Posted on October 28, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Monday, Oct 28 at 8:35 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A part of Charlotte's South End is now being torn down to make way for more apartments.
Demolition of the old Simpson's Lighting warehouse on the corner of South and E. Carson Boulevards started Monday morning.
It's on the corner of South Boulevard and E. Carson Boulevard.
Chances are, you, your parents, grandparents or someone you know shopped there for lights and ceiling fans.
"It's part of the history of the South End," said Rev. Stan Heiser, who has worked across the street at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church for 24 years.
The wood, metal and brick being torn up are on the showroom floors Rev. Heiser used to walk.
"Every kind of lighting fixture you could think of, from high end chandeliers to the basic things you would have in your house," he said.
Construction crews say the part of the building popped up around 1950 and an addition came in 1979.
But it's sat empty for years. At one point, it was supposed to be condos and offices, but those plans died in a bad economy.
Now, 350 upscale apartments are coming once the old building is demolished.
The project is called "1100 Boulevard."
Drive down South Boulevard and you can't help but notice all the new construction.
The Greater Charlotte Apartment Association says in the South End/SouthPark area, 2,000 apartments are currently under construction and 3,500 more apartments are proposed. The GCAA also says rent in the area continue to rise and are now around $1,140 a month.
Midnight diner waitress Mona Lisa Brookins didn't know what the old building used to be, but is glad for what it will be: more people walking a block to the three year-old restaurant, eating and leaving her tips.
"It's going to mean a whole lot of money in my pocket, so yeah, we're excited,” Brookins said.
To Heiser, the apartment boom means new parishioners and young families walking into his church, Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, to check it out -- the way he used to check out Simpson's.
"We have prayed for years for people to come to the South End to live here, be prospects for our church," Heiser said.
Charlotte Center City Partners says there are now 5,000 apartments in South End, compared to 1,000 in the year 2000.