Business booms in University area

Business booms in University area

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Updated Friday, May 16 at 6:56 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Drive around the University area and you can't miss the multi-billion dollar boom.

 
It's a $2.4 billion boom over the last year, according to a new economic development report from University City Partners.
 
Officials there call it a great year, fueled by new apartments, UNCC campus buildings, corporate offices and in large part due to the light rail LYNX Blue Line extension, where work is already underway. 
 
People are already interested in buying land along North Tryon Street, similar to what happened when light rail came to Charlotte's South End. 
 
Nolan Jack scoops snow cones at Pelican's Original New Orleans Snowballs on North Tryon Street.  It's a great vantage point to watch the University Area snowball.
 
Red dirt, signs, machines and new buildings are popping up around him. 
 
"The light rail is getting ready to come through here," Jack said. 
 
That's expected to be a money-maker.
 
"I see a lot more business coming in," said Asiaworks owner Kristen Helms.
 
Helms' expectation for her auto repair shop is based upon what the light rail brought to her other shop on Scaleybark Road: more convenience for customers.
 
"They've utilized it to be able to drop their vehicles off and use that for transportation to get back and forth to work. I'm hoping it will do the same here," Helms said.
 
Right now there's a lot of utility work along North Tryon Street.
 
CATS estimates the light rail line will build N. Tryon from uptown to UNCC big time, with 12,400 homes and 5 million square feet of office and retail space by the year 2035. 
 
"Just make it look better, give it better business opportunities and employment opportunities," Helms said. 
 
Officials say "build and fill" is how they expect growth will happen along the light rail line, similar to how it happened in the South End.
 
One big difference between here and there is near UNCC, the light rail line will be in the middle of N. Tryon.  
 

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