CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Center City Partners, working with the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and consultant MIG, earlier this year pressed paused on what had been more than a year’s worth of work on planning the next 20 years of center city’s growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s potentially significant implications for cities and human behavior was a deciding factor, as was longstanding racial inequities exacerbated by the global health crisis and Charlotte’s recent decade of growth.
The past decade was Charlotte’s most prolific by multiple economic measures. Charlotte Center City Partners’ most recent State of the Center City report found 8.3 million square feet of office space, 650,000 square feet of retail, 2,736 hotel rooms and 12,205 housing units were built in the area between 2010 and the start of 2020.
The center city has especially been a major benefactor of Charlotte’s recent growth, given a migration back to urban cores largely driven by preferences of a younger workforce. South End, in particular, went from an industrial neighborhood to one of the hottest office submarkets in the Southeast in just a few short years.
But with substantial growth comes challenges, particularly relating to affordability, equity and economic disparity. Taking the time to reengage the community amid a pandemic and a national push to address racism provided an incredible opportunity for the 2040 plan, said Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners.
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