Uptown Living Blog

New project underway at Uptown 550 at Stonewall

Rendering of Uptown 550 at Stonewall

Stonewall Street has been undergoing much change over the last few years. It is one of the busiest streets for construction right now with many exciting projects coming to change the skyline of Uptown Charlotte. Uptown 550 at Stonewall is one of the projects to be most excited about.

Located at Stonewall and Caldwell Streets, Uptown 550 at Stonewall is a large project with two separate buildings. The Northwood Ravin project will have 421 apartments and ground floor retail in a 20 story tower and a 4 story building with parking deck.

The 20 story tower is slated to have first floor retail, a gym on the third floor, a fourth-floor dog park, and a rooftop bar. Units in the tower will have balconies with skyline views. The tower will house 143 units.

The four story building will have three stories of parking, and an elevated pool and lounge deck. There will be 278 units in this building.

Homes in Uptown 550 at Stonewall will be a mix of studios, one, two, and three bedrooms. There are many luxury features that will be standard across all of the units including:

  • Quartz countertops
  • Rain shower heads
  • Outdoor gas fireplaces
  • Designer lighting
  • Custom cabinetry

A central courtyard plaza is planned that will include green space, urban garden, fountain, and walking paths. Other amenities for residents will include a full-sized golf simulator, game room, lounge space, and indoor resort-style spa and sauna. Planned completion is for August of this year.

May Market Update

Home sales were down slightly (.3%) in May in the Charlotte region according to data released by the Carolina Regional Realtor Association. New listings and pending sales were up year over year, up 4.6% and 16.6% respectively. This shows that there are buyers out there and they are willing to purchase when the right home comes on the market.

Uptown Charlotte shows a slightly different picture. Home sales here were down 5.9% which represents two fewer sales than last year at this time. New listings and pending sales were up substantially 47.9% and 70.3% respectively. In May of last year, there were 85 homes on the market, this May there are 91 homes.

The Charlotte area is still suffering from a lack of inventory. The supply of homes fell again down to a 2.5 month supply. This is down 26.5% from the same time last year. A balanced market between buyers and sellers is considered to be a 6 month supply.

The inventory of homes on the market declined in Uptown from 2.9 to 2.7 months supply. This represents a decline of 6.9%.

The supply of homes  in the Charlotte area was up slightly from last month. In April, there were 9,525 homes on the market. In May, there were 9,795. This represents a rise of 270 homes or 2.8% month over month. Last May, by contrast, there were 12,268 homes for sale.

Median sales price was up 7.9% to $226,500, and Average sales price was up 6.6% to $274,957. Low inventory drives prices up and we have seen gains in home prices for the past few years with no end in sight.

In Uptown Charlotte, median and average sales price are down year over year. Median sales price was down 4.5% to $250,750 while average sales price was down 8.1% to $273,263. This decline can change rapidly month over month as there is more variation in the Uptown numbers.

We will keep our eye on the trends as they develop. Stay tuned.

Gateway Station Update

Recently, Charlotte took a few more steps to making Gateway Station a reality. City Council has approved measures for the city manager to negotiate and complete agreements with state and federal government to secure right-of-way for future construction.

The Gateway Station project began in 1998 with the gathering of 20 acres at West Trade and Graham Streets. When and if it is finished, Gateway Station is to be the home for a relocated Amtrak Terminal, a Greyhound Bus depot, a 30-mile commuter-rail like from Uptown to Lake Norman, a streetcar stop and local bus service. Targeted completion wouldn’t be until 2024.

Two years ago, the federal government awarded grant money for the project, contingent upon agreements and additional funding for the initial phases being in place by September 2017. If the city does not meet the requirements, the money will be forfeit. This means there has to be agreement between the city and the Norfolk Southern Railroad which controls the right of way around the construction site.

The parties will have to agree on two station tracks, train signals, a passenger platform, and supporting bridges. These are estimated to cost $72 million and complete in 2021. To come in on time, city council needs to complete agreements by June 30th. This means they would have from June 30th until the September deadline to secure the additional funding for the project.

In Denver, CO, a similar project called Union Station has been completed and has brought about $2 billion in adjacent development. If Charlotte can bring this project together, there could be a boom in Uptown development. The city would need to use the Denver project to prove to investors that this new station is worth their investment dollars. There is no official estimate for the entire Gateway Station project, but just the extension of the 30 mile Red Line is expected to cost between $5 and $7 billion. We will keep you updated as we hear more about this exciting project.

Wells Fargo Plaza Update

Down in Wells Fargo Plaza, there has been a two story seating area for years. Most days you can spot people eating lunch, catching up on work, having a quick meeting, or just people watching. All that is about to change.

If you visit the seating area now, you are faced with construction fencing all around the structure. Located at the corner of Tryon Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, it is a prime location for a new Visitor Information Center.

The current structure will remain, but it will receive a complete makeover. Glass walls, windows, and doors on the lower level will enclose the new Visitor Info Center. The center will be run by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

The plan is for a new snack spot with quick bites and coffee. There will be free WiFi available. There will also be space for another small business vendor. Colorful awnings and LED lighting are part of the plan as well. Visitors will still be able to climb to the open air top floor, but only when the visitor’s center is open. Planned hours and 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Saturday and noon – 5 pm Sunday.

Visitors to the center should expect help for what to do while visiting, including sporting events, concerts, museums, restaurants, nightlife and more. Tourism materials will also be available like maps, directories, and Charlotte-themed retail and souvenirs.

This center will join others already existing at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte Convention Center, and at Levine Museum of the New South. Those locations will remain open. Expect the new Visitors Center to open in the fall of 2017.

Explore Charlotte Symphony’s Summer Pops

One of the most beloved summer events is coming once again to SouthPark. Charlotte Symphony will be back in Symphony Park to entertain young and old. The pops have been a feature since the 1980’s. Kickoff for the current season is June 4th.

This year, concert-goers will have a few different options for ticket purchases. There will be new tiered pricing with premium seating, and general admission. Premium tickets come with VIP seating with a shaded tent, reserved parking close to symphony park, and a chef-curated picnic basket from Reid’s Fine Foods. You can also purchase a Reid’s picnic basket to enjoy in the general admission seating.

This year, you can purchase tickets in advance for a discount on the ticket price. Another option this year is a GoPass for additional flexibility and a 25% discount off the ticket price.

Get ready to enjoy music from fabulous musicians and a variety of conductors. Also, you can come early at 7pm to each concert to watch the prelude. This prelude changed each concert, but showcases musicians from the Charlotte community. The first concert will feature the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Concerts this summer range from blockbuster movies, to jazz, to Star Wars, to Broadway and classic Americana. Come on out and connect to the community and enjoy great music at the same time.

Get more information and tickets at the Charlotte Symphony’s website here.

April Market Statistics

The Charlotte Regional Realtor Association has released their monthly market report for April. Based on their findings, we are again facing historic low inventory and higher prices, but we are also seeing a dip in closed sales and in new listings from the same time last year.

Inventory for the entire region is now at 9,525 homes. This is up from last month’s 9,212, but substantially down from last year’s 11,919. The rise from last month is a typical trend, as spring goes on, more homes are listed.

Average sales price also rose year over year. Last year, the average price for a home was at $251,290. This year the average is a staggering $275,491. This is up $4,140 from last month’s average price of $271,351 and $38,269 up from this time in 2015.

If you look at just Uptown Charlotte, there are now 92 homes on the market, up from 76 last year at this time. This leaves uptown with a 2.9 month supply of homes. This is well below the balanced market of 6 months supply. This means that sellers typically have more power in a price negotiation, and that multiple offer situations can happen more often.

Average sales price for a home in Uptown was up from $298,388 last year to $310,206 this year. This is down from last month’s average of $347,876, but a few penthouses can swing this number substantially from month to month.

New listings in Uptown were up by 21.1% and 11.1% more homes closed this month than in April of last year. Pending sales are slumping from this time last year. There were 15.8% fewer homes at pending status in Uptown.

As more projects get closer to completion, there will be more new inventory in the marketplace in Uptown. This could push inventory in the area to a larger supply and could help buyers have more negotiating power in real estate transactions. We will keep an eye on the trends and keep you updated.

Omni to Undergo $26M Renovation

A renovation is currently in the works at the Charlotte Omni Hotel in Uptown. The projected $26 million renovation will redesign the hotel as a “contemporary lifestyle destination”. Inspiration for the design is Charlotte’s history as a gold-mining center. Moncur Design Associates and CT+C Design Studio are working together on the renovations.

The Omni, located at the corner of South College and East Trade streets, has 374 rooms and suites. All rooms will be updated to include built-in custom casegoods, a coffee bar built into the countertops, an oversized sofa, and redesigned bathrooms with new vanities and showers. Colors of the rooms and artwork will be updated as part of the new design.

The hotel lobby will be fully updated to include new flooring, burnished metal wall finishes, a new guest registration area, and new furniture and fixtures. The front exterior wall of the hotel will be redesigned to allow more light into the building. This will mean new glass exterior and reflective metal wall to provide natural light.

All common areas will have gold and silver tones to harken back to the theme of the gold-mining center. Expansion of the rooftop pool deck will be part of the project to include a new bar and grill, and large tv screens. The addition should be about 3,000 square feet of new decking.

The menu at Trade Restaurant & Bar will be remade with small bites and street-food. A larger bar will open into the lobby to be a gathering space. New tables, seating, carpet and lighting are all on order. The exclusive club lounge on the 14th floor will receive similar treatment.

Renovations will keep the Omni as a premier destination for travelers, whether for business or pleasure. 16,000 square feet of event space will still accommodate functions of all sizes, with catering and event planning services available.

The Omni joins The Marriott at Trade and Tryon which completed an extensive remodel last year. They need to keep up with competition as new upscale brands are bringing hotels to uptown in the near future. Kimpton, Grand Bohemian and InterContinental are all in process of building luxury hotels in the area. Completion of the Omni’s renovation project is expected in December of this year.

For more information, read the full articles in the Charlotte Business Journal and the Charlotte Observer.

Parkwood Station has Broken Ground

Rendering of Parkwood Station

An exciting new project has broken ground in Optimist Park called Parkwood Station.

This multi-family development is the work of The NRP Group, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Optimist park has historically been a neighborhood of cotton and textile mills. With the light rail coming through, urban density isn’t far behind.

Located at the corner of Parkwood Avenue and North Brevard Street, Parkwood Station will be right next to the Lynx Blue Line Parkwood Station. The station is expected to open in March of 2018 as part of the Blue Line extension. This location is really convenient for an uptown commute, and gives residents access to all current and future stops on the light rail.

Parkwood Station is expected to include a four- and five-story mid-rise building with 309 units. 23 studio units, 180 one-bedroom units, 98 two-bedroom units, and 8 three-bedroom units will make up most of the space. Developers expect to be finished early in 2018.

As is the trend lately, there will be numerous amenities within the project. The developer so far plans a fitness room, saltwater pool, fire pit and outdoor grilling areas, common area Wi-Fi, bike storage and repair station, pet-grooming facility, courtyards and a 421-space gated parking garage.

Right down the street from Parkwood Station is another development by Wood Partners. This will be a 261-unit apartment project at 25th and North Brevard Streets. The development broke ground in April of this year and expects to be completed in early 2019.

With great neighbors, great location, and great transportation options, Parkwood Station is one we are going to keep our eyes on.

For more information, read the full article in the Charlotte Business Journal

One305 coming to Plaza Midwood

One305 Central

One305 Central

This $50 million mixed-use development in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood is looking to line up 10,000 square feet of retail and dining options. It’s all part of plans for One305 Central, which will include a mix of residential and retail offerings. The project includes a building at the corner of Central and Clement avenues. It was most recently occupied by Something Classic and Fern.Renovations of that space are slated to begin this month. “Known as one of Charlotte’s most diverse and eclectic neighborhoods, Plaza Midwood is begging for new and more contemporary amenities,” says Darrell Palasciano with The Shopping Center Group, which is the exclusive listing agent. He adds that project’s street-level and elevated dining spaces already have caught the eye of two “well-known restaurateurs” and a microbrewery — though no tenants have been named. It also will incorporate 2,000 square feet of patio space with large installations by local artists. Local firm Hood Architecture is behind the project’s design. Roper Construction is expected to complete the commercial space this fall. One305 Central is being developed by TriBridge Residential. That real estate firm acquired the five-acre site for $7.8 million in 2014. Citizens Bank provided financing for the mixed-use development. One305 Central will have 281 apartments. The residential component is slated for completion this summer.

Jennifer Thomas covers retail, health care and education for the Charlotte Business Journal.

Home Prices Still on the Rise in Charlotte

Home prices are soaring in the Charlotte area and across the nation. We have seen that with our monthly reporting from the Carolina Regional Realtor Association data. A new report from Case-Shiller, their February S&P CoreLogic Index report shows that prices in Charlotte rose 6.1% year over year . This outpaces the 5.8% increase for all 9 US census divisions. This is a 32 month high per Case-Shiller.

The lack of supply is driving prices higher than ever. The 2.4 month supply of homes in the Charlotte Region in March continues this trend. Nationally low inventory helps keep mortgage borrowing rates at historic lows as consumers feel the pinch of affordability.

Bank of America conducted a survey of homeowners and they concluded that 79% of Charlotte residents could see themselves staying in their current homes for the rest of their lives. Affordability could be one of the factors keeping people in their homes. Selling a home in this current market can be a tricky thing if you don’t already have a new home to move into. Lack of choices may keep many people from buying a new home as they can’t find exactly what they want. Competition with other buyers can also keep some buyers out of the market.

Trulia released a report on home affordability last week, defined as a debt-to-income ratio of 31%. They concluded that teachers, first responders, and restaurant workers would have a hard time buying the median priced home of $299,900 in the Charlotte area.

Dual income households have a distinct advantage when buying a home. Dual incomes can provide the means to purchase a home that otherwise might be out of your price range. This can really be helpful as prices are rising so dramatically in the Charlotte area. The risk of something happening to one of the incomes could put those households in a financial bind.

We will keep following these trends to see when buyers will have an easier time.