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Charlotte, NC Commercial Real Estate

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Charlotte, NC Economic Overview

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With a population of just over 2.5 million, Charlotte is the second-largest city in the southeastern U.S. The city sprawls over almost 300 square miles, boasts 199 neighborhoods that radiate from Uptown (the Central Business District), and is the third-largest financial center in the country, after New York City and San Francisco. In addition to financial services, the Charlotte MSA is host to a variety of food services, energy and transportation businesses. Combined with a growing, well-educated workforce and a business-friendly environment, it's easy to see why the Charlotte commercial real estate market is in such high demand from both tenants and investors.

Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte and Wells Fargo bases its East Coast operations here. The city is host to nine Fortune 500 companies and is home to nearly 4,500 manufacturing companies across almost every major business segment. Charlotte is a major transportation hub and distribution center. Nearly 60% of the population of the U.S. is within a 10-hour drive or a 2-hour flight. Charlotte Douglas airport is the sixth-busiest in the U.S., is a major hub for American Airlines and is serviced by both national and international carriers.

Charlotte, NC Commercial Real Estate Market

Uptown/Center City is considered Charlotte's central business district. Since the 1980s, Uptown has seen massive investment and infrastructure development and is home to Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Duke Energy and the Hearst Corporation, along with a multitude of hotels, restaurants and upscale condominium projects.

The Charlotte commercial real estate market encompasses over 136 million square feet of industrial space, nearly 60 million square feet of office space and almost as much retail space. The population of Charlotte is expected to hit the 3 million mark by 2030, up from the 2.5 million residents today. As a result of this increasing demand, development in Charlotte is booming across all segments - in particular industrial and mixed-use (retail, office, residential) projects, with over 2 million square feet under construction in the Charlotte office market alone, in 2017.

A prime example of mixed-use development is the River District project, in the Dixie-Berryhill area. Located within 15 minutes from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Center City Charlotte, this 1,400-acre enterprise will include 8 million square feet of office space, 500,000 square feet of retail space, 4,000 residential units and a hotel.

Low vacancy rates in Charlotte are keeping rents at historical highs, as tenants grab space where they can find it. Spears Manufacturing and Mueller have a significant presence on the Charlotte industrial market, while Bank of America has been expanding its footprint in the Charlotte office market.

Employment in Charlotte, NC


Charlotte is the third-largest financial center in the U.S. and is a major location for energy-related companies. Moreover, it is becoming a significant trucking and transportation hub for the east coast, and is a prime center for the U.S. motorsports industry. Charlotte has been included in Forbes’ Best Places for Business and Careers list. In an environment where the job market is so strong that tenant demand for space almost exceeds supply, the city has no trouble attracting and keeping a diverse, well-educated, qualified workforce.

The top employers in Charlotte are:

  • Carolinas Healthcare System, with 35,000 employees;
  • Wells Fargo, with 22,000 employees;
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg School system, with over 18,000 workers;
  • Walmart, with over 16,000 associates;
  • Bank of America, with 15,000 employees;
  • Lowes, with nearly 13,000 employees;
  • Novant Health, with 11,000 workers;
  • American Airlines, which employs nearly 11,000.

Other major employers include Chiquita Brands International, Duke Energy, BBVA Compass, Ally Financial and AT&T.

Education in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is home to numerous colleges and universities, including Davidson College, which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country. Other notable universities include the Charlotte School of Law, Queens University of Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Located in the University City submarket of Charlotte, UNC Charlotte is the city's largest university, with over 28,000 enrolled.

Charlotte's focus on growth is not limited to just office, retail and industrial development. Located just northeast of the city, the 350-acre North Carolina Research Campus is a bio-technology hub developed through a joint public-private partnership of eight universities, the USDA and various other corporate entities. It's a strategic effort by the business and political leaders of Charlotte to attract energy, health and knowledge-based industries to contribute to the booming economy and tap into the rich labor pool.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte's public school system, has over 144,000 students across its 164 elementary, middle and high schools. The school system recently won a NAEP award for top honors 4th grade and 8th grade mathematics education.

Commuting Time in Charlotte, NC

While commute times in Charlotte are slowly but surely growing longer, rush-hour traffic is nothing like what it is in the major metro areas of NYC, Chicago, Houston or Los Angeles. Despite the ease of commuting, the city leaders are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to mass transit.

  • Charlotte's I-485 beltway circles the major metro area with 67 miles of freeway
  • Within the city, the I-277 freeway loops around the central business district and connects with the I-485 and state route 74.
  • CATS, the Charlotte Area Transit System, operates the historical downtown trolleys, express shuttles, the buses servicing Charlotte and the suburbs, and the LYNX light rail transit system.
  • LYNX was so popular at its inception that the ridership level that was expected in 15 years was actually reached after the system's first year in service, and LYNX expansion is underway

Charlotte Demographics


  • Total Population847,663
  • Male Population(48.1 %) 407,724
  • Female Population(51.9 %) 439,939
  • Median Age34.00


  • Average Household Income$76,239
  • Median Household Income$56,856
  • Median Income Under 25$30,417
  • Median Income 25-44$58,998
  • Median Income 45-64$61,903
  • Median Income Over 65$39,974

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