Shopping Shortage in Uptown

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CHARLOTTE, NC —  Something is missing in Uptown Charlotte.

There are plenty of people, and lots of places to eat and drink. But those who live, work and visit want more shopping.

Charlotte Center City Partners is working to bring more retail to Uptown.

“They’ve come to a city that has a great reputation,” says Uptown business owner Teresa Farson. “And they’re staying uptown, and they want to shop.”
 
15,000 residents. 100,000 employees every week.  More than 11 million visitors each year.
They come to Uptown, and many find something lacking.
 
“We have great restaurants. We have great existing retail,” says Charlotte Center City Partners Retail Director Chris Hemans. “But one of the things we hear consistently from residents, and from visitors, is, ‘Where can I shop?'”
 
Hemans has identified dozens of possible locations, focusing on the Tryon Street corridor.
 
Uptown Charlotte certainly has a buzz about it, but there is a shortage of retail space. What City Center Partners wants to do is take the energy and the atmosphere here, turn it up, and make Uptown a shopping destination.
 
There’s space that can be re-purposed for retail, but the process can be tricky and expensive.
 
“We have to identify all those spaces that we have on our downtown, and then we’ve got to out and work with the ownership to find out if they have an interest in possibly putting in the money,” says Hemans. “Because it’s not cheap to bring a retailer into a space.”
 
Teresa Farson and her sister Betsy Almond have owned the Beehives gift shop in the Bank of America building for 29 years, watching Uptown shopping change through the years.
 
“It was mainly retail, and we’ve watched it slowly transition all to food,” says Farson. “And we miss it, and our customers miss having more retail Uptown.”
 
Teresa says her customers are looking for more. From simple amenities, to technology and fashion.
 
“We would love to anything,” says Farson. “I mean like an Apple Store would be great. An Anne Taylor, or something like that. But I think a mix would be awesome.”
 
Hemans says Center City Partners has a 5-10 year vision to attract new retail to Uptown and South End.