Charlotte, NC

Final Friday in Charlotte: County wants Panthers refund, affordable units, median home prices and more

Collin Cunningham

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See You Space Cowboy...(Wes Hicks/Unsplash)

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Friday, June 3 may be a warm one in Charlotte as temperatures max out at 82, but readers may want to wear black — both to soak up the rain possible between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. but to mourn this Roundup. Today's collection of Charlotte articles will be the last to impart the insight, conciseness and wit on the Queen City, but NewsBreak will still bring users daily Charlotte content.

Our final roundup tells you how much the South Carolina county of York is requesting from the Carolina Panthers to repurpose the bones of their half-built practice facility following Tepper Sports & Entertainment's bankruptcy filing. Speaking of finances, we take a look at new and ongoing efforts to create affordable housing for Charlotte's low-income residents before looking at the average home sale price in the Queen City amid meteoric rises.

Waving goodbye to readers for the last time are our eight-day weather report and weekend reading list, which carry Charlotteans into Sunday and then the great beyond afterward. For the final time, here is what every resident of the Queen City needs to know for today.

1. Rock Hill refund: York County asks Panthers for money over canned project

What happened: In response to the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that put the Carolina Panthers' half-built, $800 million training facility in Rock Hill to bed on Wednesday, the county containing the construction site is looking to recoup part of its investment. Speaking to WSOC about the termination and filing, GT Real Estate Holdings said it has "been confronted with various claims, some valid and some not, from vendors, contractors and other third parties, including York County."

Why it matters: One apparently invalid claim is the county's stake for $21 million, which GTRE is currently disputing. York County holds that it had contracted GTRE for the same amount to renovate a portion of Mt. Gallant Road alongside the proposed headquarters but, since the work was never carried out, the county of over 270,000 residents as of 2020 is seeking reimbursement for taxpayers.

The move comes from a company in the possession of the wealthiest team owner in the NFL: hedge fund manager David Tepper, who carries a net worth of $16.7 billion and has invested more than $175 million in the canned facility. Tepper will have to eat those costs, but York County and 16 other creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing — including Duke Energy and the City of Rock Hill, which contributed $107,670 and $115, respectively — hope to after the sudden status change, per WBTV.

2. Affordable access: What nonprofits and companies have low-cost housing projects in the works in Charlotte?

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As Charlotte's Southern Comfort Inn plans to force 150-200 people out on June 30, another company looks to turn another hotel into housing.(Courtesy of Google)

Between 150 and 200 Charlotte residents will be displaced or otherwise impacted when the Southern Comfort Inn extended-stay motel in west Charlotte closes at the end of June. The June 30 closure was announced at Charlotte City Council's business meeting on Tuesday, where Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she had contacted local housing initiatives and other resources. The goal is to help the displaced hotel residents land on their feet as Charlotte struggles with what WBTV reports to be a need of 38,000 low-cost units for 55,000 Charlotteans unable to pay for housing.

A letter penned to the council by motel general manager Traci Canterbury Jones attributed the closure to unpaid rents from some tenants, adding that the motel only drew in roughly $20,000 per month of the $45,000 to $55,000 it costs to serve residents during the same time period. "We are at a complete loss and painfully realize that closing is the only option unless someone can make something happen quickly," Canterbury Jones added, according to WSOC.

Looking to address the Queen City's affordable housing disparity are a pair of projects courtesy of Vivo Living and the West Charlotte Land Trust, which respectively look to transform a separate hotel into economical living spaces and build 120 new units.

Viva le living: Vivo Living, a California-based company that usually constructs luxury loft apartments has been scooping up former hotels in places like South Carolina and Maryland, now looks to do the same in Charlotte. Instead of its traditional pre-furnished spaces, Vivo Livings' rooms at a former hotel on North Tryon Street will likely make way for more barebones amenities available at rents 20% below the standard market value. Meeting rooms and lobbies will be hollowed out in favor of Wi-Fi lounges and fitness centers, bringing Vivo's selection of repurposed road stops to 19.

In land we trust: While an exact number of affordable units has yet to be announced in the North Tryon space, Charlotte's West Side Community Land Trust has an exact figure in mind for how many senior units it should build anew along West Boulevard: 120. Open to qualifying residents over the age of 55, the property would, like all of the WSCLT's sites, remain affordable while under the trust's ownership.

While Charlotte's eastern half is riper with vacant land for new low-income developments, the 4.5-acre swatch of West Boulevard woodland that will eventually hold the multi-family facility is perhaps more valuable because so much land in west Charlotte is being gobbled up by corporate landlords.

Titled the Historic Nathaniel Carr Senior Community after a prominent developer who built up the area around the boulevard into one of Charlotte's first predominately Black neighborhoods, the land trust hopes construction will kick off in September. Bank of America is putting a hand on the project through a $600,000 grant, WCNC reported.

3. Mecklenburg median: What can Charlottea-area homebuyers expect to pay?

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This map shows how much Charlotte homebuyers can expect to pay to live in different corners of the city.(Courtesy of Redfin)

As Charlotte's supply of affordable housing shrinks, home sale prices continue to grow, echoing a WRAL-reported trend that ranked the Queen City's real estate growth as the second-highest in the country between December of 2020 and 2021. That timeframe saw Charlotte home sale totals increase by 36%, and as of April real estate studies showed that number had reached a new high: $393,344. That's a 21.4% increase over the roughly $309,000 stickers attached to real estate listings in April of 2021.

According to Redfin, Charlotte has a "very competitive" real estate market, with most homes picking up buyers within 23 days and some selling within four days of hitting the market.

For a deeper, neighborhood-by-neighborhood examination of Charlotte's average home costs, check out The Charlotte Observer's interactive median price checker, which launed in February.

4. Weekend reading list

It was a busy week in Charlotte. and the Roundup can only be so long. Here are a few stories that weren't touched upon but still deserve readers' attention.

  • Sand stories: Though summer won't arrive until June 21, beach season has beckoned early, sending many Charlotteans east, north and south to North Carolina's cost. Whether readers are driving to the beach, hoping to bring their dog to the drift or head down to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, The Charlotte Observer has a series of stories offering vacation-faring advice.
  • Reggae retail: Local entrepreneur and seller of all things Jamaican Carolyn Barber celebrated the 25th anniversary of her first storefront in an unfamiliar location this year. Chronicling both Barber's business and the cultural shift at Plaza Midwood, Queen City Nerve spoke with the veteran business owner in the publication's usual in-depth style.
  • Health care headache: It looks likely that several hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians will soon start to qualify for the state's Medicaid program, but some medical experts in the Tar Heel State are concerned about other aspects of a recently passed bill heading to Gov. Roy Cooper. Expressing fear over outside entities having full decision-making power over what care a facility can and can't provide, policy advocates told WFAE that they would like to see some language refined.

5. Eight-day weather forecast

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Weather data pulled from Weather.com(Collin Cunningham/Canva)

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

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