Report: Lack of retail could be costing uptown money

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

When you walk on North Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte, you pass restaurant after restaurant, businesses and apartments. What you won't see many of: stores.
 
"You keep expecting as a guest to find the retail on the next block, and it just never comes," said Michael Smith, president and CEO of Center City Partners.
 
Smith said a consultant that Center City Partners hired believes Uptown could support a lot more retail which could translate to $119 million in gross sales per year. That means more business, more jobs and more tax revenue. The consultant suggested a focus be put on North Tryon Street, Tryon, Trade and College Streets and South Tryon and Stonewall.

It also said that while South End has more retail already, there is room for growth there as well. The consultant said there is a potential for $57 million in additional gross sales in South End.

"Overall we're imbalanced on food and beverage versus shoppers goods," said Smith. "Retail really is the culminating chapter for us."
 
Some people told Eyewitness News that right now they don't consider a trip to Uptown an all-day event. More shopping could change that.
 
"It would be more convenient," said Deaireus Sims.
 
It could bring some change for the restaurants too,  like the Wooden Vine in Uptown.
 
"It might bring us some more positive business," said Nicholas Daniels, executive chef.
 
Smith said it won't happen overnight. This will likely be a decade-long process that will take committment from the city, both public and private sectors.
 
"We as a city are going to have to collectively say, 'Center City retail matters to us,'" he said. "We're going to have to make a bundle of moves together to make it work."
 
He said there would be some challenges from zoning to more parking. Smith said that the information has been presented to the City Council, which sent it to the Economic Development Committee.