Search This Blog

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's Next for Charlotte?

July 12, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

As city's dazzle turns to dread, what's next?
The Charlotte Observer/DOUG SMITH
A lot of people are holding their breath in Banktown these days.
Troubled Wachovia Corp. has selected a new chief executive officer with impressive credentials, but he doesn't walk on water. Even as the announcement of former U.S. Treasury Department official Bob Steel's hiring came Wednesday, bank officials predicted second-quarter losses could reach $2.8 billion.
Wachovia's uptown neighbor, Bank of America, hasn't been immune either from the nation's sub-prime lending and financial markets turmoil. In Charlotte, I think we're starting to see bravado – “We're the nation's second-largest banking center” – give way to doubt and anxiety.
Wachovia and Bank of America are builders of the center city skyline, patrons of the arts, pillars of the economy.
If they falter, what happens to Charlotte?
Many worry that a weakened Wachovia could be acquired, losing its independence and hometown allegiance to Charlotte.
Real estate brokers say potential homebuyers who perceive their financial center jobs in doubt already are pulling back, wary of what might happen.
The uptown condo market in particular has thrived on a supply of young professionals, many of whom are employees of banks or in financial businesses tied to the growth of banks.
If hiring for those jobs wanes or if more layoffs come – and some say they already are under way – what happens?
Real estate developers believe there's little chance that a half a dozen or so residential towers proposed uptown – but not yet started – will get under way this year. Lenders will be skittish about financing them, they say, until the housing market shows solid signs of recovery.
Landlords in the office-leasing market are concerned, too.
One major office-condo-retail development – 300 South Tryon – was postponed earlier this year over worries that a bank slowdown could squelch office demand.
The city's big towers have filled with tenants in large part because the bank anchors pulled in law firms and other related vendors around them.
If the banks aren't growing, who leases the estimated 1 million-plus square feet of speculative office space expected to come on the market over the next two years?
Maybe the financial bleeding will stop, and everything will work out for Charlotte and the banks over the next year.
Some economists can see a turnaround coming possibly by mid-2009.
But in the meantime, nail biting has become the norm in Banktown.
The city's Hugh McColl Jr. swagger has faded.
Remember how the former Bank of America chairman used to dazzle stock market analysts in New York with the bank's next bold move?
Today, Charlotte's two big banks aren't dazzling.
They're too busy defending their actions to Wall Street analysts and fending off angry shareholders.
How quickly fortunes can be reversed. In Banktown, this is something we never thought we would see when our banking giants were flying high just over a year ago.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Friday, July 11, 2008

In Charlotte,Looking for a Sign...

July 11, 2008
The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Looking for a sign…

Today on the way to the inspections, I misplaced keys to a house I listed and sold in one day. Today, my computer guru came to install better safeguards for my main PC…and confessed he had sold all of his stock in October and that he is worried.Today I read the news that our man in the white house will take no steps toward global warning because it might adversely affect the economy. Today the news was changing minute by minute getting worse and worse. The last thing I read was the ice breaking up in Antarctica. And the last voice I heard before I walked out of my office was a client calling…worried about what is ahead.And it is still Friday. There is still a podcast to write.
What do I write about when so much seems to be melting away? What do I say when even I wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel?And opening MSNBC before I start to gather my thoughts, there is a headline about the religions of the world. The one featured is about the Whirling Dervishes. I laugh. My Mother used to say that when everything around us was highly energetic. And the laughter brought me back to myself. Grounded me on this struggling planet with its many selfish, narrow sighted people. Centered me in the moments of this week…children at a party, a little girl five who is already a spiritual woman, a little boy of eight who is enlightened, well read and engaging as he coaxed me out into his world.Best of all was the Charlotte Business Journal. I sat on my huge medicine ball that I use as my computer seat and flipped through this latest issue.
Get these story lines:
1. A new plan in play for Crosland Site. Green contest winners pitch range of options for development of 33 acre site on transit corridor and
2.Morehead Building under contract. High profile corner may be next in line for office development on rapidly changing corridor.
3. Business Groups Pitch In For Team. Knights gain business support in effort to sell tickets, sponsors for new uptown stadium
4. Jim Donnelly moving right along with luxury condo tower that will incorporate a renovated Carolina Theatre and set to break ground within 60 days…8 of the 20 are under contract priced from 1.7 million to 5.5 million dollars
5. Office market holding steady in turbulent economy
6. Research Campus Close to Key Hire for Core Lab Leader
7. Tough Time for Retailers but Family Dollar gains
8. Group Seeks Gay Friendly Climate at Nations’ Colleges
9. Solar Start Up to Invest 37 Million

All going on in Charlotte. Here was my report for this week. And I remembered on The RealEstateLady.Com website, on every page in small print, I have written, I am a part of Charlotte and Charlotte is a part of me. Through thick and thin…we move forward knowing the best is yet to come.

The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Specifics on South End Condos

July 10, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
More specifics on Condos in South End…Lynx spurs housing boom in South End
The Charlotte Observer, Nicole Bell

South End projects
Several residential projects are under way in South End along the light rail line. They include:
Silos at South End:
The first phase of the project at South Boulevard and Remount Road, is a $45 million investment including 113 residential units and 70,000 square feet of commercial space. The first phase is expected to open sometime in summer 2009.
This project located at South Boulevard and Ideal Way will feature 89 two-and three-level lofts. A revised plan also includes 56 condos with a skyline view. Developers hope the project will be completed by 2011.
Circle at South End: This 360-apartment building on South Boulevard at Bland Street is expected to be done in October 2009.
Ashton South End: Located at Camden Road and Tremont, Ashton South End will feature an 11-story residential building featuring about 300 upscale apartments. It's expected to open in February.
The number of people living in Historic South End is expected to triple in the next two years, reaching a population of about 7,000 residents, according to Charlotte Center City Partners.
The rush of residents comes as developers begin to complete several housing projects in the area.
Much of the growth, they say, is because of the light rail.
“It's very rare that you see an entire residential neighborhood established overnight,” said James Mathis III, director of Historic South End. “It'll be exciting to see all those people walking around in the area at 11 o'clock at night.”
Historic South End spans from Morehead Street on the north to Remount Road on the south. It's bordered by South Boulevard on the east and South Tryon Street on the west.
The area was a thriving manufacturing community in the 1850s. It declined when the textile industry faded in the '70s and '80s. Revitalization efforts in the '90s brought a crop of restaurants, shops and design-related industries. Many were interested in reusing the old mill buildings and warehouses.
The launch of light rail in November has also helped South End.
The projected growth would push South End close to Uptown's existing population of 10,800.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Out of this mess, perhaps something good...

July 9, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Out of this mess, perhaps something good, perhaps…
I liken the sub-prime mess to cleaning out my worst closet. Every single thing must come out…off all the shelves, out of boxes, pulled from racks, removed from hooks,to he very top where I find mittens and caps to the floor and the extra bag of batteries, an extension cord, a dog brush.All on the foyer floor, down the hall and some things stacked on the kitchen table…it is a magic closet because there is much more in it than I remembered, items forgotten some of them mine, some from guests, some…who left this anyway?
But the resemblance to the sub-prime ends there. I read an article today, I’ll quote, sometimes the rating agencies deviated from their own models and their own procedures.
The problems were serious enough to cause concern among employees of the agencies themselves as cited by internal e-mails uncovered in the SEC review.Among the conflicts of interest cited in the SEC report were the practice of companies that issue the securities paying the rating agencies for their work.The rating agencies have had to downgrade thousands of securities backed by mortgages as home-loan delinquencies have soared and the value of those investments has plummeted. The downgrades have contributed to hundred of billions in losses and write downs at major banks and investment firms.And then this, speaking Tuesday to a mortgage lending forum Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that many of today’s unusually high number of foreclosures are not preventable. There is little public policymakers can, or should, do to compensate for untenable financial decisions. And those very words signal that our problems are not mere closets. There are many layers…some were players, some are innocent bystanders.The players who invested lost money. Others lost their money and their homes.Some things never go back in the closet. For now. Many of us are weighing the details, looking at footprints, asking ourselves and others how can we do better, be better as real estate professionals. And some don’t care. They never did. It is just hard sometimes to tell us apart.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The 74/26 Vantage Point

July 8, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

The 74/26 Vantage Point…
For as long as I have lived in this place, almost 55 years now, the magic is palpable…even though some uptown projects may be stalled or stopped, in spite of our neighboring counties being over whelmed with the energetic growth and lack of infrastructure…and the growling complaints of traffic and the on-going grumpiness about the school system…take a look from my vantage point:
South End
I read with delight how the number of residents in Historic South End is expected to triple in the next two years. Two years! In two years it will reach a population of about 7,000 according to Charlotte Center City Partners.The growth comes as developers complete several housing projects in the area. Observers say the communities will create a residential district where none existed, triggering a second wave of retail, restaurant and entertainment venues.
Much of the growth, they say, is because of the light rail.
Historic South End spans from Morehead Street on the north to Remount Road on the south. Its east side is bordered by South Boulevard; its west side bordered by South Tryon Street.
Breath of Fresh Forest Air
That is the caption under the photo of Naturalist Laura Domingo leading visitors on a morning hike at Ribbonwalk Urban Forest in Northern Charlotte . The forest includes 192 acres of woodlands and wetlands with several miles of nature trails and a variety of native flora and fauna.
Northeast Light Rail
The public will get a chance this week and next to offer more input on the proposed Northeast Corridor light-rail line, which could be running between the uptown area and northeast Mecklenburg County by late 2015.
On the West Side
Just west of uptown, Wesley Heights is somewhat of a secret despite a dramatic revitalization in recent years. Developed around 1920, the neighborhood is a designated historic district that offers a great view of the city’s skyline. In addition to the historic district, Wesley Heights also is home to newer developments such as Lela Court and Walnut Hill which have drawn young professionals. Other developments such as Skybridge Terrace, Wesley View and Celadon are also being built.
Some say the market is down 26%...the above is a view from the 74%...we keep rowing.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our Neighbors in Union County Are Making Lemonade

July 7, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Our Neighbors in Union County Are Making Lemonade…

MONROE -Developers looking to build in Union County have been running
into a serious roadblock: permits for sewer and water are not easy to come by.
Due to the rapid growth and the inability for infrastructure to keep up, many
developers are having trouble securing sewer permits. Drought conditions have
also forced a moratorium on water permits. Officials have some ideas for ad-
dressing the county's sewer and water needs, but some of the required projects
could take up to 15 years.
The problem has already slowed development in what has recently been among
the nation's fastest-growing counties. Union County experienced immense growth and most public officials agree there was too much growth without enough infrastructure to support it. Today county's sewer system is operating is at capacity, meaning it cannot safely handle any extra Wastewater. Water could be at capacity, but in dry times they areon restriction.
Allan Baucom, chairman of the Union County Board of Commissioners, explained that the reason behind this was "pretty straightforward." He said that, "there have been previous boards and previous paid officials that have allowed the capacity to be utilized without creating additional capacity."
Baucom explained that when he took office in 2006, "I knew there were sewer
challenges ...I just didn't know we were absolutely out."
The county's primary wastewater facility, 12 Mile Creek, near Waxhaw , was
built in the 1980s, for what was a much-less-populated Union County.
Last year, the state rejected 30 sewer permits for various construction projects
around the county, including residential developments, two hospitals and other
commercial developments. Sewer space was then allocated to those projects based on a tiered priority plan and so construction on many of those projects has moved forward.
The Downturn buys time...
The slow economy might actually be a good thing in this instance. Union County Manager Al Greene noted that due to the economy, he's not sure they would have as much development as they'd had in the recent past, even if the sewer and water permits weren't an issue. He said the slowing market gives them time to negotiate and work on building their infrastructure, and perhaps by the time the market picks up they'll be in a position to move forward. Greene said that while this is not a good situation to be in, this is probably the best time to have this problem - while the economy is slowing and demand is down. He said there is "never a good time to have these capacity challenges that we have," but with the current market conditions, now is "probably as good a time as any ."
This report from The Mecklenburg Times/Carolyn Steeves

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC