Charlotte's Emerging North End

Uptown's North End industrial neighborhood is the site of new commercial and residential property.

In recent years, Charlotte’s growth has changed many of the traditional development patterns of its past. Once-neglected and overlooked areas have become more desirable because of the migration of newcomers. For plenty of people, the “wrong side of the tracks” doesn’t really exist today. Proximity to work, center city and other amenities has take over predisposed notions of what part of town is best to live in.

With the exception of denser growth in University City, most parts of north Charlotte are relatively unknown. Large swaths of industrial tracts, railroad centers, commercial buildings and aging strip-centers line the main roads through north Charlotte. Tryon Street, Statesville Avenue, Graham Street may sound familiar, but few of us probably have ventured there. Most of the small neighborhoods along those roads are known only to their residents. Crime and neglect have plagued many of these neighborhoods and Urban Renewal in the 1960’s destroyed much of the neighborhood fabric and displaced many of its residents as well.

North End Square

Bobby Drakeford of The Drakeford Company is taking the jump into North End full force. As a private developer building a non-public development, he may be the first of many to do so on this scale, but plenty of others are watching to see how his foray into the area goes. A developer typically wouldn’t build market-rate condos and townhomes in this area, but someone has to make the first move.

Drakeford’s project, known as North End Square, is an $18 million project on a 7-acre site at Statesville and Oaklawn Avenues. It’s located a few blocks north of the 277 underpass and the entrance to uptown from the north. Drakeford’s proximity to these major outlets will easily carry new development and new homeowners. The project is slated to have 78 townhomes and condos and 12,000 square feet of retail and shopping space. The retail component will include 10 retail slots on Statesville Avenue. Plans call for a sit-down restaurant, mail service company, dry cleaner, insurance company, pharmacy and cell phone retailer.

The Park at Oaklawn

Across Oaklawn Avenue from North End Square you’ll find The Park at Oaklawn. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership and the Charlotte Housing Authority completed this project, a mix of affordable and work-force priced apartments and single family homes. Located on the former site of the Fairview Homes public housing project, the $34.7 million federal grant has been a great success. Its success has triggered a second project. The Double Oaks Apartments will be an estimated $120 million project with 940 apartments, condos and townhomes, with 300 of those slated for low-income tenants. The first phase of the project (48 apartments) should start this summer.

Why North End?

What makes the North End corridor different than other areas its more projects. Like South End, this corridor has many large tracts and acreage that are currently vacant or in use for warehouse, storage or industrial. Most of these parcels won’t require moving residents out for redevelopment, a problem that often comes with trying to change an area. With an estimated 150 acres in the area suitable for redevelopment, this could be a substantial development zone and could create a new residential and mixed use neighborhood core in a previously overlooked part of town.

Scott Lindsley is a broker/realtor for Urban Realty in Charlotte, N.C.

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