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In the print edition of the Observer sunday, there was a special on highrise living in Atlanta and how its coming to Charlotte. In the article, Furman mentions that he is working on another tower that will be taller than Courtside. This guy is really on a roll! He said an announcement should come early in 2005.

At this point, I am starting to wonder if the market can shoulder all these announcements but hey, its a problem that everyone is glad to have.

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Just found the 2nd part of the series online...


The Height of Living

Enthusiastic residents are sold on life above the trees


Staff Writer

The higher Matt Ferris ascended the Arlington, for the moment Charlotte's tallest residential high-rise and destined to be its pinkest, the closer he got "to the point of no return."

By the time he stepped into a three-bedroom unit on the 20th floor, he was sold.

"It was this place or nothing," he says from his expansive living room overlooking Bank of America Stadium and uptown Charlotte.

The 25-year-old financial services professional is among those flocking to urban high-rises in cities across the nation. With three high-rise residential condos announced in Charlotte, and at least one more lurking under the radar, the city within two years will be home to a new class of property owners. It's a housing alternative that hasn't been available before in Charlotte, and will present a new set of choices and trade-offs.

Those who live in high-rises say they sacrificed square footage, lawns and fireplaces in return for short commutes, above-the-tree-line views and a where-it's-at lifestyle.

Residents at the Arlington, just outside the Interstate 277 loop that defines Charlotte's uptown, dismiss with a wave such high-rise nuisances as having to cart groceries up an elevator, or proximity to neighbors.

"You give up access to a backyard barbecue," says Ferris, a native of New Philadelphia, a small town in Ohio, who moved into the Arlington about a year ago. He gazes toward the Charlotte skyline with a master-of-the-universe grin. "But this view is a great investment and I gain what I think is the coolest place in Charlotte to live."

Units at the Arlington range from about $230,000 to north of $700,000 for the bigger digs on the upper floors. At that higher price range, you could buy a two-story, four-bedroom home with more than 4,000 square feet on half an acre near the Ballantyne Country Club.

But young single professionals and empty-nesters, the typical demographic moving into high-rises, say they don't need or want that room and all that comes with it.

"As much as I travel, I don't want a lawn and trees I've got to take care of," says Rich Pacella, the 33-year-old co-founder of software firm Velocitor Solutions in Charlotte, who will be moving into a new uptown high-rise under construction.

Moreover, you wouldn't get what Arlington resident Matthew Ellis has: walking distance to an uptown office.

Ellis, who works in Wachovia Corp.'s tax credit investment group, had distinctly urban criteria when it came to choosing where to live.

"I had to be able to walk to work and I had to be able to walk to bars and restaurants," he says. "It was unique," Ellis adds of the Arlington. "I don't think there's a comparable property yet."

Yet is the operative word. Atlanta-based Novare Group Inc. has announced plans to build the city's tallest residential high-rise, a 35-story building at North Church and West Fifth streets. Charlotte developer Pete Verna plans to start work in November on the Park, a 21-story project at Third and Caldwell streets. Fellow Charlotte developer David Furman of Boulevard Centro recently broke ground on the Courtside, a 16-story building at Sixth and Caldwell that's already nearly sold out. Furman says he intends to announce another high-rise project by spring.

Atlanta residents have had more than a decade to consider the charms and drawbacks of high-rise living. Those who have given it a try say any antidote to that city's hellacious commuter traffic is worth it. Couple that with a metropolitan singles scene, and living downtown's a no-brainer.

Fifteen years ago, few significant residential high-rises stood in Atlanta. Today, 10 high-rise condos stab the downtown skyline, with a half-dozen more under construction or in the planning phase. The place bustles and is the setting for regular cultural events. The city closes a two-block section of Broad Street every Friday afternoon for live concerts -- great if you like the band, not so great if you forget to move your car and it gets towed.

Atlanta's Midtown, one of the city's three distinct urban centers, has undergone a similar growth spurt, as high-rises have lured young professionals.

Rod Mullice, a resident at the Metropolis in Atlanta's Midtown, says he used to commute more than an hour into the city. "It cost me a relationship," he says over bites of a breakfast burrito at the Celebrity Cafe and Bakery, one of dozens of service and retail shops in the neighborhood.

Mullice, a 38-year-old public affairs consultant, said he moved into the 20-story high-rise to live within walking distance of friends, clients and nightlife.

He recites a long list of things he likes about the Metropolis, where he recently bought a one-bedroom condo in "the low 200s" on the 11th floor: A 50-inch flat-panel TV, self-serve bar and video-game stations in the community room; the glinting pool; the 24-7 concierge service; the on-site masseuse; the sprawling weight room "that's probably the best in the city."

Moreover, the building, which opened in 2002, hums with communal activities. An art party one night. A poker night the next. "It's really easy to connect here," Mullice says.

Charlotte observers say tomorrow's high-rise residents will demand, and receive, high-end amenities. Since she opened Allen Tate Realtors' Center City four years ago, Sandy Kindbom says customers have asked to live in high-rises. She's had nothing to show them.

Newcomers also increasingly are asking for 24-hour concierge services, a typical high-rise amenity that offers a range of services from grocery shopping to fetching the dry cleaning.

This request speaks to a lifestyle people in bigger cities are accustomed to, and one that Kindbom says she has heard more frequently as the recent merger between Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. and Boston-based FleetBoston Financial Corp. has brought more people to town.

"Let's face it," she adds. "High-rises are sexy."

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I'm not worried yet. High-rise living is new in Charlotte so it is somewhat met with uncertainty at times but I think the market for these projects seems incredibly strong right now. I don't think we will have to worry any time soon. Even though we focus on Charlotte this does seem to be a national trend and in a way we are behind many other major cities in catering to this market. I think demand for res. high-rise will continue to be strong in Charlotte for at least four or five years, beyond that I have no idea. I just think that we are witnessing the next step in Charlotte's growth. It's time for Charlotte to shake off it's midling size image and truley grow into a major city. Not many cities get to jump tiers but I think Charlotte will be/is one city that will/is. It's an exciting time.

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Also, after Grubb got shut down on adding a residential component to the new Wachovia building I wouldn't be surprised to see Grubb announce a high-rise residential building somewhere else uptown.

As for my guess on the Furman building. I know his idea with the 16-story Courtside next to the 4-story Court 6 was an idea to "step down" building height from Tryon outward into low rise first ward. So I'm assuming he will put his building somewhere between Brevard and Tryon. I also think he will stick to a "first wardish" location as he seems to have found his favorite spots in our center city. I'm thinking the new building might go a little north of Courtside though further expanding the linear skyline and making a strong recognizable presence somewhere between IJL and ODell.

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  • 2 months later...

Diversity will be a good thing for DT IMO. I'd actually like to see some different colors in the buildings at night. Atlanta is beautiful lit up IMO with the colors the lights of the buildings, I think Charlotte could do the same to make things a little more lively. I do enjoy when BoA lights their crown in blue for the Panthers. :)



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This project is awesome!

Furman and Co. are getting to be very successful. I think they are going to be continuing their business model all over uptown. No doubt they will be anchors to the 3rd Ward park, 1st Ward Park, and 2nd Ward redevelopment.

My favorite part of this building is the fin on the roof. This will be a very good addition to the sky-line.

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When I first saw this building, I thought ti could be more impressive. Since that first thought I have warmed up to the building a lot. It will be very unique against the skyline, and the base of the building looks awesome, it will look even better with the retail when it gets built. The building does have a lot of depth, which is a nice change compared to some of the other boxy buildings uptown. I just wonder when Wachovia will release a rendering of their new tower for Tryon.....

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Oh my God, there are so many building announced... :blink: I didn't realize there were so many. It's like if I missed something those last days (perhaps because I live milles away from Charlotte!)...With just some buildings like this one (which is just so beautiful) the skyline and the density of Charlotte will change a lot...

Wow, I just remember when I was 7 years old, wen to Charlotte to see family and saw the BofA under construction, and now...I just can't wait to see al that being built!

And I just realized it will be built on the Center City Inn, once it will be destroyed : very very good new ! (vengeance, vengeance...)

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