Charlotte is becoming a hot spot for office space. The recent sale of the Metropolitan, the mix of condos, retail and office space in Midtown, is the latest evidence of a strong commercial real estate market in the Queen City. It sold for $94.5 million to investors.
"We've seen a lot of interest in Charlotte over the last couple of years," said Mark Vitner, an economist with Wells Fargo.
Vitner said as the economy came out of recession, investors flocked to big gateway markets such as San Francisco, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. But, "They've bid the prices up so high there's just not a lot of profit to be made by buying properties there right now," he said.
That's why investors turned to secondary cities like Charlotte, especially in the second half of last year and the beginning of this year.
Analysts say in 2012, 1.3 million more square feet of office space was occupied here than the year before. Most businesses came from the banking, health care and energy sectors.
All this activity has had a positive ripple effect on older office buildings.
"There's some office buildings that may have been overlooked when you drove by them, that have recently been upgraded," Vitner said.
He said Charlotte's main competition now comes from cities such as Nashville, suburban Atlanta, Jacksonville and Tampa.
People Eyewitness News spoke with weren't surprised to hear about Charlotte's success.
"No, not at all. I think it's such a growing city. It's got a lot of potential. We've been very happy here," said Maggie Currey.
"There's a lot of business here, there's a lot of growth, and it seems like we've been lucky in that way," said Jennifer McMeeken.
Vitner also said he wouldn't be surprised to hear about plans to build another office building in uptown soon, which would change the skyline of Charlotte.
Even if the announcement came this year, though, the building most likely wouldn't be complete until 2017 or 2018.