krazeeboi

Charlotte area "ring cities"

Recommended Posts

Chalk downtown Kannapolis at the top of my list for "best possible future commuter neighborhood" via Amtrak with their modest downtown station. I like the vibe much more than the towns along I-77 N. Too bad downtown Concord doesn't have a station as well :-(

Their mid-size train platform:

20160202_141843.jpg

The Gem Theatre, the oldest single-screen theatre in the state:

20160202_142336.jpg

20160202_142434.jpg

Edited by SgtCampsalot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


1) I didn't realize they had a downtown.

2) I checked it out on the googles and it looks like they probably had a much cooler downtown but did a rehabilitation project in the 90's to make all the façades look identical so it might compete with a suburban shopping center. Then you have the completely out of scale/place research institute thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is Amtrak planning to increase service once the station is moved in Charlotte and make it more of a commuter route like in the Northeast? Kannapolis only sees three trains per day right now and the earliest departs towards Charlotte at 9:30AM. They don't have a departure out of Charlotte after 5:15PM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Spartan said:

1) I didn't realize they had a downtown.

2) I checked it out on the googles and it looks like they probably had a much cooler downtown but did a rehabilitation project in the 90's to make all the façades look identical so it might compete with a suburban shopping center. Then you have the completely out of scale/place research institute thing.

Yeah, some digging revealed it went through SEVERAL planned renovations since the 1900s. But this downtown needs to be seen and felt in person to be understood. It's like a surreal but totally real Disney Land main street.

As forthe scale of thr Research Institute, you're right it's totally off from the town, but they were in a pretty crazy situation with the Cannon Mills Pillowtex complex. It was the size of the pentagon, and all 4,300 employees were laid off in the same day in 2003. Murdoch got rid of it as a white elephant by tearing it down and building the institute. It may be overwhelmingly large, but it is truly a spectacle to behold in person.

p695a.jpg

kannapolis.gif

Edited by SgtCampsalot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, CLT2014 said:

Is Amtrak planning to increase service once the station is moved in Charlotte and make it more of a commuter route like in the Northeast? Kannapolis only sees three trains per day right now and the earliest departs towards Charlotte at 9:30AM. They don't have a departure out of Charlotte after 5:15PM.

A couple more frequencies will be added to the Piedmont service in the next couple of years. Longer term, if SEHSR ever comes to fruition, there could be as many as 12 (?) trains per day in each direction (although not all of them will stop in Ktown). Actual commuter service between Charlotte and Salisbury feels inevitable if current growth rates continue, but no one is discussing that possibility.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive all the photos, but this whole Research Institute area is mind-bogglingly vast, and believe it or not, in person, actually feels very well-built for the centuries:

Main Research Building:

20160202_141729.jpg

City Hall:

20160202_142148.jpg

Main Research Bldg from City Hall:

20160202_142126.jpg

Edited by SgtCampsalot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I should keep this to myself, but Kannapolis is a little too blue collar (in my perception) for me to ever ponder the possibility of living there if they had commuter rail. And outside of downtown Kannapolis, do they still have good design? Are they trying to become Ped. friendly?

The downtown does look cute. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, AirNostrumMAD said:

Perhaps I should keep this to myself, but Kannapolis is a little too blue collar (in my perception) for me to ever ponder the possibility of living there if they had commuter rail. And outside of downtown Kannapolis, do they still have good design? Are they trying to become Ped. friendly?

The downtown does look cute. 

 

One of their biggest hurdles to becoming a commuter suburb and growing the town is lower ranking schools. Their schools rank lower than most of the CMS schools in Charlotte, Huntersville, Matthews and Cornelius, and are below Concord, Belmont, Union County, Fort Mill, and Harrisburg. Many families justify longer commutes for a great school in Union County or something, but Kannapolis schools are lower ranking than most of CMS... so the value proposition / sell to people that have kids and work closer to Charlotte becomes tough. 

The town is going to have a tough time attracting 20-30 somethings since they want to be close to Charlotte, schools aren't good for families, especially to justify longer commutes.... leaves people with strong ties to the area and the potential to maybe attract retirees. I feel like there are empty nesters that want land / space that would live in the Kannapolis area if it had a nice downtown.

Edited by CLT2014

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, AirNostrumMAD said:

Perhaps I should keep this to myself, but Kannapolis is a little too blue collar (in my perception) for me to ever ponder the possibility of living there if they had commuter rail. And outside of downtown Kannapolis, do they still have good design? Are they trying to become Ped. friendly?

The downtown does look cute. 

Who knows, truly. But I do know the government is trying to go full-on Traditional Neighborhood Development on their own asses. They're trying to get a protected bike lane on Loop Rd, which is a typical stroad that disconnects the downtown from the rest of it.

The main distinction it has between it and other small towns is that it's far more rural than suburban, which in SOME ways may be an asset. It has its share of strips and subdivisions, but far, far less than the other metro area towns, which is definitely due to its distance from CLT, but i dunno if that can also be an asset.

I doubt it will attract young professionals to its "Hipsturbia" any time soon, but I think it def has the potential to be a tourist spot at least. Who knows.

Edited by SgtCampsalot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've mentioned this before, but the city council is hellbent on sprawl. They annexed an area 3.5 miles away from the heart of Kannapolis , running the town limits alongside a highway for a lengthy portion, just so they could include "The Farm" and a couple of other outlying new neighborhoods. It's crazy. When you look at a map of the town's limits that area looks like a hangman's noose. Meanwhile, older mill houses are and have been torn down closer to town where there are now huge swaths of vacant land. Part of the allure of "The Farm" is its proximity to Davidson and its green areas (which are now coming under pressure these days ).  We're going to love this planet to death.

I spoke briefly, as did my neighbors, during a protest against expansion of The Farm. Some of my neighbors brought up the issue of roads and how the traffic is already backing up and causing problems. The Planning department responded with a shrug and, " It's not our problem. That's up to The DOT to answer". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I met a woman with an 8 year old son who was really into trains. She wanted to encourage his enthusiasm and they had taken AMTRAK (more than once) Charlotte to Salisbury as a part-day trip. Leave Charlotte and then walk around downtown Salisbury. Have some sodas and snacks in a charming downtown then go back to the very nice Salisbury station to catch the southbound headed from Raleigh to Charlotte. He even met the conductor and visibly brightened when he described the experiences. I may do it myself some day.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, tarhoosier said:

I met a woman with an 8 year old son who was really into trains. She wanted to encourage his enthusiasm and they had taken AMTRAK (more than once) Charlotte to Salisbury as a part-day trip. Leave Charlotte and then walk around downtown Salisbury. Have some sodas and snacks in a charming downtown then go back to the very nice Salisbury station to catch the southbound headed from Raleigh to Charlotte. He even met the conductor and visibly brightened when he described the experiences. I may do it myself some day.

I keep wanting to do this to Raleigh for the day but I always balk at the cost. Granted it's not really that much, but since the trip would serve no real purpose I've just never pulled the trigger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Windsurfer said:

I've mentioned this before, but the city council is hellbent on sprawl. They annexed an area 3.5 miles away from the heart of Kannapolis , running the town limits alongside a highway for a lengthy portion, just so they could include "The Farm" and a couple of other outlying new neighborhoods. It's crazy. When you look at a map of the town's limits that area looks like a hangman's noose. Meanwhile, older mill houses are and have been torn down closer to town where there are now huge swaths of vacant land. Part of the allure of "The Farm" is its proximity to Davidson and its green areas (which are now coming under pressure these days ).  We're going to love this planet to death.

I spoke briefly, as did my neighbors, during a protest against expansion of The Farm. Some of my neighbors brought up the issue of roads and how the traffic is already backing up and causing problems. The Planning department responded with a shrug and, " It's not our problem. That's up to The DOT to answer". 

Thanks to the Tea Party's new annexation laws that they passed this year, you can expect much more in the way of wonky annexation lines as cities try to expand their service areas and tax base to provide said services. It won't be as big of an issue in Charlotte, but all of the smaller, growing cities between here and Raleigh will probably resort to that type of annexation process at some point.

 

6 hours ago, SgtCampsalot said:

Yeah, some digging revealed it went through SEVERAL planned renovations since the 1900s. But this downtown needs to be seen and felt in person to be understood. It's like a surreal but totally real Disney Land main street.

As forthe scale of thr Research Institute, you're right it's totally off from the town, but they were in a pretty crazy situation with the Cannon Mills Pillowtex complex. It was the size of the pentagon, and all 4,300 employees were laid off in the same day in 2003. Murdoch got rid of it as a white elephant by tearing it down and building the institute. It may be overwhelmingly large, but it is truly a spectacle to behold in person.

p695a.jpg

kannapolis.gif

Yeah I understand the size of the campus and the Pillowtex situation. I just meant that the buildings were out of scale with everything in the town else in terms of bulk/spacing, etc. The buildings in and of themselves are well designed and quite nice looking.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gem has a special place in my heart.  I saw Titanic there back in the late 90's.  That said, I went to high school in Kannapolis (well, now, it was in Concord when I went there) so I feel pretty comfortable stating that Kannapolis sucks.  Cannon Village is a nice "thought", but boy oh boy, do they have a long way to go.  Heck, of all the towns north on the I-85 corridor, freaking Salisbury has the best chance of being something, IMO.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, tarhoosier said:

I met a woman with an 8 year old son who was really into trains. She wanted to encourage his enthusiasm and they had taken AMTRAK (more than once) Charlotte to Salisbury as a part-day trip. Leave Charlotte and then walk around downtown Salisbury. Have some sodas and snacks in a charming downtown then go back to the very nice Salisbury station to catch the southbound headed from Raleigh to Charlotte. He even met the conductor and visibly brightened when he described the experiences. I may do it myself some day.

Hell, I am 48 and I have done exactly that, twice!

Downtown Kannapolis looks good, the Gem is great and 46 (does it still exist?) is a fantastic lunch spot. But everytime I have been in Ktown it feels like the post-apocolypse -- the Dale statute is the closest thing to another human I have ever seen there.

Dowtown Salisbury is awesome, if it was in Eastern Oregon it would be the hippest small town on earth. If I had the sac I would franchise a McMenamins pub and hotel in Downtown Salisbury.

Edited by kermit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a really interesting area near Prosperity Village and Highland Creek, in Concord I believe. It's got a stretch of street with many 3 story live/work style units with lots of niche businesses. Feels European or something. But right next to it as part of the same development is a strip mall with a beer/wine specialty Harris Teeter. It's extremely confounding.

20160315_125420.jpg

20160315_125433.jpg

20160315_125440.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Those are a dime a dozen in Lake Norman. Everywhere, and interconnected. That's how developments are required to be built here. You can traverse LKN pretty much going through residential neighborhoods. Everything requires sidewalks so I, for example, have miles and miles of nonstop sidewalks from my place in Birkdale (by the golf course, not the village). I can walk to the Village, to the Lake (2 different amazing parks, 1 that will have a beach opening up Memorial Day), I can walk to Cornelius, over I77 (seriously, even the bridge of 77 is super pedestrian friendly) and their are just multiple ways to do it. Even developments in the remote areas of Huntersville have to build sidewalks. So some places will be woods, development with a sidewalk, woods. 

Since I lived here over a year, they have built 2 more sidewalks in Huntersville and Cornelius to make them continuous.

 

 

I've never found a place that comes as close to feeling as pedestrian friendly outside of uptown and the immediate surrounding in the region. And I have a hard time seeing myself to moving to CLT that feels a lot more suburban, no sidewalks, culdesacs, etc. I love it here.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by AirNostrumMAD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eastfield Village is actually largely in Charlotte city limits, with some unincorporated. You hit the Cabarrus County border about 1.5 miles north on Eastfield by the aquatics center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.