CHARLOTTE/MECKLENBURG

As the old ditty goes, “nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina.” That sentiment especially rings true in the North Carolina city of Charlotte. Named for Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland in the late 1700s, the “Queen City” is indeed one of the state’s crown jewels.

More than 100 people per day are moving to Charlotte due to the robust economy, relatively low cost of living, affordable real estate, and the exceptional quality of life it offers families and singles alike.

What Makes Charlotte NC Special

As the largest city in the state and the 16th largest in the nation with more than 870,000 residents, Charlotte remains blessed with a distinct sense of community. There are many unique neighborhoods, each with different vibes and amenities. Each has a variety of entertainment and dining options, as well as many types of housing from which to choose. Charlotte also offers a wide variety of employment opportunities that are available here across a bevy of industries and trades.

The vast level of job and personal growth opportunities, sense of community, and life enrichment is reflected in the City of Charlotte’s progressive vision statement: “The City of Charlotte will be a model of excellence that puts citizens first. We will be a platform for vital economic activity that gives Charlotte a competitive edge in the marketplace. We will partner with citizens and businesses to make this a community of choice for living, working and leisure activities.”

Charlotte is ideally centered in the state, offering easy drives to both the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains or the pristine Atlantic beaches that hug the shoreline. This city is served by the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the 11th busiest airport in the United States, making it a snap for residents to get anywhere in the world. If you want to get around the city without a car, Charlotte has several options. Charlotte Area Transportation Service (CATS) provides both bus routes throughout the city and a shuttle to the airport. Commuters can also take the Lynx Light Rail, the city’s high-speed rail system.

Employment Opportunities

Traditionally known as a financial and banking hub, Charlotte serves as the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo, making it the second-largest banking city in the United States behind only New York. Charlotte is home to more than 10 Fortune 1000 companies, including Belk, Shutterfly, Duke Energy, Lance and Nucor.

The city, however, has recently seen a lot of growth in the tech sector with many new businesses moving in and existing ones expanding operations. Over the past seven years, the number of tech jobs in the region grew by 30 percent, more than double the growth of the U.S.

Charlotte added more than 118,000 jobs at software and technology companies over the same time period. In 2017, Forbes magazine ranked Charlotte No. 2 on its list of “The Cities Creating the Most Tech Jobs.”

In the latest tech growth headlines, the City of Charlotte announced in late October that Microsoft is bringing 430 new jobs here along with investing $23.9 million to expand operations in the city. Microsoft joins Lowe’s, Honeywell, BB&T, SunTrust, and many other companies that are either expanding in or relocating to Charlotte. Online mortgage lender Better.com announced in September it planned to hire 1,000 people as part of a new Charlotte office. Also, artificial intelligence firm Stratifyd announced it will add around 200 jobs in Charlotte, investing $3.25 million in its expansion.

The unemployment rate in Charlotte is just 3.7 percent, making it one of the best places for jobs in the nation. Major employers in the city include Atrium Healthcare System, Wells Fargo, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Novant Health, American Airlines, grocers Harris-Teeter and Food Lion, and Duke Energy Corp. The median annual salary in Charlotte is $50,000 per year.

The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance offers a handy cost of living calculator that will let you compare with your current city. You can access the calculator via this URL: https://charlotteregion.com/eco-dev/cost-of-living-calculator/. It’s almost guaranteed that you will be saving money by moving here.

Education

Charlotte has a wide array of educational institutions from which to choose, including public schools, private schools, colleges and universities.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System (CMS) is one of the most highly ranked school systems in the country with a graduation rate of more than 85 percent. Playing host to more than 148,000 students across 75 individual schools, the system supports 94 elementary schools, 46 middle schools, 32 high schools and three alternative schools.

In a dramatic display of the city’s inherent diversity, public school system students hail from 183 countries and speak 197 languages. With a 1-to-1 student|technology ratio, CMS is a leading school district in promoting digital teaching and learning.

For those seeking higher education, Charlotte does not disappoint as more than 40 colleges and universities call the city home. A partial list of the major schools includes UNC Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, Central Piedmont Community College, and Queens University. There are also satellite locations for many popular colleges in the region.

UNC Charlotte, the city’s largest university, has grown from a small school to a major research university with enrollment growth of over 33 percent over the past 10 years. This makes it the fastest growing institution in the UNC System. This growth has also resulted in an explosion of development in the University City area of Charlotte. Once a sleepy suburb, the area is now a hub for technology and healthcare research centered on University Research Park.

UNC Charlotte also just fielded a football team for the first time in school history in 2013. The team has high hopes as it has just entered into NCAA Division I play after two seasons at Division II.

Affordable Housing

For those looking to buy a home in Charlotte, the median home sale price is slightly below the national average. Housing costs average just over $213,000 per year as compared to the national average of $244,000 per annum.

There are many terrific neighborhoods within Charlotte’s borders, including Uptown, Dillworth, Sharon Woods, Providence Park, Fourth Ward, Southend, East End, Central North End, South Park, Myers Park, Ballantyne, and many others.

Uptown, actually located in downtown Charlotte, is an urban neighborhood that caters to younger professionals and singles. Residents have many options for housing, including apartments, townhomes, and condominiums. There are bars, restaurants, and shopping venues that play host to some of Charlotte’s finest merchants. Uptown also offers residents easy access to the Panthers, Hornets and Knights games, which all have their home venues located nearby.

The venerable Myers Park neighborhood is known for its luxurious homes and affluent population. Selwyn Avenue plays host to gourmet grocery stores and restaurants. The neighborhood is also home to Theatre Charlotte, which is also the longest running theater in the state. Myers Park even has its own national historic district.

Dilworth, beside Myers Park, is also a popular neighborhood among singles and families. East Boulevard runs right through the center and offers many popular restaurants, clothing boutiques, coffee shops and bars. Dilworth is home to Freedom Park, the Charlotte’s “Central Park,” with a variety of trails and a beautiful lake. The Discovery Place Nature Museum is also located in Dilworth.

One of the most sought after neighborhoods in Charlotte is Ballantyne. This affluent area borders the South Carolina line and features all of the amenities that you look for in a residential neighborhood. The area is home to the Ballantyne Village shopping center which is a hub for shopping and upscale restaurants. An 18-hole public golf course only adds to Ballantyne’s appeal.

Activities

If you love the outdoors and adventure sports, you are going to love the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Located along the Catawba River, the center features the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Serving as a training grounds for the U.S. National White Team and the U.S Olympic Team, patrons can enjoy kayaking, whitewater rafting, stand up paddleboarding, zip lining, mountain biking and other water and outdoor sports.

NASCAR racing has a long history in the Charlotte area with the Charlotte Motor Speedway playing host to several big name races during the season. These include the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, the NASCAR All-Star Race, and the Bank of America Roval 400. Also, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is in Charlotte, offering fans a deep dive into the history of the sport.

If you are a golf fan, you are also in luck. There are many great courses in Charlotte and the surrounding areas to challenge your skills. The Professional Golf Association’s Wells Fargo Championship is also held in Charlotte. Held at the beautiful Quail Hollow Golf Course, the tournament has grown into one of the most prestigious purses on the PGA Tour.

Relaxing at a golf club is also a favorite pastime of people in Charlotte. There are many reasons why young professionals, career established people and families join Pine Island Country Club, but it all comes back to the fresh approach to the country club lifestyle that Pine Island offers. The peaceful course is one of the finest USGA regulated golf courses in the region, providing fun and challenging play for golfers of all ages and skill levels. Pine Island is convenient to get to, convenient to play on and one of the best conditioned courses in the area. Membership packages give you the opportunity to enjoy a private club lifestyle at one of the most unbelievable and affordable values in the Charlotte area.

Even non-golfers love all that Pine Island offers with an always active Social calendar. From year-round member events like five course Wine and Beer Dinners, to Holiday and Theme parties, and wonderful ‘farm to table’ dishes, all in a casual and friendly atmosphere, Pine Island is the perfect place to let go and enjoy.

Major enhancements and exciting amenities are planned for 2020 and beyond. This includes an enhanced aquatic area with a heated saltwater pool and a fun-loving Tiki Bar & Grille to make your next pool day about so much more than just swimming. Members will also have access to a state-of-the-art Fitness & Wellness Center with the latest in exercise equipment, group fitness classes, meditation, Pilates and Yoga to provide all you need to focus on your wellness. Pine Island is on the brink of becoming an elite social club experience.

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