/Lynx has just opened the the Blue line and is drawing higher than expected ridership. Downtown still doesn't have much in the way of hardgood retail. Several condo towers are just now breaking ground, while for the first time since the condo boom begin, a couple have been scrapped or altered. All in all, 2007 has been the most dynamic year for real estate in Charlotte of the new millenium.

So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind/.

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Atlvr, you bring up many good questions.

My general predictions:

I think Charlotte will continue to do much that 2007 has started- that is attract more interest to our city. We have won a lot of big developments here, like the NASCAR HOF, that could have been built anywhere! There are more and more people moving here from places in the north, for example, and I think the change of old/new suburbia and rising gas prices are going to make people more aware to move closer to where they work- that is more developments in Center City, SouthPark, Ballantyne, and Univ City. Light Rail is going to continue to attract businesses, people, etc. It's proven that Light Rail is a perfect fit for our city (talked to a surveyer who said ridership is insane on the weekends- and would be probally around 15-20,000 riders. CAT's is only looking up now, and I think some alterations, more funding, and a brighter future for LYNX and CATs will take place in 2008, although of course no new lines. I think it will be in the news a lot though.

I don't know what will happen with foreclosures and the housing crisis, but form listening to experts, I hear that it will take a while to recover, and 2008 will be a big year for either it continuing to suffer, or things will try to start turning around, but I don't believe 2008 will be a "good year" for the housing market.

New president: The world has been changing; things are going green, more awareness to enviornmental issues, and it doesn't look like gas is going to get much cheaper. I think more of the general public, especially the middle class, suburban lifestyle will start changing. I predict with the change in govn't that issues will also change, such as greener living, and more funding for transit.

Uptown Developments: Well, obviously the train has secured a lot more value to some empty parcels, amongst other things. This is good for our city. I think more people are coming uptown than ever before, and our city is gaining a new group of people- the train riders. I think this will help with more retail being built and office space. Office space is insane here right now- below 1%, lowest in the nation. More spaces are going to be available with more buildings being built. More companies want to get offices here, and Charlotte is trying to sell to more corporations moving their HQers here. I think our city has a big, growing change ahead, although I couldn't predict how much will actually take place in 2008, vs. maybe the next few years. Cheers to Charlotte, though, 2007 brought a big year for the city as we start to shine on the spotlight. Happy New Years!

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Great topic Atlvr!

I think more office tower projects will be announced. Given our vacancy rate of less than 1%, developers will jump on that. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Fifth/Third Bank announce something (positive) as well given their takeover of First Charter. We probably won't see any new residential towers announced though. We may even see something put on hold or cancelled altogether, possibly Trump.

The Charlotte area will gain a new HQ for a major company at some point in 2008. My thinking is that it won't be in the financial sector as the city tries to deversify itself more.

Charlotte Bobcats Arena finally gets a new name. Most likely Time Warner Arena.

LYNX will continue to exceed expectations and plans for the NE Line will move ahead.

USAirways finally announces plans to further expand internationally and CLT will get some new international routes. I also think that another carrier will further expand their presence here, most likely Airtran or Jetblue will add routes.

There is one request I have... I'd like to see a picture of the Charlotte skyline on 1/1/2008 so we will have something to compare with 1/1/2009. Our skyline will start to look dramatically different by the end of the year.

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Good questions indeed.

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

I have mixed opinions on this. The suburban retail market not withstanding, the quality housing in Charlotte is in the inner ring suburbs and Uptown/SouthEnd condos. So in my mind the issue is can the urban housing market outweigh the collapsing suburban market.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

I think that it will be a mixed bag for SouthEnd too, or the same reasons I stated above. I think most of the proejcts underway now will get going, except perhaps the project at Bland & Tryon. If "C" can get going it will be a huge boost to SouthEnd.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Archdale. Its coming, get ready.

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

I think an office tower or two. Maybe a hotel if we're lucky.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

In a sense, yes. There will have to be a major adjustment of current policies, codes, and ordinances due to the USDG. I would expect to see and hear more about this in 2008.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Oh how I hope so.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

Definitely a new hotel, IMO. If the economy tanks like they say it will, then tourism will probably drop off some. But then when NASCAR opens up and if the Panthers and Bobcats can actually win, it may offset the loss due to the economy.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

All of 4th Ward, 3rd Ward, the Carolina Theater, Old City Hall, the US Post Office, 1 Wachovia, the Episcopal Church, etc.

I don't know what will happen with foreclosures and the housing crisis, but form listening to experts, I hear that it will take a while to recover, and 2008 will be a big year for either it continuing to suffer, or things will try to start turning around, but I don't believe 2008 will be a "good year" for the housing market.

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More density in City Center! More Retail in City Center! More Parks and Sculptures would be nice too!

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Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

We will weather the residential downturn only because the Charlotte market is just now being priced up to it's value. By the time Charlotte begins to overprice the downturn will turn back up. The market has needed correction for some time, so this to me is not really a problem. Yes we will see another high-rise proposal. Yes, some will die. Unless we have a relocation announcement, I don't see One Charlotte making it.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

Yes. Mostly. That area hasn't even BEGUN to tap it's value. Close in to downtown with tons of available/underused land and a connecting street grid with mass transit. Next year is SouthEnd's year. If I were a developer, I'd be quietly assembling land...

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

I don't know. I think we'll see some small apartment developments and more infill, but until SouthEnd starts building out, I don't think so. It's a lot harder to develop towards mass-transit in that area as it is decidedly pedestrian un-friendly.

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

I think we'll see two more announcements. More if there are relocations. Office space downtown is tight, and it's about time that another office spec developer notices Charlotte the way Novare has on the residential side of things.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Whores.

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?

I hope so.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Yes. I think that towards the end of next year is when we see either a re-working of the retail mix in Epicenter, or a new project announced around major retail in downtown.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

I think we'll see new hotels, especially downtown and in the Ballentyne area. Tourism will increase as long as Concord Mills continues to have sales.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

Say goodbye to the old house near Dixie Taverns (the bail bonds house). I have a gut feeling the old car dealership building on Trade is living on borrowed time as well...

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind/.

The first part of the year will be a continuation of what we have now. But Charlotte has some serious 'mo right now. Downtown is beginning to be a self-generating beast, the density is getting so that it is becoming it's own eco-system. When that happens new projects will continue each year...

My one, really, REALLY, bold prediction. Next year we'll see the announcements (retail & added residential) that will tie Midtown, Downtown, and SouthEnd together into one, contiguous 24-hour city in the next 5 to 10 years...and that Levine's land finally becomes something amazing.

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Good questions! See my attempt at answering some of them below.

So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

First off I'll take a stab at a high level look at the US economy/housing market. I think 2008 is going to be rough. The combination of a historically weak dollar and historically high energy prices is likely to lead to more inflationary pressure than we've seen in the past few years. This has the potential to limit the Fed's ability to lower interest rates to keep the economy from slipping into recession. Further, this could prevent a speedy recovery in the currently locked up credit markets. Banks/mortgage companies could find it tough to continue to make loans if they don't have ways to remove them from their balance sheets. In terms of housing, I doubt most housing markets will bottom out, let alone start appreciating again this year. I believe some distressed markets have 20%+ price corrections left to occur over the next 2 to 3 years (check out the Case Shiller city indices at http://www.macromarkets.com/csi_housing/sp_caseshiller.asp).

Will Charlotte weather the residential downturn?

No. Charlotte will not be able to fully weather the housing downturn primarily due to spillover from other markets (people trying to sell houses elsewhere before buying here), and due to difficulty obtaining loans. I think the biggest hit will continue to occur in the jumbo category (houses over $417k) and in cheap housing (talking <$150k, primarily occupied by subprime borrowers). Although Charlotte appreciated overall in 2007, we've actually seen depreciation over the last 2 months in the area. I think this is going to continue and we could see 5% or more depreciation in 2008. Since I personally live uptown, I hate to admit it but ballooning inventory is going to make it a tough market for the next 12-18months. I'm waiting to see if uptown living "catches" enough to absorb a decent chunk of this inventory or not. I'm hopeful that Lynx will encourage more people to visit uptown on a regular basis. The combination of this plus more uptown residents in general should lead to more foot traffic uptown and a more true city feel when you walk around. I think this intangible will attract even more residents.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

Doubtful, although I consider South End to be a very attractive real estate market longterm. I'm not familiar with the funding structures for these projects but I'd imagine that at least some of these will get canned due to the tightening credit markets, and a few more due to builders seeing it as a less attractive investment.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Not in 2008 or in the next few years in my opinion.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Probably development whores unfortunately.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

I really hope so, but my outlook for retail uptown (other than Epicenter) is over a 2 year time horizon.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

Absolutely.

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I will give you my assessment of what the Charlotte market will look like in 2008. I'm not an agent or a mortgage lender. I invest in several properties in Charlotte and been here for 23 years of my life, but other than that, I will try to give you my honest answer as to what I feel we will be facing in Charlotte in 2008.

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

Clear cut answer to your first question is NO. In fact, with the latest housing news out for housing starts in Nov 2007, even though Charlotte, Seattle and Oregon were the only cities to eek out a year-over-year appreciation, I truly believe every city in the nation will be facing another wrath of negative housing news, and Charlotte will also be affected. Yes, Charlotte has weathered the storm in that our market hasn't declined like the others, and we've held prices pretty steady here, but what's going to happen and is already happening is that sellers will start becoming desperate and thus, begin slashing prices on their inventory. The good news out of all this is that Charlotte is only of only a handful of markets that people actually WANT to move to. Many of the homes that are left unsold and the increase in supply is mostly due to A) homeowners unable to sell their current homes in other states, and B) lending has severely tightened up, and it's only going to get worse as A-prime lenders are now affected. Money has dried up and many institutions aren't lending any money now because of the mess they got into with the whole CDO fallout. Honestly, my hope is that Charlotte will continue to hold steady and prices remain level. I think that's the best we will see for year 2008, and if so, then you can say we've successfully weathered the main damage caused with the fallout.

As for your 2nd question about new construction, I think many aren't just momentary blips. Those projects that've already began will get completed, because a developer can't just leave something behind and leave. I do think that many of the proposed sites that are currently in development will get scaled back to a certain degree. In Uptown however, I don't think the scale back will be as dramatic, because the market there is quite dynamic. Yes, there will be an oversupply, in my opinion of course, in the amount of residences created with these condos; but, developers could quickly turn the supply into demand with rentals, which I think will be the route many will go if they can't get their inventory cleared. As for those projects that were slated to happen, I think there's a 70% chance it won't happen, especially in price points that pushes over the jumbo-loan limits. Someone mentioned OneCharlotte, and I tend to agree it won't happen. The smart thing they did was to get the air out first to judge interest, and if there aren't many, they won't do it. That's similar to a "put" strategy many institutional investors use when they invest in equities, and this is the same with real estate. I don't believe the starts in building frenzy will continue for quite some time, maybe never again at the breakneck pace we've seen in the past few golden real estate years.

No highrise condo announcement in Uptown, IMHO. There is going to be 210 Trade, the Avenue (which hasn't sold out), supposedly The Vue, and several others that are in the works. I don't think a developer will take that kind of risk to build another high-rise especially with all the negative news out there and difficulty in money lending these days. As for failures, I'm not high on The Enclave (heard there is only 1 contract signed only), The Vue (said it's supposed to begin, but it's taking them forever...we may see it built, but you can bet it won't be anytime on what they said it will get completed), the Clock Towers (didn't they say it will become a hotel now), and many of the upper end condos spread throughout Charlotte. If they do get built, I really believe there will be a dramatic scale back or a phase system where the developer will build to suit, which is quite common these days.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

I also agree that these will get built, but the time frame of completion will get pushed back. I attribute this not because of developers NOT wanting to build, but more because of the capital required and the difficulty in getting the money from lenders today. One difference in the real estate market today is that the RENTAL market benefit from this type of atmosphere. Since money is tight and difficult to get these days, we've seen many that can't purchase homes and thus, have to rent for the time being until things improve. These days, "stated income" loan programs, 0-down loans, teaser rate loan programs are just about non-existant. They are still available, but you better either have a perfect clean record, a sizable down payment (10-20% min.), a proven income statement, and be ready to pay some hefty closing costs for these programs as lenders have increased rates and fees on these. I know this because many real investor friends have told me it's almost impossible to get these. I've been lucky in that I still can, but that's because all of my properties are great producing and have less than 40% LTV, so I can use those as collateral. Otherwise, many are pretty much SOL.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Don't count on it. Greedy land owners still want TOP DOLLAR for those lots anywhere near the rail lines, and buyers/developers aren't going to jump on it much too quickly. There is still A LOT of catching up to do anywhere south of New Bern (after Scaleybark station), and unless developers can get land for cheap, it ain't going to happen. Plus, anyone that builds residential would have to sell their units for less than $200/sq. ft if they want to draw any buyers. That area just doesn't have enough going for it to command the mid $250-$350/sq. ft that areas like Elizabeth, Midtown, Southend, Dilworth, Uptown, Wesley Heights is commanding. That's going to make it extremely tough for developers to financially make it work. As for retail, I sure hope they can do some things there. That is the ONLY thing that could draw revitalization to that area. But then again, will investors take that kind of risk?

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

Yes...I think we will. Not many, but some, and that is good enough. Developers know that the vacancy rate in Uptown Charlotte is less than 1%! That is incredible, and that just shows the shortage of office space in Center City. It just depends on the cost associated with this, and now that BofA and Wachovia have announced major setbacks and cost cutting, it's uncertain if many more office towers will get built or announced in 2008. It's a 50-50 chance at this point. Maybe Trump will revamp his plans to incorporate more office space. Either way, I don't care. I just want his name to be tied to the Charlotte market. That would draw wonders to this city and certainly put us on everyone's radar.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Whore, for sure. The city and planning council want private investors to BUILD and BUILD. They'd rather for us to use our money to do so, and then they'll develop their land, so given that's the case, they'll try to loosen things up to promote economic development. You can bet that they will ensure that what's developed will only benefit the city, and ultimately city revenue in taxes, so they'll probably only entertain development that will garner the most profit.

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?

I hope so too. We can use one right now, especially given the recent news that BofA and Wachovia are contracting and may have to have more layoffs soon.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Yes. I think we will. Many local developers that I've got to known over the years have all adamently mentioned Uptown severely lacking in retail at Center City and the need for a major grocer (not the tiny HT that carries nothing in Uptown). I don't think we will see MAJOR RETAIL IN Center City, but just on the outskirts of the I-277 inner-loop, I think it's more prime to have major retail there. Besides, that's just about 1 to 2 miles from center city, so I think this makes more sense. Look for Wesley Heights/Freedom/Wilkinson/N Tryon/Belmont areas are prime candidates for this. Land is more abundant in those areas and they are much cheaper than compared to anything within the 4 wards boundaries.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

Definitely increase, no matter what happens to the economy, mainly because of the Nascar HOF, the new theater bringing in blockbuster shows like Wicked, possible move of bringing baseball to Charlotte, and the recent announcement that the NCAA Tourney will be played in Charlotte! Don't forget we've already got 2 pro sports centers in Center City, Discover Place, Johnson Wales Univ, Imaginon, national recognized SouthPark Mall, emergence of places like Biddleville/Seversville/Wesley Heights/NoDA/Ballantyne that've received national recognition. Those will bring in more investors to Charlotte, and the news that Charlotte is only 1 of 3 markets that've eeked out an annual property value rise doesn't hurt. IKEA's coming to town, Google is doing their thing, Nascar is still here in Concord. Yea, I think we're good.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

Not sure, but you can bet that some buildings in Uptown and Wesley Heights/Biddleville area near the JC Smith Univ. will get torn down. I can also bet that several nice homes on Queens Rd and East Blvd (Dilworth) will get town down also in place of McMansions. It's inevitable as the push to live near Center City continues and people with more money than what to know they should do with it won't hesitate to give up their 2000 sq. ft. home for a new 5000 sq. ft. home on that lot. Sad, just sad.

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind/.

If you feel that 2007 was a let down, expect FAR WORSE, IMO. I honestly thought that 2007 was one of the BEST years for Charlotte, considering what happened to the economy. This was the year that we got confirmation on: IKEA, NASCAR HOF, Baseball stadium talk and the beginning stages of development at Midtown, 210 Trade/The Vue. Add that with new retail in Midtown (Target and HD) which is a blessing, I think 2007 has been great. I really think in 2008, we'll either hear cutbacks, cancellations, and postponement, more than we will hear new projects getting built. But I really hope I am wrong.

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I predict Pat McCrory will announce a bid for Governor within the next couple of weeks.

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So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Yes, but will get worse before it gets better.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

Some but not all, The success of the Blue Line thus far will ensure some projects will proceed.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

To some extent but not to the same level as South End.

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

With CLT's low vacancy rates I think there is potential for a spec building.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Status Quo

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Major, maybe, most likely will have smaller relo's.

Will RISD happen in 2008?

I hope so. If it does happen I hope they go to NODA or South End as opposed to downtown.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners? I think its overdue and could possibly happen in '08. The Ritz Carlton, Cultural Venues and light rail will help spur retail development. The Levine property will continue to sit, undeveloped.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

As CLT grows so will tourism, hotel prices and occupancy rates are up, so there is potential for additional rooms.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

No clue as to which, but history says it will happen.

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? I think '07 was a banner year and would be surprised if '08 exceeds '07 in the breadth and scope of development.

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Development South of New Bern?

Did anyone see the renderings of the Archdale Station the city had during the Station presentations of what the area "could" like in 10-15 years. Pretty impressive even being that long out.

I agree the land is awefully expensive. The current prices paid for the shopping centers between Tyvola to south of Archdale already puts the land at over $1 mill/acre. However, this could be the area where the much sought after retail development finally takes place en masse. The retail density, although out of vogue with the REITs now, could ultimately produce the numbers to make such a deal feasible. Think of 2 story retail topped by condos/apts and/or offices on that roughly 22 acres!

The demographics aren't there yet I'm sure, but with all the resdential development uptown, south end, and further down the lynx line, they have to getting close. The question I assue is will uptowners settle for a 20 min train ride to do their shopping?

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So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

-Nope, we will see the residential downturn here. We are already seeing it. The suburban builders are in a mild contraction because of excess inventory. I predict it will turn into a full scale retreat by the end of the year, in suburbia. In the downtown and close in markets, I don't think we will see a downturn, just a slow down and possible plateau. I do not think this is a momentary blip, as I think the effects will be felt into 2009 locally and 2010 nationally. Possibly one more residential tower announced, but most likely they will wait to see what the market looks like. I'd say the smart bet is a sleek, class A, LEED office tower spec. I don't think that One Charlotte will be built at all, and I'd say a redesign is in the future for one or two of the towers not out of the ground yet.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

No, but the majority will be in my opinion. There are some deep pockets behind some of the Southend projects.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Not this year, long term, 10 years from now.

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

As I said above: If I were an office developer, I'd put out an architectually intriguing, Class A space, LEED certified spec tower. Nothing signifigant will build out this year that hasn't already been announced.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

2 cent whores.

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?I

I really hope so, I hope we see Fifth Third for sure and I hope we get something to diversify the central business district from the Utilities, Banks and Legal profession.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Anyone who reads my posts knows I would love a vertical mall to emerge out of Uptown soil, however, even I don't think that is feasible. A shuffle of Epicenter tenants could eventually lead to some signifigant retail in Uptown this year, but outside of that, I think it will be at least next year. (sadly!)

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

The big boom in Tourism will come in 2009-2010 with all the current construction finished, all the new museums, office space, Hall of Fame, residential towers, the 3rd ward urban park, the Knights stadium, the new Discovery Place renovation, the ACC Football Championship, and hopefully a new rail line start up. That is in addition to what is already here and what will be rediscovered. Hopefully, the Levine land will finally be ripe for development at that point also.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

There are historic buildings in Charlotte!?!?!?!?! :rolleyes: Hopefully no more announcements for destruction, only for upfits and renovations.

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind.

I'd say for the development junkies, let down. An large amount of projects were announced and/or started this year, followed by the housing slowdown, then the mortgage crisis. I have a bad feeling we are headed in deeper into trouble before we turn around. However, I believe Charlotte will weather the storm better than most cities larger and smaller in the country, assuming we still have water <_< .

On a happier prediction, I believe 2010 will be Charlotte's year.

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There was a decent article in Charlotte Weekly where they interviewed Ken Thompson and Ken Lewis about their thoughts for Charlotte 2008. The general consenusus was slow growth for 2008 but growth nonetheless. A slight increase in new jobs as well as a small increase in the unemployment rate and an increase of about 10,000-12,000 new residents.

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Judging by everyone's predictions, I hope this means we can finally put the "Trump Tower" thread to rest....I always thought that was a long shot dispite some of the supposed "insider information".

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.......

So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die? It's a tough call, a lot will depend on the state of the United States economy and the more importantly the state of the financial markets. The only other city in the Carolina that exceeds Charlotte in condo tower construction is Myrtle Beach. When I was there last month we noted 4 projects that had simply stopped. These were places that had already poured several floors and had construction cranes up but was no longer any active construction activity. The general consensus was these places had run out of money due to disappearing buyers. Will that happen here? Could be.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.South Park is the other end of the suburban sprawl problem. It's totally dependent on the automobile and 2000 more apartments are going to jam this area with even more cars. Like the declining sprawl in University city, I expect the desirability of South Park to decline as well. (but for different reasons)

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?This isn't clear so far. Lynx is attracting two kinds of riders. Those that use public transit already, and those who are using the Park and Ride stations to avoid having to pay to park downtown. No secret the busiest station in the system is the suburban one at I-485. This would not seem to be much of a development generator. I guess time will tell and I would think that eventually we will see more development around these stations, but it's going to take longer than most think.

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?I think this is unlikely until Trump is sorted out. In a way his announcement has put the kibosh on further announcements as I can see where another developer won't want to compete with Trump and his resources. That leaves the BofA and I think if they even think of building another skyscraper, it won't be in Charlotte.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?Maybe some token ones, but nothing significant. This won't change until the people get pissed off enough about it to vote a different government to control Charlotte.

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?No. The US Economy is tanking.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?It is amazing how dead downtown continues to be outside of business hours/special events. We went down there on Christmas Eve around lunch hoping to see the place bustling with shoppers and instead it looked like Sunday morning. i.e. Practically deserted. Downtown has the problem in that it has to compete against Northlake, Southpark, Midtown, and possibly Lake Norman Village. My guess is that for 2008 we won't see any new retailers downtown.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?What you said about the economy.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition? Are there any left?

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind.Generally I don't think we are going to see much change from 2007. The United States in general has a number of problems that are going to affect downtown Charlotte that won't be sorted out until after the 2008 Presidential election is over.

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An announce will be made concerning the Trump Tower by march since the contract for all concrete has been written and signed.

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2007 has come to a close, with a slowdown in housing (single-family more-so than multi-family), a record low office vacancy rate, and retail humming along (though nothing dramatic). CATS/Lynx has just opened the the Blue line and is drawing higher than expected ridership. Downtown still doesn't have much in the way of hardgood retail. Several condo towers are just now breaking ground, while for the first time since the condo boom begin, a couple have been scrapped or altered. All in all, 2007 has been the most dynamic year for real estate in Charlotte of the new millenium.

So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

Ok, I cheated and waited a month to respond to my own questions.

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

It seems that the downturn is already taking effect. One Charlotte was not surprise, but 300 S. Tryon was a little surprising. I think we've seen the last of the cancellations of towers that have entered the pre-sells phase. I think we will see 1 (at the most) new towers proposed for uptown, and it will eithe be a condo/hotel concept, or lower priced point. I'm not holding my breath on Trump, but I suppose its still possible, mainly if something else is driving the project like a corporate relocation.

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

Well, one has already died, and if another dies, it won't suprise me. There seems to be a disproportionate amount of apartments to condos proposed in South End. While I typically have been upbeat on apartment building, I actually think this area would be over-built with all that has been proposed. A few, smaller condo projects (< 50 units) located adjacent to LRT stations would probably still sell well.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Nope....not in this cycle. I have a hard time believing that Scaleybark will even really launch. If it doesn't, it will be phased over a long period of time. Land is too expensive right now considering the economy. Location is king, and anything past New Bern doesn't make a lot of sense yet. The difficulty in obtaining a mortgage makes it seem unlikely that any developer would try something to target buyers in the lower-priced market. I suspect smart developers will watch large properties located adjancet to stations south of New Bern like a hawk, and hope to pick up something for a steal, so that during the next condo boom, they can take advantage.

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

Nope, with the possible exceptions of Trump and 631 N Tryon (Flagship Capital) which have both been rumored and confirmed by their respective developers as possibilities. There is a LOT of office space in the works, and I just don't see where the demand will come from.

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Hmmmmm...tough call. I think we will see some limited improvements. Hopefully the slow-down will give planners a chance to catch up, and be proactive about crafting tighter development standards. On the flip side, tighter standards could be perceived as anti-growth, which might not get a lot of support if the economy starts to slump. Any improvements will likely be in tweaking zoning classifications, set-backs, streetscapes. I don't expect we'll be lucky enough to see wholesale revision of zoning code or review processes.

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?

I project we will get a mid-sized relocation of a corporate division, not a new HQ. I think RISD will die, at least for 2008.

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Hmmmm....possibly something like Zara or H&M. Possibly 1 or 2 luxury retailers will go to SouthPark. I don't expect much for downtown this year.

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

Tourism will probably be flat in 2008, and not really pick up until 2010 once the HOF and arts projects are up and running. I suspect we will get 1 mid-sized hotel (~ 200 rooms) annoucnement. I think Charlotte will probably get another large hotel (> 500 rooms), but not announced until 2010.

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

This is the year they are spared, and I'm projecting we will be pleasantly suprised maybe 1 or 2 will be announced to be rehabbed for new use.

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind/.

See below

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2007 has come to a close, with a slowdown in housing (single-family more-so than multi-family), a record low office vacancy rate, and retail humming along (though nothing dramatic). CATS/Lynx has just opened the the Blue line and is drawing higher than expected ridership. Downtown still doesn't have much in the way of hardgood retail. Several condo towers are just now breaking ground, while for the first time since the condo boom begin, a couple have been scrapped or altered. All in all, 2007 has been the most dynamic year for real estate in Charlotte of the new millenium.

So.....what's going to happen in 2008?

Will Charlotte weather the residential downtown? Is the drop in new construction just a momentary blip that will quickly restart once supply evaporates? Will be see another high-rise condo tower proposed in Uptown? Which ones will die?

Will all the apartments in South End REALLY be built? I count 7 with over 2,000 units, 6 of which haven't gone vertical yet.

Will light rail stations south of New Bern attract development?

Will any more office towers be announced for Uptown? Built?

Will we see a tightening of development standards, or will planning/council continue to be development whores?

Will we get a major corporate relocation? Will RISD happen in 2008?

Any new major retailers entering the market? Will downtown FINALLY get something besides restaraurants and dry cleaners?

Will tourism continue to increase, or will the nervousness in the economy level it off for now? New hotels in the works?

What historic buildings will be announced for demolition?

In other words, will 2008 be an enhanced version of 2007, or are we going to feel let down? Feel free to speculate on all these and whatever else comes to mind/.

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So when does the 2009 prediction topic go up (or is there already one)?

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