seen uptown – April 2011

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realtors with unrivaled expertise and a passion for real estate Meet the My Townhome Team:

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Michelle Hutchcraft

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Nancy LaBella






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Marshall Kiser

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Matt Sanicola






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Kevin Raymer

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Billy Shugart

Chris Smith

Ben Holmes

Brian Michaels






Jeff Lawson

Treva McCain

Tammie Fiorella

Michelle Griffin

Emily Sample






Bryan Sorensen

Tim McCollum

Jennifer Vick

Terry Childers

Wendy Williams






Austin Patterson

Roselyn Langley

Bill Schneider

Franklin Spence

Evan Weiss






contact your my townhome realtor today 704-377-4567





Jeffrey Grant Koenig Attorney at Law P.C. is a boutique firm providing accurate, timely and hassle free real estate settlement services including: Real Estate Purchases, Loan Refinance, Deed Preparation, Title Work & Related services. Conveniently located in the Jones-Garibaldi House in Historic Dilworth.


704.335.5471 228 east park avenue charlotte, north carolina

seen uptown


fashion: frost


fashion: bohème frost


Mark Mathis Sharon Jones

urban farm



Culture Initiative


Frazier Park


fashion: style


SouthEnd Soul


midnight fashion: swim style

50 52

photo: Thien La styling: Effie Loukas

overbuilding Uptown

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strawberry mojito




seen publisher TJ Larsen

editor Scott Lindsley Senior editor David Aaron Moore fashion editor Joey Hewell art editor Sharon Dowell Music editor Queen City Syndicate Fotography director Ryan Sumner/Fenix Fotography design wrangler Little Shiva

Preparing for the spring issue of Seen Uptown flowed together with more ease than the fast paced crunch of the March premiere edition. The change of seasons seemed to be the catalyst for new ideas and fresh images. After viewing so many artistic and inspiring covers we settled on the one Spring in Charlotte seems to you see today. It cried out as bring out the best in the city. I love all seasons pure reflection of how and what the magazine makes us feel this and am ready for each when it rolls around. The call of the lakes and pools when summonth, a cool breeze of refreshing commentary, local attractions mer completely sets in and the water warms up. The chill of fall after the brutal heat of August. and beautiful images. We dedicated our back The promise of a snow day or two and a wincover to our visionary designer ter wonderland in mid-winter, but nothing for Little Shiva and she let loose me compares to the rebirth that spring brings. We get a lot of false springs in a typical with an image that, like a Jackson Pollock, speaks to me differ- year – warm days or weeks that are followed ently and with varied emotions by a return of cold. But those, I think, are just each time I see it. The editorial “teasers” that get us all ready for the full bloom is varied with features that are that finally rolls around. I forget how beautieconomic, artistic, informative ful daffodils and tulips are until they give us and entertaining.We also learned their spectacular short burst (along with a few what to include from you, our other early bloomers) but then I’m completely reader s. You have been so ready for the azalea and lily displays that follow. I love warm days that keep stretching ever generous during the past month with your support and critique further into the evening, that invite flip-flops and of our premier edition and with shorts back out of the closet during the day, but might require a sweater for chilly nights that folyour great photos. I hope you enjoy this issue low.This issue is a celebration of the season that and we continue to learn more arrives and gives us all spring fever, fires up our about you so we will be able grills, beckons us to the park to customize and improve our and generally pulls us outmagazine to deliver an experi- side to thaw out and warm ence that will brighten your day up for summer. —Scott and fuel your mind. Fittingly, Scott and I wrapped up the finishing touches on the spring edition from his wide bungalow porch in Wilmore, enjoying the Carolina weather and our latest issue of Seen. —T.J.

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David Aaron Moore Senior Editor David Aaron Moore has more than 15 years of journalism experience under his belt. He has served as an editor for such Atlanta publications as Etcetera, Jezebel, and Southern Voice. His works have been published in Atlanta Magazine, Charlotte Magazine, Creative Loafing and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Also a native of Charlotte, he is the author of “Charlotte: Murder Mystery and Mayhem” from History Press.

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Eric Bahrs Eric began his photographic journey documenting the everchanging Charlotte skyline during the construction boom of the past decade. With his passion for this emerging urban environment, he now makes his home in a high-rise condo in the heart of the city. Though Charlotte’s skyline remains his favorite subject, he’s branched out to landscape, architecture and macro photography. Reach him at eric.bahrs and see more of his work at www.

Joey Hewell Joey Hewell was the first graduate of the Aveda Institute in Charlotte and has been immersed in the Charlotte fashion scene ever since. He owns his own styling boutique and salon, J Studio, in SouthEnd, hosts “Fashion Fridays” each week on Fox News Rising, and is our Fashion Editor. His work can be seen on runway and print and often is of his own design or re-design for vintage clothing. Find Joey at

Nikki Sawyer Moore Nikki Sawyer Moore is a graduate of Davidson College and attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales University. Nikki owns FOOD LOVE: a culinary business specializing in cooking classes and private dinners. She volunteers her time teaching “Cooking Healthy on a Budget” classes at the YWCA and serves on the CharlotteMecklenburg Friends of the Library board. Nikki shares her passion for food with others through her blog: Minced (www.

Queen City Syndicate Queen City Syndicate is the collaboration of Joel Khouri, David Vallier and Andrae Bergeron. They promote and produce local music and shows, have regular gigs at Common Market SouthEnd and The Gin Mill, and produce monthly podcasts that cover Charlotte's music and culture scene. They are excited to share their insight in local music and welcome your input as well. Visit them at www.

Ryan Sumner As creative director of Fenix Fotography, Ryan specializes in eye-catching advertising images for businesses–from gastroenterologists to ghost hunters. His fashion and editorial work has appeared in numerous local and national publications and on the websites of MTV, Maxim, VH1, SMET, and Ed Hardy (when Ed Hardy was cool). He’s also written five books combining his love of history and photography. Check him out at

Scott Lindsley Scott is a born and bred Charlottean. “Charlotte is an exciting and diverse place that has grown exponentially during my lifetime. It's an exciting growth that I’ve thrived on.” That’s his description of the changes he’s seen and as publisher and editor of Seen Uptown he strives to show the varied lives and lifestyles found in the Queen City. He lives and works in the historic Wilmore neighborhood in SouthEnd where his garden, dogs and friends are his passion.

Sharon Dowell Sharon is a painter, public art creator, curator, and was director of the much missed Center of the Earth Gallery. She will be a summer affiliate at the McColl Center for Visual Art starting this month and welcomes you to visit her in her studio there. She exhibits nationally and can be found at art centered events throughout the city. To learn more and see her work visit www.

T.J. Larsen When Tj first moved to Charlotte in 1998 he was set on becoming a graphic designer and copywriter. His passion for the creative is voiced through marketing with his day job, owner of My Townhome Realty, which provides unique opportunities to get knee deep in all things creative. Publishing Seen Uptown Magazine adds yet another creative outlet. His fuel and inspiration for the content is Uptown life, arts, fashion, music and culture. After selling that way of life in real estate for 13 years this is the perfect new vehicle for his creative side.

Tracy Russ Tracy is a native Charlottean who loves connecting people and ideas to create positive change. He's the founder of Russ Communications and Executive Director of Crossroads Charlotte. Tracy is on the founding steering committee for TEDxCharlotte and the Board of Time Out Youth. Good books, witty remarks, weird art, laughter, anybody who tries turning a dream to reality, his family, boyfriend Ian and their dogs are among Tracy's bff's. Hit him up at truss@

contributors seen uptown – 7

Red Carpet

Photography by Pam’s Creative Images

Carolina International Pageants Girls Night Out

Photography by Alex C. Romero Photography

Pride Magazine CIAA Event Levine Museum of the New South

Photography by Blu Photography

2011 Heart Ball NASCAR Hall of Fame

Photography by Jan Jenson Photography

Guys And Dolls Auction Hilton Charlotte Center City


Photography by Open Up Photography

Good Eats & Meets Toys For Tots

Our Next eveNt

Benefiting A Child’s Place An extraordinary evening of fashion, style, wine and cuisine from around the world April 16, 2011 - 6:30pm $20 general - $25 runway seat Location: Reelworks - NC Music Factory 817 Hamilton Street Admission includes passport, champagne, wine, sake, cuisine, dessert, local artists, eight fashion shows, exclusive designers, giveaways, celebrities, after party.

Photography by Catch Light Studio

10th Annual Bartender’s Ball Blake Hotel

Photgraphy by Robert Christopher Photography

The Saloon Grand Opening NC Music Factory

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If you can’t find spring outside you can always find it inside at Campbell’s Greenhouses in Dilworth. Step inside and you're instantly transported to a tropical paradise. pictures by Scott Lindsley

Jesse Campbell (right) can be found daily in one of two greenhouses open to the public off McDonald Avenue, tending to orchids and other tropical flora.

noise ordinance the

story by Scott Lindsley / pictures by Fenix Fotography

Patios, terraces and outdoor spaces dominate the restaurant and bar scene in and around Uptown. An outside table or set of chairs is always a premium. Congruent with outdoor life in the Queen City is outdoor music.From small stages to DJ tables to outdoor festivals we’ve always enjoyed our outside time with a bit of music in the air. But where does the pleasure of one group overstep the comfort and desire for quiet of another? Charlotte’s weather is often cited as a reason that many migrate here from other parts of the country. Though we have a couple months of really cold and another couple of really hot, the rest are generally mild and lend themselves to spending time outside, which we do in droves. As I write this I’m sitting on the patio of Common Market in SouthEnd. It’s a beautiful pre-Spring morning. The temperature still calls for a sweatshirt or jacket, but a promising day is ahead with sunshine and a high of 68. This is typical for Charlotte, even in late winter. Later 12 – seen uptown

this evening neighbors will gather in this same spot and sip wine and beer while listening to a mix of tunes à la DJ Matt van Dam. Common Market is a place we frequent often – it’s across the street and one block from our home. We typically have coffee and breakfast here in the morning and finish many evenings here with a glass of wine or a beer and a table full of friends.When we moved to Wilmore just over three years ago, this is where I met met most of our neighbors, who are now close friends. Common Market is still our favorite hang-out. It isn’t that I don’t sympathize with those who want to tone down the music, or just noise in general, but I have to question their choice of environment. Of the petitioners who wish to have outdoor music banned near their homes I notice a striking trend: by far most moved to their homes long after the entertainment districts where they find themselves came to be.Why choose to live near something or some place only to ask others to change

and refrain so you can be happy? I’d get it with far more sympathy if, say, a neighborhood developed, folks moved in and out of nowhere a strip of bars opened with blaring music. This hasn’t happened. Folks moved in only to find they live closer to the nightlife than they wish to be. I’m an urbanite to the core.There are gives and takes to living where many of us do – in the heart of the city. On the one hand I can walk to dozens of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and lounges.Those that are uptown are just a one-block walk and eight-minute train ride away. We tailgate at home with friends and walk to Panthers games. I don’t put more than a full tank of gas in my car a month, even though I sell real estate and often have to drive clients to and from showings. My neighbors and friends all live within just a few short blocks and we often see each other on evening walks or sitting on the porch. That’s all the good part. We also have a bus stop in front of our home, a convenience store beside us, and a busy thoroughfare right outside our door. We hear people, cars, buses and that same light-rail train we ride all the time. We hear fire trucks and ambulances and motorcycles. We also hear music from two or three venues nearby. Although we don’t like all of this noise around us, over time we have become quite adept at tuning most of it out. But the main reason we can accept these surroundings are for the better points listed above. We could always move to less expensive digs with a larger yard and lots and lots of peace and quiet, but then we’d lose all the benefits of our great urban neighborhood. The proposed changes to the ordinance call for no amplified outdoor music within 400 feet of residential areas. For most of Charlotte’s most popular urban neighborhoods, this effectively cuts off all bars and restaurants. For most residents, that is the appeal of these neighborhoods – proximity to business zones. I work with clients who mostly buy in the city's core and want the walkable lifestyle we have. They want the train nearby and they want a vibrant and lively scene. To choke much of that off because a select few who live in the city aren’t happy with it – seems contrary to what urban living is all about. It also seems contrary to building a city where options abound: dining, art, proximity to entertainment, and certainly the ability to enjoy some music outside in your own neighborhood.

Folk rocker A. E. Nash performs outside Smelly Cat in NoDa, March 14, 2011 (above); a young musician entertains visitors at the Whitewater Center.

The epicenter

of the Noise Ordinance debate seems to be Philosopher's Stone in the Elizabeth neighborhood at the corner of Seventh Street and Pecan.That portion of the neighborhood is hemmed in between Independence Boulevard, CSX railroad tracks, two hospitals with numerous ambulances rushing in and out daily. It’s just one mile from the center of Uptown and is criss-crossed with multiple thoroughfares, often carrying heavy traffic. Some residents feel that decades-old bars and restaurants should quiet down. It’s well within any residents’ right to voice their opinion and seek change if

raised money for Lymphoma and Leukemia research. Any of this is easily found online, in print, or by just walking in the door. Furthermore, Jack’s had never been made aware, by citation or letter, that these machines weren’t in compliance. So why the big raid with uniformed police officers? Why not just walk in and take a picture? One could jump to the conclusion that some city officials intentionally pushed for the intimidation factor: such a large show of force seems a bit absurd to photograph a game room in a neighborhood restaurant.

The police and code enforcement “raid” at Jackalope Jack's – photo courtesy of Jackalopes. they wish, but the methods that seem to be taking place might startle some. Around midnight on Friday, March 11, city code enforcement officers and as many as nine Charlotte police officers in marked cars descended upon Jackalope Jack’s to investigate assertions that the restaurant/ bar was violating city zoning ordinance by providing entertainment to patrons, in addition to serving food and alcohol. The pool tables, foosball and video games are seemingly okay, but the Skee ball and Karaoke machines aren’t. Apparently these games push you over into the “nightclub” classification. Though that might seem trite and silly to some, it is the rule. But why storm in on a busy weekend night to photograph these machines to prove the violation? They are there all day, every day, in plain sight. Jack’s has won Creative Loafing’s “Best Place for Karaoke” for many years now.They advertise Skee ball tournaments – primarily for fundraisers – including a January 14 tournament, which 14 – seen uptown

All that Code Enforcement officials will say is this is part of a “Nuisance Response Team” that is looking into various bars and restaurants and their compliance to zoning ordinance. Fair enough. But were that many uniformed police officers really necessary? The zoning compliance investigation looked more like a drug bust. According to wait staff at Jack’s at least 40 people paid their bills quickly and left as a result. Considering the restaurant has been open for 16 years and has only been written up once for anything – an incorrectly labeled liquor bottle – that hardly seems like a fair shake. Could it be that someone, or a group with influence, has it out for the strip of bars that sits along Seventh Street in Elizabeth? Those businesses have been part of the city’s landscape and have contributed to the area’s vitality for as long as I can remember. And that’s quite a long time.

Rob Nixon, owner of Jackalope Jack's with two of his Skee ball machines. Jack's has been known for it's Skee ball tournaments for years.

Filled with anticipation of meeting some of the greatest names in professional skateboarding, skater dudes began lining up hours in advance of the Nike SB (skateboard) “Too Cold to Hold” event held March 4, 2011 at Black Sheep skateboard and clothing boutique in SouthEnd. 1


story and images by Fenix Fotography



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Tunes spun from a Red Bull mobile DJ booth enter tained the crowd, which filled the sidewalk 12-people wide and a city block deep. The skaters’ heroes arrived suddenly, cutting through the crowd and ducking into the boutique for a quick dinner catered by Price’s Chicken Coop. The dudes clamored at the windows for a peak, shaking cardboard cutouts, board decks, shoes, and other memorabilia to be signed. A chant of, “Let us in! Let us in!” went up and was picked up by the waiting crowd of approximately 400. Finally, the doors opened and Lance Mountain, Eric Koston, Daryl Angel, Matt Beach, Ishod Wair and Brad Staba met their fans.

1 Eric Kolston makes his way through the crowd. 2 Eric Koston (blue hat) and Brad Staba (headband) sign an elated fan’s board. 3 Brad Staba points to a cutout of his younger self. 4 Red Bull mobile DJ booth 5 (this page) Across the street from the Black Sheep, elated fans started up an impromptu skate contest.



Mark Mathis has been a staple in the Charlotte music scene for over a decade. I remember going to small coffee shops in 1999 and watching him perform. The progression of Mathis’s music is a constant evolution of sound anchored by well crafted lyrics and a unique songwriting style. Whether it is his folk recordings, rock and roll or synth driven pop rock, his words are honest, meaningful. It’s a from the heart approach that is difficult to find in much of modern music. Mathis released his first record in 2002. “Songs I Learned in College” is a collection of eight indie rock songs he recorded at Reflections Studio on Central Avenue. The sound is lo-fi and the band is loose, but even in those early recordings you could hear the potential in Mark’s songwriting. There is a distant sadness in his voice, like someone looking for something they are unable to find.


Mark released “Public Radio,” an Americana rock and roll record. This record showcased Mark’s development as a songwriter. The depth of the lyrics and topics covered were courageous and the vocal performances held nothing back. The band toured heavily on the record and received a warm reception by fans and critics alike. Mathis, however, was unsatisfied with the way things were going. In 2008 Mathis and the band travelled to Germany and began working with producer Nicholas Balachandran. What started out as an experiment turned into the “Sweetchild” e.p. This transition for the band was a departure from the roots-driven rock and roll that had defined their sound to a more synth laden dance rock sound. Mathis describes the change as, “a distinction that he was ready to make, a departure from what was becoming expected.” Mathis knew changing the sound so dramatically would be a risk, but it was one he knew he had to take to pursue the music he wanted to create. That risk paid off for the band. They were signed to local independent label Deep Elm and had a song featured on Guitar Hero for Xbox.



Touring and playing shows has always been a part of Mathis’s blue collar approach to music. Since the release of “Sweetchild” the band has played consistently in Charlotte and toured several times. The strength of the band has grown as they have cultivated a sound all their own. Public Radio has capitalized on the strengths of new band members, constantly delivering high energy performances marked by Luke Hill’s powerful drumming style and Jeremy Smith’s punk rock-inspired bass playing and stage performance. Aaron Robertson on keys and Larry Tran on lead guitar round out the band, bringing electronic sophistication and danceable melodic textures. Mark’s wife Jessie adds an additional vocal element singing harmonies and occasional lead parts while supporting Mark’s lead vocal. You can tell from their live performance that each member of the band contributes a unique musical background and combines it to create music that is original and inspired. This band is the sum of a diverse set of parts bound together by great songwriting and lyrics with depth.

The band began a Kickstarter campaign (for more on Kickstarter see below) called “Public Radio is Nothing Without You” to fund the new recording which brought in over $8,500 towards the cost of the project. When asked about the new record, said Mathis: “The thing that really sets this record apart is that it was entirely fan funded, even the title and art work was brought about by the fans. We are really thankful for everyone who gave toward the project.” The title of the album is “Nothing Without You,” and it is due for release early this summer. Be sure to check out the Public Radio myspace for more information, tour dates, and music.

WHAT IS KICK STARTER? is a web based funding platform for creative projects. It is a centralized place for theater companies, animators, film makers, photographers, bands and everything in between to seek funding based on their creative vision. Here’s the catch, if you don’t raise your total goal, you don’t get any money. It’s a great place to browse projects and get involved in the creative process by supporting artists in their work. In many cases the artists will give really exciting funding incentives. So check it out and get involved in making art.



haron Jones & The Dap-Kings Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings brought the true spirit of Motown to Charlotte during their show at the McGlohon Theater. The Dap-Kings’ energy and enthusiasm, paired with the soulful vocals of Ms. Jones, provided a show that will not soon be forgotten in the Queen City. Not only did Sharon and her DapKings make the Charlotte audience shake a leg, they also shattered any sense of division often rendered from big bands to their audiences. During their finale, the band brought audience members on stage to sing along and say goodnight. It was a genuinely moving experience to see such a great band exemplify the importance of community. In a sense, that’s the true spirit of Motown. —ANDRAE BERGERON

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Dear Dr. Dar: My boyfriend is friends with an ex. I've known this since we started dating a few months ago. She has gone through a recent break-up and really seems to be leaning on him as her support ever since. I want to be open and not be jealous about their relationship, but it's been getting much more difficult lately. Am I reading too much into this? Signed, New Relationship Dear New: Being friends with the ex is a concern that can either bring couples closer together or tear them apart.Take stock of your relationship - is this someone you are committed to for the long haul? How about over the next three to five years? If not then let this blow over while taking care of yourself by doing things you love while he sorts things out with his ex. You have been dating a few months, which is hardly enough time to influence his relationship with his ex if you do not have an agreement to have a monogamous, exclusive relationship and have not yet really discussed the future of your relationship. If you do have a serious relationship and concern for your future with him, here are some things to look out for: does he spend more time with her than he does with you; is he there for her at all hours of the day; is she a higher priority than you or his family; does he openly share the conversations with you or is he secretive about it; does he sometimes include you in his plans to spend time with her; is this something you can be supportive of or is this a deal breaker for you as you think about your future with him? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it is time to have a conversation with him about it. I do not suggest you make him feel as though he's doing something wrong. Instead, say, 'It's really great of you to be there for your ex. Your caring nature is something I really appreciate. I understand the difficult time she is having, breaking up is never an easy thing to experience.” Now that you've let him know how you appreciate his kind-heartedness, it's time to let him know what makes you uncomfortable. “I do want to let you know that it does bother me that you spend so much time with her, even though I understand you are just friends. I'd like this to not bother me. Could we come up with some ideas to help your ex feel better and move on with her life, I'd love to be a part of the solution and helping her heal?' If he is unwilling to include you or defends his position, I suggest you back away from this relationship until he works out his relationship with his ex. If he is willing to collaborate, discuss this openly with you and include you, then you have a positive future together. Best Wishes, Dr. Dar

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On Friday, March 11, Seen Uptown Magazine had its launch party at Dharma Lounge in SouthEnd. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate our first issue hitting the streets!

seen uptown – 23

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you should be

Culture Initiative watching

story by Sharon Dowell pictures by Arthur Brouthers

Every Culture Initiative event is an experience: think friendly and unpretentious meets fresh and vibrant. They’ve presented concerts from excellent bands like Holy Ghost and Canada’s Young Empires, which also included a multi-artist presentation boasting colorful, larger than life, free standing art. It’s easy to say that Culture Initiative is making waves on a grass roots level. Events are fresh and varied and have included curated shows at Baku gallery, a 24-hour lock-in collaboration between ten artists and one robot; and even performances by battling DJs. They’ve also caught the eye of energy drink giant Red Bull, which sponsors art events across the world and have supported several Culture Initiative shows.

Big picture: Epic Proportions at Dharma Lounge, part of the Red Bull Public Assembly promoters challenge. Inset: a lifesize shadow box by John Hairston, Jr. at Culturalism at Amos' SouthEnd, the winning event for the Red Bull Public Assembly series on February 28, 2011.

The driving forces behind Culture Initiative are Joel Tracey and Arthur Brouthers.Tracey is a graphic designer, working in brand identity and concept development with companies like Doc Martens USA and London-based Champion Records. Brouthers is a Music Stylist, consulting with clients such as Charlotte and Charleston Fashion Week. In addition to their professional careers, they successfully find time to produce very inventive events. Both share a love of music and DJ regularly in the Charlotte and Charleston club scenes. Artists associated with the group range from emerging to those who are longtime fixtures on the creative scene. With each show, they challenged their artists with a different theme: “A Troubled Life: Edgar Allen Poe,” examined the life of the infamous poet with interpretive paintings. “Hearts and Pinups” brought together the seen uptown – 27

collected works of local photographers and images of their female subjects to create a stylized pin-up calendar. Works are affordable for any budget and it’s a wonderful way to show support for local artists.Working with other art organizations regionally, Culture Initiative is introducing Charlotte artists to other cities and bringing work from outside our community in to the Queen City.. The momentum from Culture Initiative is strong, and the Charlotte art scene is benefitting from their love of art, music and all things culture. In the near future they’ll be partnering with CLT Blog and WTVI on the Democratic National Convention 2012's PPL Project in an effort that allows bloggers, journalists, artists, activists and independent media producers to come together in a creative co-working space in Charlotte. Other goals include obtaining a space, growing a staff that shares their vision and building support to reach out to students, many of whom have been affected by budget cuts to arts programs. Find them on Facebook and check out their current exhibit, “Contrast: a 12” Black and White Arts Presentation” at Baku Art Gallery in Noda through April 30. Arthur Brouthers and Joel Tracey, photo by Shane Cudahy.

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The “&” exhibit artist lock-in for The Extraordinary & The Something Sideshow, Neighborhood Theatre.

Live graffiti as part of Epic Proportions.

The Wise Midnight Hags show at Baku Art Gallery, photo by Desta Stutts.

30 – seen uptown

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Selling out in Southend.


25 SOLD IN 4 MONTHS! CALL TODAY: 980-219-6017 FLATS from $119,900

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from the $160’s

1 Bedroom 651 sq ft (approx)

2 Bedrooms 970-1043 sq ft (approx)

• Each plan comes with private garage! • Balcony size varies per floor. • Hardwoods standard in common areas. • Carpeted bedrooms, tiled bathrooms. • Granite countertops & stainless appliances standard.

• Bedrooms on opposite ends of home for privacy. • Each plan comes with private garage! • Balcony size varies per floor. • Same standard finishes as one bedroom flats.


DECK TOWNS 3 Left $250,000

2 Bedrooms 1580 sq ft (approx) • Living space divided between three levels. • 190 sq ft roof top terrace on the fourth floor. • Additional balconies on the 2nd and 3rd floors. • Hardwood floors throughout, with exception of tiled bathrooms. • Granite countertops and stainless appliances standard. • Parking spot assigned in garage behind homes.

TOWNHOMES from the $260’s 3 Bedrooms 1450-1600 sq ft (approx) • Each plan comes with private garage! • Entry porches and spacious balcony on 2nd level. • Hardwoods standard in common areas. • Carpeted bedrooms, tiled bathrooms. • Granite countertops standard.

Sales Agents: Billy Shugart, Mike Feehley and Jeff Sharp Sales Center Open Daily: 308 Magnolia Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28203


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majorities, minorities, priorities – change comes to Charlotte story by Tracy Russ

We’re living in a moment of history. No, not the variety of first-in-flight, or the creation of a new government or even the emergence of some world-changing technology. This change is more subtle, but in many ways, just as historic for Charlotte-Mecklenburg as any other event. As subtle change sometimes does, it arrived without fanfare, but it doesn’t need it – this civic celebrity knows it’s important, even if you don’t. What is it? Wait no longer…drum roll please…the results are in from the 2010 Census, and it’s official: the white majority population is no longer a majority. Our community’s rapid growth and history have combined to create a new reality – the new majority is in fact, a minority majority. In 2000, the white population comprised 55 percent of the population. In 2010, the number had dropped to 45 percent. What does that mean? It means that the combined populations of non-whites in this southern Queen City now outnumber the white population, for the first time ever in our modern history. The percent of the hispanic population has doubled since 2000 to 13 percent of the total in 2010. In 2000, blacks accounted for 27 percent of the city’s voters – that number is now 35 percent. (source: Charlotte Observer, 3/20/11, Morrill).

That’s right, the white magnolia blossom of our face to the world is now much more complex looking, and it means all types of changes could abound. If the word census conjures up images of awful, long forms, pesky raps on the front door, endless phone calls and dry data, well, of course every stereotype has a basis in reality. But if you care about how local decisions are made, about who your elected officials are, about your tax rates, money for schools, roads, police and other basic aspects of city life, that little dry form becomes much more interesting. In the same way the quiet, nerdy Peter Parker is when one discovers he is in fact, the muscle-bound, turbo-cool Spiderman.The census is important because our elected officials are chosen from districts that are re-drawn after each census is taken. And if you believe in the adage that 42 – seen uptown

the majority rules, then you certainly would want to pay attention to who that majority is today. If you think race doesn’t matter anymore, think again. The discussions may be more complex than just black and white these days, but the perceptions and concerns over power are still there, and for many people they are very real. Some would say a sophisticated mind believes that we’ve emerged into an era of color blindness. Perhaps we have in some ways, but recent headlines in CharlotteMecklenburg tell a different story. We’ve known for awhile that this day would arrive, and for many, it couldn’t come soon enough.The change has been more rapid than we anticipated, and just in time for us to thrust our new face front and center to the world camera when Charlotte hosts the 2012 Democratic National Convention. It’s true that our changing face will have much more to say about politics, money, and many other decisions. But what will it mean to you? Some say our diversity will just become accepted fact and not a big deal. Others say that the opportunity for cultural and social growth is unparalleled – if we take advantage of it. But why wait for an entire city to change? Go to it yourself and start today! If you want to see what the future could look like, I invite you to check out the Crossroads Charlotte stories about four possible futures at But if you want a taste of this new Charlotte today, come on out to any of the many events that are bringing people together across differences. Check out the site to see what’s coming up. Most of the time, the events are free! The census brought us news of what we already knew in many ways – Queen City Charlotte will look much different moving forward. Can we harness the potential of our population’s diversity? What does it mean, just from a psychological point of view, for whites in Charlotte to know they are now in the minority? Interesting questions for interesting times. The answers will be found only as we explore our new reality, day by day, decision by decision. One thing’s for sure. It’s an historic moment for us all.

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Gardening has always been a passion of mine.Though I include the flashy kind, the flowers and shrubs and bulbs that delight the eye – I'm talking more about the vegetable garden that delights the palate and stomach. For many people, gardens are something their parents or grandparents had. Many were “hobby” gardens, nothing that really fed everyone but something that supplemented on the dinner table or added a tomato or two for the salad. Most of us have lost the green-thumb that once was prevalent – and for many, necessary to survive. Today we don’t need to garden and we don’t need to feed ourselves from our surroundings. But need doesn’t always have to be the driving force for everything and growing enough food to feed yourself doesn’t have to be a rural undertaking. My gardening journey began young, with my grandparents in Charlotte and their ever-present single row of veggies along their backyard fence. Every spring and fall I was given a dollar or two to turn the soil and add in fresh compost and fertilizer. They grew herbs, squash, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Their dinner table

during the summer always had a sprinkling of something just picked in the mix and fall had homemade pickles and canned tomatoes. My grandparents in the mountains near Asheville also gardened, but had the additional benefit of a forest to walk through for collecting wild mushrooms. I still remember how fresh and woody they tasted, like nothing I’d tried before. They also had a small orchard and a tiny greenhouse that provided fresh options year-round. My mom and I carried on the tradition with a small plot almost everywhere we lived. It was nothing that yielded much, but it did cultivate a desire to keep my hands in the dirt and a love for the taste of something you’ve grown and toiled for yourself. Through the years my personal gardens waxed and waned depending on where I lived and what I was up to. College doesn’t lend itself easily to growing much and condo living didn’t either – though we did have containers of herbs, peppers and tomatoes on the terrace of our Uptown pad. When we moved to a house in South End four years ago the desire to garden in our tiny urban lot was

The photos in this article are from the home garden of Carley, Robbie, Lucy and Eliot. They live just a mile from the center of Uptown and provide almost all their family veggies from what they've grown on a lot that’s just under a third of an acre. Toss in the henhouse and eggs and the only thing missing for a full-fledged farm is a dairy cow. In their garden they grow arugula, asparagus, basil, beets, bell peppers, black beans, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts,

cabbage, carrots, chives, cilantro, collards, corn, crowder peas, cucumbers, edamame, eggplant, garlic, green peas, hot peppers, kohlrabi, leeks, lemon balm, lettuce, lima beans, mint, okra, oregano, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, radish, raspberry, rosemary, sage, snap beans, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, summer squash, sunflowers, sweet peppers, swiss chard, tarragon, thyme, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, winter pumpkin and winter squash.

story by Scott Lindsley / pictures by Carley Englander resurrected by a visit to a neighbor's home early in the spring. Her winter garden was still giving up cabbage and other greens. That same day we headed to Lowe’s, picked up bags of soil, peat moss and compost and my new chapter of gardening began. Since then we’ve moved, within the neighborhood, to a spot with almost half an acre and we have over 60 edible plants in our yard: 19 fruit trees including figs, pears, apples, and peaches. We have all types of herbs, greens and garlic. In the fall we plant cabbage, beets, collards, and broccoli and repeat these in early spring.The summer brings tomatoes, peppers of all kinds (especially the hot ones), okra, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and eggplant. Our home also came with a huge pecan tree that surprised us this year with more bounty than we, the squirrels and any passers-by could possibly eat. We aren’t the only ones we know that grow much of what they eat right in their own yards, just blocks (for us) or within a mile or two of the center city core. To some we know our garden isn’t quite the farm we'd like to believe it is. We know a few people who have added

in chickens for meat and eggs, something our dogs would never go along with without a feathery mess. If you’ve never gardened and didn’t grow up with any experience it’s not as tough as people seem to believe. It’s best to start small and simple – like tomatoes and peppers, for example – then branch out to more if you find growing some of your own food is for you. Knowing what's ready to plant is just as easy. The garden centers put it out when the time is right, so check with them to get started. Herbs are definitely easy, can be grown in pots in the yard or on the deck and add fantastic fresh flavor to summer meals. Dried they can be saved throughout the year. I think many potential gardeners would be surprised at some of the incredible gardens I’ve seen all over the Queen City. Even more surprising is just how much great food can be had by simply tilling, planting and maintaining a plot of your very own. Captions go here for pictures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

seen uptown – 45


story by David Aaron Moore / pictures by Fenix Fotography

Frazier Park has been a part of the Charlotte landscape since the mid ‘70s. I recently moved to the Wesley Heights neighborhood, which makes the 12-acre park about a five minute walk from my home. A lot of people aren’t aware of this inner city recreational spot. In my opinion, it’s one of the city’s greatest undiscovered jewels. If you live in Uptown or Gateway Village it’s an easy walk down Trade Street with a left on Sycamore. It’s immediately on your right. From anywhere else in the city I would suggest you park on a side street in south Wesley Heights. Whether you choose Walnut, Grandin or Summit, take Litaker east towards uptown and you’ll end up on the Greenway, which takes you beneath the cavernous interstate bridge and a pathway that leads beside Irwin Creek and directly into the park. But stop and check out the history that surrounds you on your journey: note the long forgotten rail tracks that served for both steam and electric service out of what was once Charlotte proper, bound for neighborhoods today that were once considered towns of their own, like Berryhill Township and Thrift. Just before you make the left onto the path to the park, there’s an old bridge that crosses Irwin Creek. It’s mostly buried behind a city-erected fence and overgrown shrubbery. But it’s still there, in all its decaying glory. Try picturing yourself back in the 1920s after a long day at work in Charlotte, trundling over that bridge as you ride a trolley back to your home in a nearby town. Although Frazier Park isn’t that old, it’s surrounded by history – and much of it is seemingly undiscovered, or at least forgotten.There’s the obvious that is up front and 46 – seen uptown

present, like the beautiful mature oaks and stately early 20th century homes to be found in Wesley Heights and Third Ward. But then there’s the bridge and train line and an ancient stone retaining wall along the east side of Irwin Creek, which clearly dates back to the 19th century. What began life in 1975 as two small acres, today boasts 12 acres and numerous amenities. If you continue following that path by the waterway you’ll find yourself on the far southern end of the park, alongside an athletic field, chiefly used for soccer. There’s also Our Children’s Memorial Walkway, which pays homage to deceased children through manicured shrubbery, metal sculpture and memorial bricks bearing the names of loved ones now gone. At the corner of Sycamore and Fourth there’s a special part of Frazier Park many people overlook: the community garden. Year round neighborhood residents can lease a 10 x 15 plot for seasonal gardening.The cost is just $15 a month, and more information is available at 704-353-1237. After passing underneath Fourth Street in the first of a series of multiple tunnels, there are tennis courts to the left, where many city residents like to spend early spring days at play. “I love this park,” says former Third Ward resident Jennifer Connelly. “I come here pretty regularly to play tennis with my sister,” she explains. “Even though I live in SouthEnd now, I still make the trip over here because there’s nothing else like it in the city. You’ve got the tennis courts, Irwin Creek and the Greenway and a skyline view. And take note of those beautiful pink and white blooming pear trees – they’re an absolutely beautiful sight

to behold. What more could you ask for?” If you have your pooch with you, don’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the two fenced-in dog play areas, where pups can run and play off the leash with other dogs The compounds are separated – one side for small dogs and the other for larger breeds – but a gate provides crossover access for your canine friends that aren’t intimidated by size, or lack of. Fresh water is provided and there are usually plenty of dog toys lying around the grounds. “There’s another dog play area at McAlpine Park that my girlfriend and I will take our two Great Danes to occasionally,” says Fourth Ward resident Richard Johnson. “It is fun, but it doesn’t offer the sense of community like Frazier Park does for people living in and around the Uptown area. “Here you get to meet other dog owners that live nearby. We’ve actually made some good friends while our dogs made some new ones, too.” If you’re a basketball enthusiast you’ll find plenty of locals on the outdoor court at the north end of the park, where the grounds officially come to an end at Trade Street. But the greenway doesn’t end here. Tunnels continue beside Irwin Creek underneath Trade Street and Fifth Street, with the pathway winding to a close at Ray’s Splash Planet, a city-owned and operated facility that offers swimming, exercise equipment and other recreational opportunities. “This park has so much, and I don’t believe many people even know about it,” Connelly continues. “Who knew uptown had a waterway so close to the center of the city? The tunnels underneath the streets and even Ray’s Splash Planet offer a taste of recreational urbanity many would take advantage of if only they knew about it.” Located in the Central Park region, Frazier Park’s street address is listed as 1201 West Fourth Street Ext. For more information call 704-432-4280 or visit and click on the Recreation & Culture link. Ray’s Splash Planet is located at 215 North Sycamore St. For more information call 704-432-4729 or visit www. Top: one of the playful bronze statues in Frazier Park’s Our Children’s Memorial Walkway. Left: Irwin Creek runs parallel to Frazier Park, offering a scenic waterway practically in the heart of Charlotte.

so put experience to work for you. When you start your search for the perfect “home” you aren’t just looking at property, but neighborhoods and surroundings as well. Your life isn’t lived just inside four walls! I help my clients find the right fit for their life and their lifestyle - whether it’s a luxury high-rise condo, a charming historic district bungalow, a townhome along the light-rail line or a loft in the Art’s District. I’ve lived my whole life in and around Uptown Charlotte - no one knows these neighborhoods and areas better - so let me put my 19+ years experience in Charlotte real estate to work for you. Call now and we’ll take a tour of Charlotte’s great urban neighborhoods and start the process of finding your perfect home or condo.

Scott Lindsley (704) 906-1645 | |

soul SouthEnd

story by Cortez Williams / pictures by Mike Rumph

50 – seen uptown

SouthEnd has always been a district in transition. Originally a gritty industrial factor y and warehouse area on the outskirts of what was then the city limits of Charlotte, it is now as urban as it gets. Existing industrial buildings and warehouses that once served as factories and machine shops have been transformed into condominium lofts, restaurant space, studios and offices. The area runs straight through the middle of two of Charlotte’s historic districts: Dilworth and Wilmore. These two bungalow neighborhoods firmly anchor this area with mixed use and residential, creating a vibrant crossroads with workers in and out all day, and residents filling restaurants in the evenings and weekends. Many may recall the annual festival held in SouthEnd: Art & Soul. Camden Road was blocked, vendors lined the streets, vacant lots were temporarily occupied with sound stages and music filled the air. The festival brought art, food and music from around the region and sometimes around the country. As the District has evolved and developed, bringing in more design related businesses, so has the festival. In 2010, Center City Partners, the group responsible for creating and production of Art & Soul, decided to focus more on the local talent and business. Though this shifted the festival away from just art and music, it opened doors to the dozens of businesses that otherwise had been left out of the street festival. No longer would regional and national vendors line Camden Road, but local artists and entities were able to show their craft to a broader audience. In addition to the design firms in the district, South-

End has also seen an influx of nightlife and dining over the past three to four years. As Center City Partners puts it: “…SouthEnd has matured from its Art & Soul era. Now, it lays claim to a host of bars, lounges, and high-end restaurants, as well as a reputation for drawing the kind of crowd that likes to bring creativity outside the walls of refurbished studios.” The festival last year celebrated much of this new life with events and music at Common Market, one of the unique indoor/outdoor venues in the neighborhood. SouthEnd Savor was added which brought together neighborhood restaurants for an outdoor dining experience under the stars in a field at the corner of Camden and Park Avenue. The finale of the weekend was Fashion Soul, which transformed the parking lot behind Dharma Lounge into a 70-foot runway to showcase the hair and fashion designs of local studios and salons. After parties at the local nightspots kept the neighborhood energized until Sunday morning. This year’s event will host even more seminars, open door studios, meet and mingle opportunities and business showcase events than last. Two more days have been added, with the start on Tuesday, rather than Thursday. Saturday evening dining will once again showcase local flair, but this time with Slow Food Charlotte transforming the Atherton Mill Farmers Market into a dining extravaganza. Fashion Soul will once again round out the night at Dharma Lounge with after parties there and at Marigny Dance Club. Charlotte has many festivals. Speed Street, Taste of Charlotte, Blues Brews & BBQ, Fesitval of India and many more that show the deep diversity Charlotte has to offer. SouthEnd Soul brings yet another element of Charlotte life to the streets and showcases the creative district that has taken root in one of our industrial corridors just outside the Uptown Loop. seen uptown – 51

seen uptown – 53

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overbuilding story by T.J. Larsen pictures by Eric Bahrs


How about this announcement of more construction in Uptown Charlotte? Are they really building more condos? Have these developers not been reading the paper? In the last few months we have all watched as several new condo projects have been introduced. In center city we first saw sales go live at the immense tower The Vue with 409 homes. Then enter 26 condominiums at The Madison. We all watched with wonder as this Second Ward enigma was constructed for years with no specified publicity of what it was to be. And now, the concrete and steel skeleton of The Park – which has sat untouched at Third and Caldwell since early 2008 – looks as if it will receive new life as a Hyatt Hotel with 67 condominiums for sale, as well. Many are asking why more homes are being built in this already sluggish market. I’m also asking this question. As the owner of a real estate firm with a large market share in Uptown I have a vested interest in the success of the Uptown housing market. I have followed closely the development trends in Center City. In the late ‘90s I was amazed to watch as each new project began to push the bounds of style and scale, serving new markets and creating housing opportunities for young professionals in the Urban Core. Concepts like liquid walls with the creation of customized spaces were introduced. Open loft plans found great acceptance. As the Uptown market continued to thrive projects became more dense and the size of studios and micro homes pushed new limits. Condos began to look like Ikea home displays. Some units with sizes below 400 square feet were constructed to create buying opportunities for young urbanites, as housing prices soared. At the other end of the spectrum 62 – seen uptown

– and with the market nearing its peak – we began to see mega luxury homes that carried hefty price tags. Opulence was in and Uptown was the place to be. Buyers were willing and able to spend more and developers answered the call with high-end projects that offered greater amenities and luxury finishes, As 2006 emerged the media was reporting the enormous amount of projects that were planned. It seemed as if I had only to turn to Doug Smith’s column to find an announcement of another new project every week. But even when the market still seemed bulletproof, some began to voice concerns of overbuilding. In late 2008, the minority that had voiced concern over too much housing in the market was joined by the majority. Until that date, even though sales had slowed, most Charlotte residents did not expect to experience the full effect of the real estate downturn that had struck the rest of the nation. The commentary from many was that Charlotte was insulated from the rest of the nation and would not experience the same issues as extreme bubble markets like Las Vegas, California and Florida. Charlotte was not vulnerable and was protected by our thriving banking community. That all changed when the chink in the armor was exposed.We watched in terror as out of work employees filed out of Lehman Brothers headquarters. Overnight, feelings of security and insulation shifted to a growing concern – and even panic – for our local economy. We were in for hard times. Here we are now, nearing three years since the collapse, and suddenly we see the introduction of three new towers. How can this be?

Uptown Charlotte was dominated by construction cranes just four to six years ago as our skyline rose ever higher.

There appears to be a hefty supply of resale homes still on the market, not to mention the shadow inventory of rental homes that will likely be sold once prices return to reasonable values.These are the questions I hear from a cautious and sometimes frightened buyer pool:“Is more construction a huge mistake? Do we need more homes? What will this new supply do to prices?” First we must remember there are controls that help slow the release of housing, to help match the market demand. Real estate, like all goods produced, is affected by supply and demand.What makes real estate development different from most widgets is the production time. Home production is not a spigot that can be turned on and off to meet demand in a week’s time. In suburban areas, perhaps a pad-ready lot can be developed by a production builder to churn out a home in four months. But realistically, with permits and plans, the quickest turnaround time is in the neighborhood of six to nine months. Uptown development is much more complex than suburban development. You have less land to build on. Once that scarce land is identified and purchased, often something needs to be torn down to make room for the new construction, which takes additional time.

Due to the high cost of land, more density within the project is needed to give the development a reasonable economic return. With higher density, plans are more complex, the permitting process more complex, and the construction itself is more complex. In the case of The Park, the mere 67 condos that will be created in this building (that is already well under way) are not even scheduled to be ready for occupancy until September 2012.The Vue broke ground September 2007, and was only recently completed. Although the announcement of these and future projects is a reality, proposed housing from planning to completion is a long way off. What we will find is that this time factor is a control mechanism, and it will help protect us from overbuilding. Funding is yet another control. Don’t be mistaken, it is not just buyers who are cautious of the market. The builders and the financial institutions that fund the projects are just as cautious, if not more so. A failed housing project has catastrophic financial effects for lenders and developers. It is an extreme rarity that a project of the size we would see in an Uptown environment is built without financing. For the most part, Uptown projects are large in scale and not funded with country club money.The banks must sign off on the loan. They want to limit their risk and are naturally cautious of the market. In most cases, once the a developer is lucky enough to find a bank willing to finance a project, a presale requirement is imposed prior to funding the construction. A presale is a binding purchase contract for a home before the home is complete. In Charlotte’s real estate heyday, presales were easier to get. Even then, not all projects announced obtained the presales required to get their start. In today’s market, presales are virtually impossible. This presale requirement will prohibit most new construction that is dependent on financing for the foreseeable future. Here again we’re seeing a control to slow supply while demand is increased. The size of Uptown projects themselves is yet another control. In the suburbs a developer can start a 1,000-unit housing project, with open land across the street and plans to build five more developments. No one bats and eye. In Charlotte’s Center City, however, even

the largest projects have far fewer homes and require a lot more time to build. To date the largest project in Uptown is The Vue. At 51 stories, this mega high rise will be home to 409 residents.The second largest new residential project will be the 67 condominiums proposed at The Park. Add to that the 26 homes at The Madison and we are barely over 500 new homes. This is by no means a huge inventory. As news spreads of renewed condominium development in Uptown, many are asking the question. Is it too soon? I think not.These small new additions are performing a much needed market test to determine the demand for new urban housing. Once the developers get a handle on how much inventory can be absorbed over a period of time, they will then be able to determine the correct

amount of housing to release into the market. It’s important to remember the production of housing is not immediate, and requires time to plan, sell and build. Even in the best of cases a project announced today won’t be ready for move-in for a minimum of 2 years. The funding and presale requirements for most new construction will be an enormous barrier to entry. Many projects that get to the stage of being announced will not be constructed and will go the way of 210 Trade, 300 Tryon, One Charlotte, Citadin, Catalyst, Encore and more. Now might actually be the optimal time for a few new project starts, since no new project in the Uptown loop has broken ground in the last 4 years. Is this too much construction too soon? Perhaps the better question is, will there be a shortage to come?

Let me share your thoughts with our readers. Is Uptown overbuilt or in for a shortage? E-mail

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BALLANTYNE 1508 Walnut View Dr. 3 Bedrooms & 3.5 Baths



66 – seen uptown $179,900





In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it over the mint leaves. Infuse for 20 minutes. Strain and discard the mint and use the syrup as directed. Any remaining syrup can be stored in the refrigerator.

seen uptown – 67

Little Shiva