Monday, February 11, 2013

Charlotte could become an Austin, Texas, former resident says

Last month's blog about PwC commercial real estate forecasters likening Charlotte to Austin in terms of potential job growth generated lively debate among the online comments.

The topic also inspired Charlotte newcomer Daniel Farrar to give me a call. Farrar moved to Charlotte from Austin at the end of last year to oversee Stream Realty's expansion into the Charlotte market. Stream is a full-service commercial real estate firm that will focus on office and industrial leasing, property management and tenant representation.

Farrar, who lived in Austin for 6 1/2 years before moving to the Queen City, said he agreed that Charlotte is similar to his former Texas home. He has settled into a home in Dilworth, which he says feels familiar to his former neighborhood near Austin's downtown.

Among the cities' similarities, he said: A young, highly educated workforce, a vibrant "live, work, play" environment and a growing high technology and biotechnology sector.

Some commenters knocked Charlotte for its lack of excitement and entertainment options for young people. And while the local economy has grown more diverse, the city remains heavily intertwined with the banking industry.

But Farrar said Charlotte has an energy to it and is expected to continue to attract young talent from the area's universities.

He also said more high tech and biotechnology firms are eyeing Charlotte for possible future moves, adding that those are some sectors his firm expects to see grow locally.

To be sure, Farrar said, Charlotte doesn't have the same energy or buzz as Austin, proclaimed by its city leaders in 1991 as "the live music capital of the world."

But, he added: "The evolution of Austin becoming the Austin it is today took 20 to 25 years. Me being in Charlotte two months, I can't speak to how close it is to being Austin. But there are a lot of similar dynamics in play."


Anonymous said...

Charlotte is a very conservative city, with many people who have adopted backward ways of thinking. Face it...the city is fickle at best...Definitely caters to married people....not enough to do for singles. Truly lacks diversity. I mean really, when people come to Charlotte what is it for them to do.....Zilch. The city is void of culture and diversity. Where are the plethora of downtown cafes, downtown shopping, all night coffeehouses/ lounges of different genres...Its not here in Charlotte. And it is definitely not the next Austin, TX.

ICBMMan said...

Ah yes, "conservative" means "backward", according to the genius complainer. Right.

I wholeheartedly disagree with the assertion that because Charlotte has conservative leanings, it lacks any sort of "things to do". During my visits here while I was single, I was impressed that there were plenty of things to do here: the Whitewater Center, NFL team, NBA team, great places to eat, impressive places to shop, beautiful parks, fun lakes for boating or chilling out, Carowinds, etc. Now that I'm married and living here for the past 5 years, I find many great things for families as well.

I think it comes down to what you value. If you value spending time in a dilapidated, washed-up coffee bar surrounded by hippies that bathe only once a week while sipping $10.00 soy lattes and eating sustainable algae cakes while listening to some no-talent gypsy strumming on a guitar and singing nothing but curse're right, Charlotte is not the place for you!