Great reputation precedes opening of Seafood Connection

Great reputation precedes opening of Seafood Connection

Most new restaurants struggle to bring in a crowd and establish their reputation. Not so with Seafood Connection. That’s because chef and owner Jamie Walker has delighted diners for years with his Low Country-style seafood – long before he found a permanent restaurant home in University City. Seafood Connection opened in July at 630 University Center Blvd., overlooking West W.T. Harris Boulevard near I-85.   How popular? How popular is this place? Well, its Thanksgiving Sunday Seafood Brunch sold out in three hours, and Facebook says the Seafood Connection page has more than 44,000 likes! Yelp’s list top 10 seafood restaurants in charlotte ranks Seafood Connection at No. 3, and it’s only been open 5 months. How did Walker build this reputation? Through a pop-up restaurant. He started by serving food in parking lots, and then later at a church. For a brief time, he shared space with another restaurant on Albemarle Road.   Seafood Connection makes headlines You can learn much more about Seafood Connection and Jamie Walker from these three news reports. “Menu Hopping: Seafood Connection” – Spectrum News Charlotte, Oct. 12, 2018 “5 things you need to know about Seafood Connection” – Charlotte Agenda, April 24, 2018 “Is the best seafood in Charlotte served in a church parking lot?” – Charlotte Five, Nov. 1, 2016   About Seafood Connection 630 University Center Blvd., near McCullough Drive and West W.T. Harris Boulevard. Directions 980-498-6908 Open 11 am-9 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and Sundays 11 am-7 pm; Sunday brunch served 11 am-4 pm or until the food runs out. Website Yelp...
Dozens of new shops, restaurants and services open or coming

Dozens of new shops, restaurants and services open or coming

This has been a year of retail, dining and services growth for University City’s main business district, and much more is coming. Nearly 50 restaurants, shops, service businesses and recreational venues have opened or renovated since January or will open soon. Many centers are fully leased or nearly so; and a new retail center, The Pointe at University Place, is close to leasing out its 37,000 sf. Here’s the story. This year’s new arrivals For this report, we reviewed building permits and news reports, then drove through all of the retail centers along University City Boulevard and North Tryon Street. Restaurants – 20 are open or coming, including local originals such as Fusion Cafe at Grande Promenade, Famous Toastery at University Place, Ale’s University at the Terraces at University Place and Appalachia Cookies at the Target center. Six restaurants including Five Guys Burgers, City Barbecue and Dunkin Donuts have signed leases at The Pointe, the new retail center going up on North Tryon Street near the Clay Boulevard transit station. TGI Fridays recently completed a $350,000 renovation, while Showmars spent $250,000 to update its building. Earlier this year, Waffle House opened a brand-new restaurant on the site of its previous one, built in the 1970s on North Tryon Street. The new building is beside the University City Boulevard transit-station parking deck. Stores and services – 23 shops and services are open or coming. Belgate continues to attract national retailers, with the recent openings of TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory in a showcase position on University City Boulevard at IKEA Boulevard. Elsewhere, The Target Center is fully leased after adding...
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...