A guide to executive suites and office space to rent in Charlotte as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting offices in the city.
History & Geography
North Carolina’s largest city is located in the Piedmont, the plateau that makes up a large part of the eastern United States. The city lies between Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek east of Catawba River and the lakes surrounding it. The lack of any large bodies of water or other geological formations in the direct vicinity of Charlotte has meant that the city has been free to expand continuously. The area around Charlotte was first settled by Europeans around 1755 when Thomas Spratt built a house in the area situated on the intersection of the Great Wagon Road and a Native American trading path. By 1768 a community dubbed Charlotte Town had grown up and been incorporated. At the end of the 18th century gold was discovered in the area leading to a gold rush and the population of the town swelling rapidly. Until the California Gold Rush Charlotte was the top producer of gold in the US. In 1837 the Charlotte Mint was founded. After the Civil War Charlotte prospered as a hub of the cotton trade and as a transport hub due to its extensive railways. By the beginning of the 20th century the population had grown to almost 10,000. With the advent of WWI the population of the city grew still further due to the construction of Camp Greene in its vicinity. After the war many of the soldiers and other works based in the camp stayed on in Charlotte. During the 1970s and 80s Charlotte experienced massive growth and success as a centre of banking, with the North Carolina National Bank being transformed by financier Hugh McColl into a major force on the national banking landscape. In 1989 the Charlotte was extensively damaged by Hurricane Hugo in the wake of which its residents were without power for weeks.
Charlotte is currently the second largest banking centre in the US after New York. The city is home to Bank of America, one of the nation’s largest financial institutions in the country. Charlotte was also home to Wachovia before its acquisition by Wells Fargo in 2008 during the financial crisis. Subsequently the city became the headquarters of Wells Fargo’s operations in the eastern part of the country. Other major companies headquartered in Charlotte are Lowe’s, Nucor, Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, Goodrich Corporation, Chiquita Brands International and SPX. The second largest Coca Cola bottler in the country, Coca Cola Bottling Co Consolidated, is also located in Charlotte. Another staple of Charlotte’s economy and a major draw for visitors is the motorsports industry. NASCAR is headquartered in the city, as well as the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Many motorsport technology companies are based in Charlotte and the city has also become a major hub of the drag racing scene. Charlotte is also rapidly becoming one of the most important energy centers in the country, with a large amount of energy companies having operations in the city. Also the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is one of the top ranked universities in the country for energy education and research.
Tourism & Culture
The tourist industry is not a major part of Charlotte’s economy, and the city is certainly not known as a tourist attraction. However it does see a fair amount of visitors, some of which come because of Charlotte’s status as the centre of the American motorsports industry. The NASCAR Hall of Fame which was opened in 2010 has significantly boosted the number of tourists to Charlotte, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Also the newly built NHRA drag strip is a major attraction. Additionally Charlotte has a number of museums and other sites of interest to visitors. The most famous of these is the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, widely recognized as one of the most significant art museums of its kind in the region. The Billy Graham Library, which documents the life of the famous evangelical preacher Billy Graham and is a public museum and library is also one of Charlotte’s most famous attractions. Discovery Place, Charlotte’s science museum, is one of the largest and most respected in the country, and regularly attracts over half a million visitors every year. Additionally Charlotte has several sports teams including the NBA franchise the Charlotte Bobcats as well as the NFL team the Carolina Panthers.
Charlotte International Airport is the sixth largest in the world and is the sixth busiest in the world overall. The city itself is fairly well served for public transport, boasting a light rail system, historic trolleys, express shuttles and a comprehensive bus system which serves the entire city, including the outlying suburbs. Also a new light rail and commuter rail system, dubbed LYNX, is currently in the planning stages. However for walkability the city scores quite low, being the 49th most walkable of the 50 largest cities in the country.
The city has a fairly large urban and suburban office market. The market was hit quite badly by the economic crisis and ensuing recession though has managed to keep the vacancy rate at or below the country average of 17.1 percent. However increased supply and a drop in demand may result in this number climbing. Unemployment in the city is currently at approximately 11 percent, also lower than the national average. The financial services industries employ a large part of the workforce, so the city’s fortunes depend fairly heavily on the health of the sector.