Survey offers strong support for town center at University Place

Survey offers strong support for town center at University Place

A new survey offers surprising and encouraging results about the potential for development near the Clay Boulevard light-rail station, says Tobe Holmes with University City Partners. Among the surprises: Demand for 3-bedroom housing is “off the map,” and the highest income group in Charlotte is couples with one person working uptown and the other in University City. “I think it shows the power of University City being Charlotte’s second largest employment center, and the high quality of its employers,” said Holmes, UCP’s planning and development director. Both those numbers and a wealth of other data from the survey and other sources will help shape a development plan for the half-mile area around the JW Clay Boulevard Station and 800-space parking deck beside University Place. University City Partners and six major property owners are creating the development plan for the area within a 10-minute walk of the light-rail station – ground zero for transit-oriented development in most parts of the country. The line between UNC Charlotte and uptown begins operation next summer. Can this be our city center? While the city of Charlotte can create incentives to encourage growth, the ultimate creators of a future town center will be the major property owners, private developers and investors – if they see the potential for profit. The plan seeks to assess the best possibilities success and offer ways to maximize the potential development over the next decade by finding the ideal mix of shops, restaurants, offices, community services and housing – since each component affects the others. Highly positive survey findings What sorts of development might Charlotte residents support now and...
Retail experts share plans for IKEA, Concord Mills and University Place

Retail experts share plans for IKEA, Concord Mills and University Place

Three experts in University’s retail scene offered a glimpse of the future recently at the Charlotte Chamber University City Chapter’s luncheon forum on retail trends. At IKEA, store manager Chris Nace looks forward to the coming of light-rail service and the increasing number of shoppers arriving by train. At Concord Mills, mall manager Ray Soporowski says that the many changes under way at the mall or coming soon are all about strengthening Concord Mills as the region’s top family-friendly entertainment venue. At University Place and the adjacent JW Clay Boulevard Transit Station, Tobe Holmes, planning director for University City Partners, says that the new shops going in at two light-rail parking decks and at University Place reflect the first step toward University City’s transit-powered urban future. “I always get asked, ‘Where is the city?'” Holmes told the gathering at the Charlotte Hilton University Place, a short walk from the Clay Boulevard light-rail station. “Well, the city will be right here where we are sitting.” Chamber invited group to discuss retail trends Nace, Soporowski and Holmes were invited by the Chamber chapter to take part in a brief forum on retail developments in University City. More than 60 people came to the Hilton on Aug. 11 to hear them. Together the three men represent the world’s largest home-furnishings retailer (IKEA), the state’s most popular tourist attraction (Concord Mills); University City’s groundbreaking mixed-use center (University Place); and North Carolina’s first suburban Municipal Service District (University City). Here are the key points of their comments IKEA Question: What influence will the coming LYNX light-rail line have on IKEA’s business? “What we are looking at going forward, when...
Belgate continues to add shops, services and apartments

Belgate continues to add shops, services and apartments

Belgate shopping center – home to the only IKEA store in the Carolinas – continues to add tenants. The 156-acre retail hub at I-85’s University City Boulevard exit has construction under way for two national retailers, a hotel and a 266-unit apartment community. More is coming. Here are the details: Retail Neighboring stand-alone stores for TJ Maxx (22,000 sf) and Burlington (50,000 sf) are under construction on Parcel B at IKEA and University City boulevards. The parcel also has two outparcels near the intersection, with one planned as a restaurant. Opening dates for TJ Maxx and Burlington: fall 2016. A Circle K convenience store is nearing completion at 7010 University City Blvd., just east of the I-85 interchange. Culver’s restaurant, a Midwestern restaurant chain noted for its burgers and frozen custard, has announced that it will open its first NC restaurant at 7031 University City Blvd., beside the Zaxby’s restaurant. The property sold in January. Construction is planned to start this spring or early summer. Sleepy’s, a specialty mattress retailer, opened in November at 7850 Tyner St. The property overlooks University City Blvd. Hospitality Construction has started on a 104-room Holiday Inn Express. Eastern Hospitality purchased the 8.7-acre site on IKEA Boulevard at University Pointe Boulevard in July 2015. The opening is planned for late this year. Services Taylor/Theus Holdings has begun building a 108,000 sf, three-story ExtraSpace Storage facility on University City Boulevard near North Tryon Street. Construction cost is estimated at $7.4 million. The Charlotte Business Journal Report reported last week that the Columbia, S.C.-based developer is adding nearly 400,000 sf of self-storage space in Charlotte this year. SEE...
See our construction boom in photos

See our construction boom in photos

From a new I-85 bridge to the Famous Toastery restaurant at University Place, construction crews have been busy across our central business district – and that doesn’t even count interior renovations you can’t see, the Blue Line Extension or numerous projects at UNC Charlotte. We’ve put together this photo guide of the action, organized by segments of our municipal service district. You can get detailed information on all of the major construction, renovations, transportation projects and property sales over the last two years in the University City Partners 2016 Economic Development Report. To view download the full report, CLICK HERE. David Taylor Drive at Senator Royall Place – Duke Energy office Research Drive northwest of David Taylor Drive – Duke Energy office 8310 Technology Drive – Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse corporate headquarters 8709 JW Clay Blvd in old Walmart building – Fitness Connection and new retail space 8933 JM Keynes Drive at University Place – Famous Toastery 535 Collins-Aikman Drive – Fairfield Inn 625 McCullough Drive – Home2 Suites by Hilton 640 University Center Blvd – Hyatt Place Hotel IKEA Blvd north of University Pointe Blvd – Sovereign at Belgate Apartments I-85 at University Pointe Blvd – I-85 South Bridge 6020 University Pointe Blvd – Holiday Inn Express 5808 University Pointe Blvd – Goodwill store 8331 IKEA Blvd – TJ Maxx 8325 IKEA Blvd – Burlington Coat Factory 7010 University City Blvd – Circle K 7040 N. Tryon St. – Circle K 103 Stetson Dr. at North Tryon Street – Waffle House 7307 University City Blvd – Extra Place Storage North Tryon Street at Mallard Creek – New...
Angry Ale’s expands to University City

Angry Ale’s expands to University City

A popular South Charlotte restaurant-bar has discovered University City. Angry Ale’s, known for tasty bar food and, of course, beer, opened a second restaurant in December, Ale’s University, at the Terraces at University Place on North Tryon Street. The original Angry Ale’s has operated on Montford Drive for 15 years. Both locations are owned by longtime Charlotte restaurateur Andy Henson. The new Ale’s University, located near the Flying Saucer, is a full-service restaurant and bar offering 15 draught beers on tap, many of them from regional breweries. Catch the 49ers and other games on 75-inch TVs. A 1,500-square-foot covered patio is under construction. Tasty food; 49er discounts The extensive menu includes a dozen appetizers, a dozen burger choices, salads, sliders, 14 sandwich plates and dinner plates such as Cody’s Jambalaya, Hogback Ribs and Ale’s Sirloin. Angry Ale’s University offers discounts to UNC Charlotte students and frequently posts food and beverage specials on Twitter. Early reviews on the dining website Yelp.com praise the drink specials and food selection. “Great to have a real neighborhood bar in the area – and it’s from the guys that run the always fun Angry Ales on Montford Drive, “Rich” posted two weeks ago. Learn more Angry Ale’s, 9601 N. Tryon St. in the Terraces at University Place...
Online retailer Givingstream helps shoppers give back

Online retailer Givingstream helps shoppers give back

Looking for a unique gift that will share some warmth? Help educate a child? Improve health in the Third World? Givingstream, an online store with strong ties to University City, invites us to visit, learn and, hopefully, buy gifts that give back. “Our idea was to create this really cool shopping experience where people can buy goods and do good at the same time,” says co-founder Genia Rogers. Through its online shopping site as well as event sales, Givingstream promotes the products and missions of a wide selection of conscious retailers. Each company provides a share of its revenues or profits to support a particular mission. Choose from among several neckties, for instance, and Knots Apparel Co. will donate 50% of the profit to help end the water crisis in central Nicaragua. Buy an Esperos backpack or tote, and the company will donate 10% of the purchase price to help fund a child’s education in the Third World. Your purchase can help in Charlotte, too. Just in time for winter weather, Givingstream is partnering with blanket retailer Sackcloth & Ashes to help Charlotte’s homeless. For every blanket you buy through Givingstream, Sackcloth & Ashes will donate one fleece blanket to area charities for distribution to their homeless clients. A different way to help nonprofits Rogers says that the idea for Givingstream came out of her background in finance, her work with nonprofit groups, and her family’s strong belief in helping others. Her husband, University City businessman Rob Rogers, has been the driving force behind University City Connect, which seeks community support for the four Governors Village schools in University...