Monday, September 29, 2008

How Wachovia sale affects Charlotte growth

No one knows, of course, what the loss of Wachovia bank from Charlotte will mean long-term. Will it stop the tower under construction? I think that's unlikely. But an oversupply of office space may cause uptown rents to sink. Call it "affordable housing for offices."


(Note, Wachovia Corp. will remain headquartered here, but it won't own the retail bank.)

Here's one early assessment, from UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute director Jeff Michael:

"It just seems to me, as someone who gets paid in part to observe Charlotte and its progress, that something significant and historic just happened here about which we can't even begin to predict the consequences. 

"On the one hand, we may have just witnessed the beginning of the end of Charlotte's upward trajectory, or alternatively, we may be getting ready to see just how resilient this city really is. Either way, it's going to be a major story that unfolds over many years, and not just over the next six months."

Lots of us are wondering whether that huge 48-story Wachovia office tower under construction will ever be finished.  I bet it is. 

Here's what we know:
  • Of its 1.5 million square feet, the bank was to have taken about half. 
  • Duke Energy is the second largest tenant of the 48-story building, leasing about 240,000 square feet
  • In June the bank announced Deloitte LLP, the accounting and consulting firm, would lease about 82,000 square feet – third largest tenant. 
  • Wake Forest's Babcock Graduate School of Management is another anchor tenant. 
  • In June, Wachovia said the building was fully leased.

113 comments:

Jibreel Riley said...

Dont worry Charlotte, more Upstate New Yorkers will be willing to relocate to fill the vacancies

General Sherman said...

^ Great

Anonymous said...

Charlotte desperately needs to diversify its economy.

Anonymous said...

I read that the Citi's retail banking would be headquartered in Charlotte. If this is true then couldn't this be a net positive for Charlotte? Especially with the recent direction of investment banking.

Anonymous said...

Mary Newsom should wake up and smell the coffee. The retail bank will not be headquartered in Charlotte. It will be here until it can be merged in with Citi's other branches. There will be large job losses. The 'arts' package is in trouble because Wachovia was building the facilities. I doubt that Citi acquired that obligation or will make good on it and the 'new wachovia won't have the money to complete it.

James said...

The office tower should be fine, as the arts projects. The proposed Wachovia condo tower is most likely history. With Charlotte having one of the lowest downtown office vacancy rates in the country, we could see some companies jump at the opportunity to have a nice presence in uptown.

Mary Newsom said...

Speaking of diversifying the economy, if you haven't read the 2008 Citistates Report, from Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson, now's a good time. It's at www.charlotteobserver.com/citistates.

To "anonymous 12:22," I didn't write about whether the retail bank would remain headquartered in Charlotte. The press release says it will. But of course, things can change.

Chaucer Wells said...

It's a good thing that we can count on the billions of dollars in tourist revenue that the Nascar Hall of Fame will bring in.

Heh. Heh. Ugh.

Rev. Mike said...

Mary, I'd be interested to hear your take on the broader community impact. You talk about whether or not the new tower will be finished and what the impact will be on office rents downtown. What about the potential effect on local residential real estate? What about the effect on property taxes when people are paying based on revaluations that did not anticipate any of this? What, in turn, does that do to our tax base? What does that imply about our ability to meet basic services and to pay for the increased debt service we've envisioned? What do you think is going to happen to the bond referenda once people begin to take stock of all this?

Anonymous said...

With the investment banking moving to NYC, it takes with it a nice chunk of excessive bonus money that finds its way into Charlotte's economy.

Maybe this will help curtail some of the obscene McMansions that are cannibalizing our urban neighborhoods. South Dilworth is way overstocked with speculative monster-sized garbage that is sitting empty. There seems to be one of these vacant eyesores for sale on every street corner.

The perfect combination of more-money-than-taste, deep pockets, and an overcompensating inferiority complex will be a hard demographic to replace.

Anonymous said...

The great Ponzi scheme has been unravelled, and the ones at the top escapred w/ countless millions!! To top that look at who's on every major board in this region- bankers and the crooks that have caused the beginning of the 2nd Great Depression. I guess the saying " a fool and his money are soon parted", we the US citizens are fools!!

P said...

Thousands of peple are going to lose their jobs and all you morons can think of is the fate of a building, Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Surely this will help correct the artificially high housing prices in some neighborhoods. Perhaps then, the average joe can get a house in a decent area agian.

As for Wachovia, it's time for the Chamber to bring in some non-banking companies. Who's next?

Anonymous said...

As a Lehman guy living through this right now I think you can expect to lose about 10,000 jobs. Citi is a monster - they don't need the people - remember what they wanted were "assets".

If you work for Wachovia get your resume ready and prepare to move - BofA isn't in any position to hire the excess.

Anonymous said...

On top of Wachovia, B of A has quietly moved key people to New York in the last 2 years.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Charlotte from 1992-1998, working for First Union. I could see then the excess and the inane mergers, the arrogance, the 'my tower is greater than your tower' culture that existed in those days. NationsBank versus First Union. Who was winning?

Generally disgruntled with the Charlotte scene, I left to move back home to NJ for career opportunity. I saw the Golden West acquisiton in the press and couldn't believe it. At the height of the real estate market. Maybe Charlotte real estate didn't booming as the rest of the nation had. So short-sighted, so naive. California was the worst possible place to pick up a mortgage lender. Evenone knew it, it was in the WSJ.

Now, in 2008, I work for a AAA rated investment firm, not a bank, not an investment bank and I live in one of the most desirable towns in the county, per Money Magazine. Good decision-making? Absolutely.
I only shudder to think what might have happened to me and my job had I stayed in Charlotte. Even in those days, it was commonly said in quiet banking circles - nothing better happen to either bank or Charlotte is in big trouble.

Self-inflicted? Absolutely. This makes Corestates and the Money Store look like smart deals.

Welcome to the rest of your life.

Good luck in the Queen City!

Anonymous said...

There goes the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Obviously they are going to move people to NY. Charlotte is an overgrown country town full of jesus freaks. Educated and cultured people don't want to live here.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Charlotte from 1992-1998, working for First Union. I could see then the excess and the inane mergers, the arrogance, the 'my tower is greater than your tower' culture that existed in those days. NationsBank versus First Union. Who was winning?

Generally disgruntled with the Charlotte scene, I left to move back home to NJ for career opportunity. I saw the Golden West acquisiton in the press and couldn't believe it. At the height of the real estate market. Maybe Charlotte real estate didn't boom as the rest of the nation did. So short-sighted, so naive. California was the worst possible place to pick up a mortgage lender. Evenone knew it, it was in the WSJ.

Now, in 2008, I work for a AAA rated investment firm, not a bank, not an investment bank and I live in one of the most desirable towns in the country, per Money Magazine. Good decision-making? Absolutely.

I only shudder to think what might have happened to me and my job had I stayed in Charlotte. Even in those days, it was commonly said in quiet banking circles - nothing better happen to either bank or Charlotte is in big trouble.

Self-inflicted? Absolutely. Welcome to the rest of your life.

Good luck in the Queen City!

Rob said...

I think Charlotteans are in denial about this.We just can't believe this has just happened to our city. Anyway you look at there is nothing good about it other than maybe more affordable homes for first time buyers and newcomers. This is a major blow to this city.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what all the rednecks here want. If these economists are right, growth may slow considerably and they can finally have their crappy, old Charlotte back! All you natives should be so happy!

Anonymous said...

Can anybody say "Detroit"?

Douglass said...

Will it now be called Wach-Citi?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Well at least we got rid of one ya Anonymous. BTW which exit is it you live off of?

You really shouldn't worry about us dumb ol' rednecks down here. As one of the few native Charlotteans remaining I have seen the rise and fall of several "Anchor" businesses in my 45 years. Charlotte has always been a town continually searching to grow. Years ago Charlotte was a hub for the textile industry, from that it grew into a trucking and rail hub. Duke Power was and still is a major player in this area.

Ahead of the demise of the textile industry Charlotte's movers and shakers sought to diversify and brought in IBM and other computer businesses. Then when deregulation hit the banking industry NCNB (now BofA) took off and First Union and Wachovia followed suit.

This town has seen its ups and downs but remember it has always grown. Sometimes in fits and starts and other times in great bursts. We're just stepping back and taking a breath for now. History tells us that we should get ready for the next big jump!

Meanwhile, enjoy your great life there in the garden state. I just hope you're not that close to the (poisonous) garden districts of Earl or Jersey City! And rest assured you have made at least one Charlotte native very happy. Now, if you could just get the rest of the arrogant yankees to go back it would really be a perfect city!

PS: To all the transplants that have come here and learned that the way of life down here isn't all that bad and don't continually harp on how life was better "up north" I bid you welcome and would like to say we're glad to have you!

Anonymous said...

All you doom and gloomers are worthless. What the fall of Wachovia should do is underscore the need to increase the diversity of industry in the area. There are still plenty of skilled professionals in the area, and much about the region to draw interest. Anyone who has moved here from the rust belt will tell you that you have no idea what it really means for your city to be in the crapper.

Anonymous said...

"Overgrown country town full of jesus freaks"

Is it just me or is that the biggest compliment I've heard about Charlotte in a long time?

Anonymous said...

I live in Southern NJ, no exits near me. That's northern NJ gumbo. Haven't regreted leaving Charlotte for one minute. Nice Fall weather, stability, high incomes, no crime, nice people, great schools, GOOD FOOD, great entertainment and Philly a short train ride away is all I need. Charlotte is a $300 flight away and I've been back several times since.

Charlotte has never gone through what it about to go through. Years of difficult times ahead. Gas lines? None in NJ.

Listen, Charlotte was a nice place to be when times were good, I just wanted more $$ and more opportunity. My point was this day of reckoning was predictible.

Traffic has gotten much worse in the Queen City, it has become a more transient place, too many people looking for too few jobs. Magnify that times 10 or 20. It will become an even more dangerous city than the 90s.

Good luck to the Queen City!

ps. Two best things in Charlotte - The Scoreboard and Mama Lena's....oops they're not around anymore.

Anonymous said...

I am happy to be in a country town of jesus freaks - better than being in a town of anything else.

But I am appalled at the worry about buildings, arts, etc... People will lose their jobs - lots of them, and in reality nothing matters more than people. This will be an ugly and streesful time for many of us.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that's definately a compliment... We're doing something right!

Anonymous said...

But how will this effect the Observer and the Center City Partners?

Anonymous said...

"""This is exactly what all the rednecks here want. If these economists are right, growth may slow considerably and they can finally have their crappy, old Charlotte back! All you natives should be so happy!"""

If by "crappy, old Charlotte back" you mean the one where people took pride in themselves and their homes and took the time to make sure they looked the best they could no matter their station in life, or the Charlotte that had a crime rate so low we didn't have to lock our doors at night, and where when people waved as you passed by the first thought that went through your mind was "how nice" instead of "What do they want?"

Then the answer is YES! I'd gladly go back to that time, before all the idiots from up north came down here paying too much for everthing, driving up prices and moving into homes that were palaces compared to the hovels they had up north when they don't have the taste or good sense to know to take care of them! And then whine when their adjustable rate mortgage went up because they were too stupid to understand that interest rates change!

See, we "natives" aren't quiet as stupid as you obviously believe us to be. Remember, we're the ones making the money by charging you "brilliant" yankees too much for everything!

So let the economy slow around here. Maybe then MS13, the Bloods and Crips, and all the other moronic gang-types will move on to the next town and maybe the east side of Charlotte wont need an interpreter to be understood, and maybe, just maybe, the construction standards will improve and all the tasteless yankees will run back to their rivers that burn, where rampant crime is the order of the day and they can enjoy their overcrowded rowhouse crapholes they crawled out of content in the certainty of their supposedly superior way of life!

To ALL ya'll that think life was better up north I beg you to remember . . . I-85 and I-77 run north as well as south and for God's sake don't let the door hit youse on da way out!

Anonymous said...

As a native New Yorker and a so called "damn yankee" in Charlotte, I am worried today. I find it funny how these boards tunr into platforms for people to just complain or be rude.

Charlotte will lose many many jobs, but the remainder of the country is going to lose many as well. This ripples from this will be felt nationwide.

The retail bank will remain in Charlotte. Anyone who knows anything about the major banks in this country knows Citi has always lagged behind in the retail/deposit network. When was the last time anyone saw a citibank branch in Charlotte.

That will stem some of the crisis, but the big money bonuses are gone and this should cause a housing correction. There will be more projects left unfinished, much like the Uptown "Park" high rise.

We as a community will either finally come together or fray and divide. If it becomes the latter, we could very well be the next Detroit.

Anonymous said...

From what I'm reading here, not only is Charlotte going to lose lot's of jobs that have helped to stimulate the cities economy, but it is a city full of racists and ignorant people. Maybe that should be Charlotte's new motto!

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that BofA and ML have merged as well. A lot of moving parts but with this goliath still headquartered in Charlotte as well as the potential retail goliath of Citi/Wachovia, things might not be all doom and gloom unless you're a Wach Inv Banker.

d from ct said...

Charlotte is an ok place - I lived there from 1995-2000 before retreating back North. It has its problems - NYC does too.

Creating job diversity is a generational task - not something that'll happen next month, next year, or even next decade. Anything meaningful will take 20 years.

Look at the rust belt cities. They put all of their eggs into a single basket - be it steel or automobiles. Charlotte chose retail banking and given today's times now that industry looks to be headed into a death spiral.

I'd expect dramatic layoffs at Wachovia and a huge hit to real estate prices and the "growth engine" that seems to give birth to endless retail and commercial projects.

Charlotte's been immune to all of this for so long - welcome back to reality.

Anonymous said...

All I want to know is Tiger still coming to town next spring for the Wachovia PGA event?

Anonymous said...

Most of these comments are truly pathetic. Our city - and whether you were born here, transferred here, or chose Charlotte for opportunity, it is now your city - has taken a huge blow today and all you want to post about are exits on the Jersey turnpike, Jesus freaks, and letting the screen door hit you on the way out. Please concentrate on what is happening around you and try to be sensible folks. Insults are harmful to all of us. My parents survived the depression, WWII, McCarthyism and the Cold War. From them I learned resilience, belief in the triumph of human ingenuity and the glory of simple living. For all of you for whom today's announcements inspire fear and disbelief I beg you to find an 85 year old mentor who will help you navigate the new waters of your reality.

Rev. Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Mike said...

But I am appalled at the worry about buildings, arts, etc... People will lose their jobs - lots of them, and in reality nothing matters more than people. This will be an ugly and streesful [sic] time for many of us.

It seems to me that the title of this post was "How Wachovia sale affects Charlotte growth," not "How Wachovia sale affects its employees." If you want to know how this all affects real, everyday people, my original questions regarding the broader economic impact to all of the downstream affected parties still stand, i.e., the support services sector, real estate, city and county government spending plans that were "sky's the limit" when everyone thought the kegger would go on forever. That, too, is real people, depending on government services and public schools, being affected by all of this.

Brian said...

It is less the 12 hours since the acquisition was announced. The fact is, many people in our country and city do not seem to have any true financial background. Much of their beliefs are crafted by what is on the mass media outlets. Unfortunately, this leads to many of these irrational and inaccurate comments listed throughout this blog.

The deal will take months and years to unfold. Have you forgot the largest brokerage firm was just bought by B of A14 days ago. Did you know that Citi's retail banking group job account is possibly higher then Wachovia's investment banking division?

Did you know that Charlotte's top two job providers are not banks? I agree, more diversification is needed, but we are not at dooms day. This city still has the opportunity to be one of the greatest american stories of this century!

Anonymous said...

Charlotte has been a city trying to be the best at everything, and it has had an ego to match. This event will change the way Charlotte feels about itself, for a while. But Charlotte still has a great business and social climate and great companies, and consequently the city will rebound, albeit with a smaller ego.

Anonymous said...

The comment by 9/29/08, 3:04pm is about the smartest and most sensical thing said today.

Anonymous said...

The latest I've heard is that the Charlotte operations of Wachovia stand to lose in the neighborhood of 5000 jobs. That's alot of individuals to begin with not to mention the added number of family members that will be affected by this.

But lets understand this completely, the Charlotte metro region has a current population of around 1,675,495. That means that approximatly 0.003% of the population are directly affected by this. That's three one thousandenths of one percent,okay, lets add in some family and bump up the number another 0.003% for a grand total of six one thousandenths of one percent, not necessarily as cataclysmic as some might lead us to believe, tho for those poor souls themselves I, having been laid off before myself and now staring in the face the possibility of it happening again, know this is a tremendous upset in their lives and I wish them luck.

Finance related jobs in this market only represent around 5% (if that) of jobs in total. So lets make a worst case Wild-A..-Guess and say one half of one percent of the jobs in this area will be affected . . . wow! Totally underwhelmed am I!

For all the end-of-the-worlders out there get a grip! The city of Charlotte is not going to close the doors and roll up the welcome mat and dig a hole and jump in it over this. We've weathered a down turn in the economy several times in the past and will surely do so this time!

It just seems to me that all the doom and gloom are coming from folks who seem to have had things like this happen to them in the past and are running scared with all the "woe is me" talk. Grow up! Yeah you might have to take a job that is "beneath" you to get by but it sure beats starving!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Charlottean, not a native, but Charlotte has been my home for the last 10+ years. The people here are beautiful. I'm a northener, but please don't generalize us all. I love this city. It is my home. Though I was not born here, like many, I planted my flag here, my roots are here. Came here to attend school, loved the place and decided to stay. I hate to see this happening to such a wonderful place, I just pray that rather than tear eachother down and divide along racial / geographical lines, we can come together and pick up the pieces and move on. To all of the Wachovia workers who have families to feed, bills to pay, and are just like the rest of us out here trying to make it, my prayers are with you. Have Faith in the Most High and remember, your job may be loss, but you don't have to surrender your dignity.

~ LMA said...

As a native, I mightily resent Anonymous 1:19's implication that I'm dancing on the graves of the soon-to-be-unemployed. I care deeply about the fate all of the families that will be affected by this merger before it ... regardless of regional accent.

We shouldn't even be discussing this. No matter where we come from, what's happening now impacts us all. We're no better than the lawmakers in Washington, apparently.

Anonymous said...

I just love the posts from around 3 pm, this is not the end of this city,and people should not be so disencouraging,cheer up,folks!

Uncle Dennis said...

The sky isn't falling, in fact, it is sunny outside. Philly didn't fold when Corestates disappeared, neither did San Francisco when BOA was purchased.

Shocking, sure, especially when last week Wachovia was going to merge with Morgan Stanley.

Some facts still remain. Northern cities are losing population. Charlotte is gaining population, and the 40,000 or so people moving here are not all bankers. They are coming here because the general healthy economy, and a general detereation of infrastructure where the tax base can not afford to pay for the needs.

As the new financial world shapes up, a key factor will be controlling expenses. To think that our expense base is even close to New York would be a mistake. Brokerage jobs are different, they normally earn their own way. Charlotte is a significantly attractive location to continue operations, other financial concerns will also look this way. Fifth Third is one example.

So, we were driving downfield, and the quarterback threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by the opposition.

The game is not over.

Growth will slow for the next few years, but not die.

UD

Anonymous said...

Ballantyne mini-castles for sale - CHEAP, will throw in the Hummer and the Suburban

Anonymous said...

You're in denial - Charlotte's a mess. I suggest you all go to that big freakish temple and pray for bankers jobs. And some gas.

Anonymous said...

Marty Floyd says, " Will it be the Citi Bank Championship now at Quail Hollow instead of the Wachovia Championship..........I thought they had a long standing deal?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in this region of the country and came to Charlotte almost 10 years ago. It was heartbreaking to hear what has happened to Wachovia and the employees, who are just hard working people trying to make a living. We have been clamoring for a more diverse industry base, and hopefully this is the catalyst to get our city leaders to really fight for that. To all of the posters who have done nothing but mock the city and its inhabitants, I would suggest you not count us out yet. If people want to spend money on large houses and fancy cars, that's their business. Jealous much? It's never bothered me. But I'd hate to think that you find it funny that ANYONE may be potentially experiencing a devastating financial loss.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,you are nasty. Those of us who call Charlotte home believe and understand that we are a strong nation and Charlotte is part of that strength. Uncle dennis is right we are still a very attractive city.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is off-topic, but it must be said. Charlotte WAS a craphole years ago! Downtown was dead and crime ridden! Most surrounding neighborhoods such as South End, NoDa, Wesley Heights and even parts of Dilworth were also crime ridden with empty buildings and parking lots! There was nothing to eat but Quincy's and fast food! There was no decent shopping! There was no sense of individuality but a lot of conformity! Hell no I don't want to go back to the old Charlotte! Of course you hicks would like that but most intelligent people realize Charlotte is much better now. I know we will get through this and be even stronger. I really don't think this is as bad as people are making it out to be.

Anonymous said...

Us "yankees" aren't going anywhere! We helped build this city too! Whether you like it or not, people will continue to move here from ALL over the country. Charlotte will continue to grow and prosper and if you don't like it maybe YOU should consider taking 77 or 85 somewhere else!

Watchdog said...

Boy how things change, I remember all the Wachovia saying a year ago it will never be us, we do the buying, ha ha, suck it up it has happened to many others here, airline, pharma, Get out your resume and start looking, cause you guys are not buying anyone!

J said...

To big to quick. How many would yearn for the days when First Union and NCNB were the dominant regional banks and run by and managed by old school bankers like McColl, Crutchfield, Dunn,..... Oh happy days.....are gone!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Charlotte for 15 years. It was then and will always be a beautiful, thriving city. Charlotte will weather whatever storms come its way whether they are hurricanes or bank failures. And it does so because of the people who live there. No matter where I live, Charlotte will always be home to me. My best wishes go out to everyone who is there facing uncertainty about their jobs and/or homes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:34, you don't know much about math. .003 is roughy 1/3 of 1 percent. Factor in families and an average 3 person household and 1 percent of the area is directly affected. I'm not preaching doom and gloom, just correcting the math.

Militant Diva said...

Ay-yi-yi. It doesn't get more "layman" than me. I've only got a few econ classes under my belt, but a keen interest in economics and politics. Thus, I read. About a year ago everything I read suggested that this was inevitable. I brought it up in one of those econ classes and was poo-poo'd by an econ professor who all but called me stupid. Now, that's negotiable but I'm definitely not blind. BofA had not grown in its commitment to charlotte in over seven years. Wachovia was the bank with the most local identity and it was overextended and cocky. I could feel it in my bones and, so, two months ago I moved to the RDU area. While not impervious to the economic climate I thought the local economy was more diverse and education and tech could provide some shelter from the inevitable storm. Then the dominoes began to fall and, again, layman me thought Wachovia couldn't possibly stand as it was. But everything I read on all of the blogs here - including this one - blasted any suggestion that Charlotte was over-reliant on the banking industry. Things, according to this logic, would be fine because they had always been fine. I thought that logic faulty and historically inaccurate. What Charlotte needs is leadership at the local and state level to begin diversifying its economy NOW. And that's assuming its not too late. I hate to think this way because Charlotte is home, but it is not the city I knew ten or even five years ago. Someone - not Mayor Pat - needs to explain that to the citizens and begin working towards a new vision. Might I suggest technology, energy, biotechnology and advanced education? Maybe bring UNCC out of the boondocks and build a real interactive campus in the core of the city where business, private citizens and students can converge? Maybe a little less right-leaning bellyaching about art and the anti-christ and a little more leadership demanded from local government? Maybe we stop deifying the CEOs of the big banks and spread some of that power around to the owners of small and mid-sized companies so that the community as a whole can be more responsive? Just a few thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lifelong NC resident - a native of Charlotte, currently in Chapel Hill, with 10 years near Asheville in between. I pay close attention to goings on in Charlotte, and am there with family very often.

Charlotte really, really needs to diversify its' economy. It's not all banking, and never has been, but banking is a big part of the city, and arguably it's what has put the city on everyone's radar outside of the region. This is beyond a wake up call - Wachovia's meltdown isn't a Detroit-style catastrophe, but there's not much good that can be said about it either. San Fran losing BoA is one thing - San Francisco is a global city is ways that Charlotte isn't, and that's partially because San Fran is economically and socially diverse (this is an observation of the relative resources of the two cities, and NOT a judgement of them in any other fashion) and globally connected in ways that Charlotte isn't, and thus I think Charlotte's comeback from this will be far more protracted, and possibly far more painful, and the ripple effects could cut very, very deep into most or all aspects of the economy and general quality of life.

Charlotte has done very well, and has also been very lucky. The phenomenal success of the city in many ways has been a great, great thing to see. This however is where the city grows up, and fast. Broaden and deepen the resources of the city, do this well, and do this fast, or else.

Anonymous said...

Everybody, take a deep breath.

There.

Yes, it is very disappointing, but the biggest wound is to ego and pride. There will be some real pain in the days, weeks, and months ahead, but Charlotte and her people are resilient. This is a great opportunity to step back and reflect on your community. The loss of Wachovia is real, and it is an unaccustomed situation for Charlotte. It is also just a temporary bump in the road. You will work around it, and come out bigger and stronger tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

What have our city leaders been waiting for? Why haven't they worked harder to recruit other high paying jobs to this city? You can't put all your eggs in one basket! I always have found it interesting that lots of people want to move here, but businesses do not seem to follow? Why don't more companies move here to reflect the amount of people moving here?

Anonymous said...

Great. The last thing Charlotte needs is to lose a whole bunch of educated people with high paying jobs. Hopefully they will stay here or be replaced or else the rednecks will take over again.

Anonymous said...

So we'll lose 5,000-10,000 jobs locally, and most if not all of those folks will move elsewhere?

So what's the bad news?

Anonymous said...

I have lived here since 1988. We have had a great ride over the past 20 years, due in large part to BofA/Nationsbank/NCNB and Wachovia/First Union. The good news is that hopefully we have the critical mass (even without a major Wachovia presence) to continue on an upward track. Good luck to the Wachovia employees; I hope that you land on your feet (hopefully still in this city). To the people making the redneck and yankee comments; get a life.

Anonymous said...

We will not lose 5,000-10,000 jobs - more like 3,000 which is the number being tossed around. And yes, that IS bad news you idiot.

Anonymous said...

That's it people, keep your heads in the sand.

Anonymous said...

To math corrector of 5:46 pm...003% is NOT anywhere near 1/3 of a percent... it it 3 one THOUSANDTHS of a percent. So if you triple it you still have only almost close to just under 1/100 of a percent. Still miniscule if the poster's numbers are to be believed. While we may not have seen the worst yet, the doom and gloomers on here have WAY overstated the longterm effects on this great city. It will be painful. Strong will and persevering attitude will pull this city through and possibly make it better. My prayers are with all those who may be affected (including myself), for strength, foresight, and solid decision making.

Anonymous said...

I think nobody knows what the hell they are talking about and newspapers are just trying to sell more papers by running these "doomsday" headlines and articles. Nobody can predict the future. All we can do is watch as it unfolds and stay optimistic! This is not the end for Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Thirty years ago New Yawkers starting moving into this area as their jobs transferred south. Before you knew it, a house one could buy yesterday for $200,000 "on the river" was now going to cost $1,000,000. Amazing!

Of course, the transplants had all come from areas where real estate prices were already outlandish, so plopping a million on a house was nothing to them. They had sold their condo in SoHo for $2,000,000.

Gee, I'm sorry that you'll be leaving and having to sell your houses for half their value. Tell you what, I'll pay $300,000 for your lake place.

Also, I'll give you $3,000 for your Navigator, and another $2,000 for your boat.

Yep, it will certainly be bad times around here. Less pollution, less green space eaten up in surrounding counties, less inflation, less hot air.

Man About Town said...

Welcome to reality, Charlotteans (is that pronounced charlatan? how appropriate). For years your leaders have stolen jobs from northern cities by appealing to the greediest of corporate sensibilities. Your interstate economic wars have left many once-proud northern cities struggling to provide for their residents. Now, you will enjoy a taste of your own medicine. Hope you like the taste. The party is over, for now.

Anonymous said...

"Yep, it will certainly be bad times around here. Less pollution, less green space eaten up in surrounding counties, less inflation, less hot air."

I think you mean empty buildings, empty homes that turn into crime ridden neighborhoods, infrastructure starts to fall apart because the tax base is no longer there to support the maintenance, high unemployment, and very few opportunities and the list goes on and on. Yeah, sounds like a great alternative! Once you go forwards, you can't go backwards. Some of you are really DUMB.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we certainly don't want to lose the highly educated people who make big salaries for making stupid financial decisions that impact all of us.

The only thing New Yorkers are scared of is a former New Yorker heading north, pulling a U-Haul.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the people who ramrodded the Bobcats arena down our throats, and the people who want to build a baseball stadium uptown... will all take jobs in New York.

Let's hope so. We don't need more stuff in uptown. We need to work on transportation.

Anonymous said...

I am sooo glad a majority of you do not run this city. It would of been in the crapper years ago!

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love the comments by all the little rednecks that post comments about people from other places? It sure makes for some great entertainment! What do they know anyways? They have been sheltered their whole lives.

Anonymous said...

If Uptown is dead, this whole area will be dead. Look at Detroit. Uptown is the heart of the region whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Welcome Citi Championship, hopefully Tiger will show.

Anonymous said...

A big old meteor just hit Charlotte- financially. Wait until your next tax bill comes due (subtract a huge portion of Wachovia employees' contribution to prior budgets) and watch the progressively rising tab over the next several years. Want to sell a house over this time? How about a 30-40% discount- if the buyer can find a loan? Do the citizens have any idea of the bond debt our leaders have voted for on our behalf? A huge chunk of tax revenue just left town! I suggest that instead of the enhanced interactive displays at the NASCAR Museum (a tab of $30 million +) a touch pool with old tires might serve as a reasonable replacement! We have been handed a royal shaft by our political leadership- not by Wachovia! Vote them all out- if you can afford to stick around for the election!

Anonymous said...

What's a Charlottean?? There are none! They gave this city to you guys!!! Goodluck!

Cato said...

I don't think this is as apocalyptic as some make it out to be, but it probably will force us more towards back-to-basics for the foreseeable future. World-class just became really passe'.

One concrete way that growth will be affected: any public project relying on tax-increment financing to pay for itself will get a lot more scrutiny, at least for the foreseeable future. And they should - wouldn't want to be saddled with another Randy Parton theater.

Also, with property tax re-valuations coming up, the county can expect a lot of protests if the new tax values reflect 2006 prices when homes can't attract buyers for 30% off that.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest. This is an immense blow to Charlotte. The derivative effects are immense- job losses, lower consumer spending, chillier real estate markets, etc. Let's not overlook the fact that Wachovia is also the largest civic player in town. Where are all those grants going to come from now? Before we throw ourselves off the ledge, however, we need to consider the economic fundamentals. We're adding people (this is not MI or OH), we have an educated population, we're a major distribution center, we're a major services center, and we're doing more than we ever have to foster and grow different kinds of businesses. The economy is far more balanced than people expect it is. Our ego just took a blow and our economy will take a hit. I would argue, however, that the base fundamentals are strong enough to see us through, Yankee born and native Charlottean alive. (I fall into the latter camp.)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I don't think this will have a huge negative impact like so many people believe. There will be lay-offs, but most of the jobs will remain here. Citibank will probably move jobs here or open up positions here. Everybody needs to calm down - this city is so dramatic! We all need to worry about the national economic crisis more than this. If that doesn't get fixed then every city and town will be screwed!

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing at all the upnorth greaseballs that are badmouthing Charlotte:
Fact #1 You came here, not us to NJ
Fact #2 You 'are so glad' you left Charlotte that you decide to keep up with the local websites as evidence by your presence here (undoutebdly looking for a job in Clt too!).

What a dumb ass yankee - we are SO glad you left!...

To the rest of you from up north that have come help build this city and have great things to say about it: We love you and we thank you for the hard work you have brought into our city.

We WILL prevail...

Anonymous said...

I want to start of by saying that i am layman and don't understand the in's and out's of the financial world but i do understand losing jobs is bad for the whole area not just the banking sector. But Wachovia will still be in Charlotte and Citigroup's retail banking will be headquarted here. Won't that at the very least keep the same amount of jobs in the Queen city? Or maybe even lead to job growth considering that there will be another major banking headquarter uptown. Like i said i'm just a layman but that's the way i'm seeing things

Anonymous said...

I retired from Wachovia in 2005 after 28 years of service. Regardless of who you are you must feel for any of the Wachovia employees who are in danger of losing their jobs. How awful it would be approaching the holidays knowing you could possibly lose your job ? In the department I worked in many people would not be able to move to keep their jobs or take another one for various reasons. Many of the people in my department have now been there for over 15 years - can you imagine you've given your employer 110% and now you're being told you could lose your job ?

Anonymous said...

I think the layman understands this better than the "educated" ones.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte banks let go of a ton people from cities like Richmond, Birmingham, Winston, Boston, Philly, SF, Chicago, etc... by buying up their banks and promising to keep a "large" presence there. Ask someone in those cities and see what they say now. All I have to say is that karma is a you know what!

Anonymous said...

The only thing that won't change is change. Get used to it. Change is here - it's always been here. It will never go away. Stop being afraid of it and see it for what it really is - a chance to make things better.

So stop complaining/sulking/calling other people names. Get up off the couch and put in a little effort. Make things better.

What? Me Worry? said...

Charlotte is diversified. We have the center of the state's health care industry right here.

The "4,000" can take their severance packages, attend CPCC, and in six weeks become licensed CNAs. Not much pay, but plenty of insurance benefits.

Our new slogan:
"From Board Rooms to Bed Pans"

Anonymous said...

Hey, I hear they're rethinking the whole South Tryon Arts Complex thing. Forget the buildings ... the Lanty Smith Mine Act Troupe will be performing dog tricks daily, featuring "Kenny Boy" the jumping dog.

Anonymous said...

We also have diversified into the culinary capital of the East Coast.

There's plenty of restaurant jobs.

"Hey, broker! Bring me a Corona!"

Anonymous said...

I saw "Kenny Boy" perform last week at Ovens. What a class act. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Arf!!

Anonymous said...

In response to our anonymous friend living in the great state of NJ....I'm glad you finally realized I-85 ran two ways. I've never been able to quite grasp why folks move to a city and then do nothing but b**ch and moan about the perceived deficiencies that said city has. Guys and gals, it's simple. Charlotte, NC is located in the south, below the Mason-Dixon line. The city will always retain its southern culture no matter how much northern agression there is. You either embrace it or you move back home. Simple as that. I'm sure you're the envy of your neighbors up there in Jersey, but I'll take the sunny south any ol' day. Not a slam, just stating my preference as you have so eloquently done in previous posts.

PS - spare me the mild fall comment. I'll give you better food...that's a matter of preference. But weather and climate...please...CLT>NJ and you know it.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives in Winston-Salem, all I can say as one of the bloggers noted earlier: Karma is a b-tch! It would be more appropriate to leave out the name of Wachovia of which we are still quite proud of up here, and have you refer to the current bank as First Union, as they are the crowd that has brought this debacle to your city,my city (which stills has a large Wachovia presence) & our state. From the arrogance & the stupdity with their business decisions, I mean really, who spends 24 Billion dollars for a company (Golden West) whose biggest marketing campaign is "Pick A Payment Morgages"? What was the expected end result other than this? But fear not Charlotte, you do have a bright future ahead of you, because of the progressive leadership that looks toward what can be rather than what can't be.

Anonymous said...

10 years spent as a hard working employee that really actually cared about my job, my customer, my co-worker and my community. Building playgrounds at underprivileged school here in Charlotte, our division adopted an orphanage for Christmas, food drives, blood drives, toy drives, Charlotte will miss us...Try to keep that in mind before you post...people do count...

Anonymous said...

"Now on the tee....Ken Thompson and Robet Steele. (Caddie by Golden West former owner)"

Now that Steele's out of a job (and me) maybe McCain can dump Sarah for a real decision maker with executive experiance. His resume was impressive ... should of asked if you could read a balance sheet.

Seriously, it's not one persons fault. The Charlotte Observer should print the names of the Board of Directors, (with their resumes) so they can all share in the blame. You have to ask yourself how this board can make so many continous mistakes. This should not be a surprize.

For the most part the banking culture is getting the overhaul it's avoided for decades, not by Wall Steet, but by politicians. NOW you see the impact this has, not just to us here in Charlotte. Hold on it's going to get real bummy.

Sorry to say it but I'll have to leave this great city. Shame I love it here.

Anonymous said...

To all of the jealous idiots badmouthing the beautiful city of Charlotte and its citizens,"quit crying and go get a diaper change...you smell terrible!

MikeyBluntZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oy, such venom in a time of upheaval. Charlotte native here who also spent 6 years in New Jersey. I love my hometown and I don't let people badmouth New Jersey.

This is a wonderful opportunity to diversify Charlotte's economy. Leaders, please get on with it. Focus on Duke Energy, close-in living (and light rail) and UNCC. Now would be a wonderful time for a wealthy Charlottean to shower UNCC with a big gift. This would be better for Charlotte right now than anything else I can think of.

Does this loss hurt? You bet. Will it change Charlotte forever, Yes, of course. Is it the end of the world? Only if we let it become that.

Porn Student said...

Our roads won't be as congested when the unemployed Wachovians leave.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want, but discourse is a good sign of a thriving culture. I'm a half back and love Charlotte. This city is evolving, but in a good way. There is considerable discussion and thought that goes into everything here. Compared to many cities around the country that is a great thing. Sure, Charlotte lost a great employer here and jobs will be lost. But remember, there are 8 fortune 500 companies still based here and new companies arrive each year (mine just moved here as well). Smile Charlotte, the future is still bright and those buzzing us are jealous of our resiliance and future position.

Anonymous said...

For some reason this blog has turned into a south vs. north thing and rumors that Charlotte is going down. Funny, but here is a reality check. Some of the biggest companies in this nation have failed and their headquartered in NY. Guess what is going to happen? You got it major lay offs in NYC. This includes Citi which was struggling financially before they took on Wachovia. Charlotte is still a great city and America is a great country that's on pins and needles right now. All anyone can do is be cautious in your financial steps and pray smart. (I know my Jesus Freaks liked that one)

Anonymous said...

All cities evolve in cycles. Look at the rustbelt cities in the 1920s. They were the wealthiest cities in the world. Now they are struggling. Charlotte is at the top of its game now, but things change. Where is the growth for the next 20 years? Well, has anyone been reading up on all the green technology boom that is taking place in Ohio and Pittsburgh? Or all their growth in biotech?? MSN and CNN don't report on that stuff, but it is very true. We need to understand that cities and their economies will always be changing. The reaction is severe because Charlotte has never experienced a strong downturn. We were due. It happens to every city. We just weren't used to such an intense blow to our collective ego. We've been living off of the same crack for years. We will only grow if we find unique solutions to the new problems that we face.

Anonymous said...

"Face it, the north is where the money is at..."

Well Mikey, then explain why Citi bought a Southeastern-based bank that has all those Southeastern-based assets. Where did all that money come from?

Does Citi really think that millions of native Southerners are going to keep their deposits and accounts in a New York-based bank, when they can easily transfer them to locally owned institutions? Hahahahahaha! Watch homespun Southern bank stocks soar and Citi plunge.

Anonymous said...

So. A few points:

1. Papering over the loss of a nationally or internationally prominent headquarters is going to be like moving heaven and earth; the effect of the blow to Charlotte's image out of the area could be a very big deal. New York, Chicago, San Francisco were able to eventually bounce back; Charlotte ain't yet in that league of global. WB was such a massive part of why Charlotte grew and succeeded; the loss IS very, very bad. Talking someone else of this magnitude into relocating here, and hiring 20,000 people is not going to be happening.

2. THUS - About the only silver lining that can be found here is in opportunity: a massive talent pool is about to hit the streets. Let's support their start-ups. Hopefully some of the other, smaller in-state financial institutions can grow with the infusion of talent. If Charlotte is to be a player, or 'world class,' this is what it will come down to - turn the home-grown talent into something that the rest of the world NEEDS. We do not have time to waste on this.

3. Assuming that #1 is a given, diversify, diversify, diversify.

4. Right up the road - the Triangle - has grown globally prominent by spinning off everything possible from several universities. It took a long time for this to pay off, but given what the economy looks like in THAT area (faster growth, per capita, and unemployment a point lower, in what is essentially the Silicon Valley of the South), I'd say that doing everything possible to make our local universities as prominent as BoA or the late Wachovia might be a very good idea to implement ASAP.

We will survive. Hopefully we won't look like Houston in the mid-to-late 1980s, empty skyscrapers and a completely stagnant local economy. It's going to take a huge amount of work to keep from ending up like that.

Anonymous said...

The amazing thing about this is how suddenly it all took place. How can a company (Wachovia) that had, according to today’s Observer, a $33 billion market value three months ago agree to be sold for $2.16 billion? Something is amiss.

And don’t stockholders and the Federal Reserve have to approve this? Does Citi already own enough Wachovia stock to make the vote a sure thing? According to the Observer, the five biggest holders of stock are (in rank) Dodge & Cox, Fidelity, Barclay’s Global Investors, State Street Corp. and Vanguard Group. The comments in this blog make it sound like it is a done deal. There’s a lot that can happen involving Wachovia, good or bad from Charlotte’s viewpoint, between now and December 31, when Citi expects to close the deal.

Re a previous comment that natives in this part of the country will just transfer deposits to locally owned banks, such as BB&T: Apparently Citi plans to “base” the operations of the bought bank right here in Charlotte. Sure, the ownership will still be in New York, but this would seem to indicate they are willing to compromise. That may keep more jobs here, as well as indicate a desire to take over some of Wachovia’s uptown “projects”.

Interesting that the investment-banking arm of Barclays Bank owns so much Wachovia stock. For you newcomers who may not be aware, Barclays Bank PLC (London) had quite a point of presence in Charlotte back in the 1980s and 1990s. At least 3,000-4,000 employees were located here. Their American arm was called BarclaysAmerican Corporation, and headquartered at 201 South Tryon. That’s the building at 4th and Tryon where Dean and DeLuca is located. Barclays had a Charlotte-based retail bank, commercial arm, factoring arm, and did leasing and mortgage operations. These businesses had branches spread from Charlotte to major cities throughout the United States. The data processing center for much of their North American operations was located in a building in a commercial park near the Clanton Road-South Tryon Street intersection.

Then the Brits changed their minds and began divesting. There of course was a major impact on Charlotte with all those jobs leaving. It impacted uptown as well. At one time the bank had proposed to build two large skyscrapers on Tryon Street, connected by a glass-enclosed walkway at one of the top floors. It never happened.

We’ve been there, done that. It has happened before and will happen again. We’ve survived and come back stronger each time. New York may be the city that never sleeps. Charlotte is the city that never gives up.

Anonymous said...

As someone who just relocated in Charlotte from Detroit, I can tell you there are many similarities.
Detroit lives and dies (died) with autos and Charlotte will live or die with banking.

Anonymous said...

People need to relax, things have a way of coming together. I am about to move there to start a job from NY, and I think that this is going to eventually be a good thing for the city. You must take one step back to take 2 steps forward. Charlotte took a step back, and a huge amount of community support left, however look at the good things that can come of all this. Wachovia was getting to a point where growth was slowing, and reversing recently, so what were they doing for Charlotte's economy? The truth is that the cost of living in Charlotte is much lower, as is the cost of doing business than NY, and as soon as there are vacancies in downtown Charlotte they will be filled. The second Wachovia died there were 50 large companies licking their chops at the chance to move into Charlotte and take over that space. They will not have the huge name that Wachovia has, nor will they be as large as Wachovia, but it is a lot easier for a small company to grow, and with growth more space is needed. How much more could Wachovia have grown? It was a cash cow, and now we will be getting some small high growth companies. I wish the best of luck to the people who may lose their jobs, but there is a chance that you will move on to bigger and better things. Believe in Charlotte, everything is going to come around. There is still has 7 other fortune 500 companies headquartered in Charlotte, and they are not leaving. More are coming, and something is going to step in and take over where Wachovia dropped off. Trust me, I looked around the entire country for a place to live, Charlotte was my choice, and I'm not a banker. Other people will see the same things I do, and Charlotte will continue to grow

Anonymous said...

Some good news out of this mess:

Lawyers have now dropped from first to fourth place on the list of most despised professions.

The top three in order are bankers, brokers and realtors.

Anonymous said...

News flash. NYC middle and upper management bankers headquartered at Citi who are living in surrounding counties with superb public school systems, world renowned tourist attractions, top-notch cultural and art venues, winter sport activities and unrivaled historical features have no interest in moving to Charlotte to experience the Nascar Hall of Fame, the manmade White Water Center, the Lynx Light Rail system or South Park Mall.

Anonymous said...

News flash. NYC middle and upper management bankers headquartered at Citi who are living in surrounding counties with superb public school systems, world renowned tourist attractions, top-notch cultural and art venues, winter sport activities and unrivaled historical features have no interest in moving to Charlotte to experience the Nascar Hall of Fame, the manmade White Water Center, the Lynx Light Rail system or South Park Mall.