Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The next growth hot spot

Union County was the Charlotte region’s hot spot for growth from 1970 to 2000, with a 126 percent growth rate.

Mecklenburg was No. 2, at 96 percent, then Lincoln, 95 percent, and York at 93 percent. Cabarrus was at 76 percent growth, Iredell at 70.

But among the under-70-percent growth counties, will one of them leap to that hot-spot list in the coming decade? If so, which one?

Bill McCoy, retired director of the Urban Institute at UNC Charlotte and a savvy growth watcher from way back, has his prediction. What’s yours? Add your comments below.

Here are the under-70-percent growth counties (remember it’s for 1970-2000):
Catawba, 56 percent
Rowan 45 percent
Lancaster 42 percent
Stanly 36 percent
Cleveland 33 percent
Gaston 28 percent
Chester 14 percent
Anson 8 percent

McCoy’s pick: Lancaster County, because of the huge Sun City development. And, he says, “They are putting it to the developers more than you would expect a place like Lancaster County to do.” He means the county is requiring developers to pay for some of the things the development will make necessary, such as new fire stations, etc.

He also thinks eastern Gaston County will soar. “Newcomers don’t have those old notions about Gaston County,” he says. If you’re from Pennsylvania or another distant state, he says, “Belmont looks about as good as any other place.”

Another interesting fact from McCoy: In the Charlotte region, 41 acres a day – more than 30 [not three, as I mistakenly wrote Tuesday] football fields a day – are being converted from undeveloped to developed. That's every day.

9 comments:

Mike said...

Good. The more people the better. Less hicks.

Anonymous said...

Intelligent response Mike.

Rick said...

Just to take some of the fear-mongering out of Mary's statement that 41 acres a day are being developed in the Charlotte region, here is your frame of reference.

Acreage of Mecklenburg and Immediate Adjacent Counties:

Mecklenburg 546 mi² = 349440 acres
Union 640 mi² = 409600 acres
Gaston 364 mi² = 232960 acres
Lincoln 307 mi² = 196480 acres
Catawba 414 mi² = 264960 acres
Iredell 597 mi² = 382080 acres
Cabarrus 365 mi² = 233600 acres
Lancaster 555 mi² = 355200 acres
York 696 mi² = 445440 acres

Grand Total Acreage of Mecklenburg and Adjacent Counties = 2,869,760

Now, let's say only 33% of the acreage is already developed. (I'm pulling this out of the air, but it's probably not an over exaggeration on average for these counties.)

That means it would take 127 YEARS to develop all the remaining land in just Mecklenburg and the immediate surrounding counties.

It is probably even longer than that because I did not include the other counties mentioned by Mary's source. Her source may have also been including the counties of Rowan, Stanly, Cleveland, Chester, and Anson to come up with the scary 41 acres a day.

Rick said...

By the way, this is the same type of fear-mongering that environmentalists use when talking about drilling in ANWR.

They say 2000 acres will be used, and that sounds like a lot.

They fail to tell people that ANWR has 19.6 million acres, and that 2000 acres is only .01% of ANWR.

Anonymous said...

Great data, Rick.

Let's not also forget that 30% of ALL land in the US is currently owned by some government entity.

30 PERCENT!!!

Gee, where'd they get the money to buy and maintain all that land?

I say we sell it all and distribute the money to taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Union County will be the fastest growing in the near term. They currently have 20,000 new homes in the pipeline, more than Mecklenburg County.

I think Lnacaster is the hot spot as well.

As more businesses leave uptown and Mecklenburg County, that is where they will head for lower taxes (state and local) and cheaper land.

Some small banks are already leaving and heading to lancaster (HSBC, Lending Tree, and CitiBank's call center).

Charlotte is putting an awful lot of eggs in the Wachovia/BofA basket.

One of those companies leave uptown/MMecklenburg and that would be collapse for all the grand uptown plans. The condos are overbuilt, the streets are terrible, and there is no parking.

And when taxes at the state level and local level make Lancaster a more attractive option, you will see more defections.

Anonymous said...

well, to that last comment left by "anon", stating: "Some small banks are already leaving and heading to lancaster (HSBC, Lending Tree, and CitiBank's call center)." what you fail to REALIZE is that is a normal practice!

It's been happening all over, even in Charlotte, for decades. Those jobs that are being moved are strictly support jobs - that don't require high-des office space!

According to the Charlotte Chamber, you can lease office space in downtown for $23/s.f. However, in UNIVERSITY it can be as low as $13/sf.

Why do you think the First Union and Wachovia CIC depts (customer information centers) are located off of Harris Blvd??

Uptown is still a VERY desirable destination AND, once the population here continue to explode to over 15,000, (my current uptown neighbors number about 6,000) we will see a surge in growth of upscale retail, more grocery stores, better shops, etc. This part of town will become more and more of a destination ... no worries about the "imminent collapse".

QueenCity said...

"Uptown is still a VERY desirable destination AND, once the population here continue to explode to over 15,000, (my current uptown neighbors number about 6,000) we will see a surge in growth of upscale retail, more grocery stores, better shops, etc."

- Anonymous

Uptown is desirable for those who can afford to live there. Also, 15,000 is hardly enough residents to sustain any "upscale" retail. Besides, retailers know that South Park is the place to be so I think it's safe to say that there won't be any "upscale" retail entering uptown anytime soon.

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