CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A major development is moving into the Queen City, connecting Uptown and South End.
According to a news release, Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development has plans for three buildings near the intersections of East Morehead Street, Morehead Square Drive, South Tryon Street, and East Carson Boulevard.
It will offer up to $750 million in direct investment, with a mix of office, residential, and retail spaces.
The new development is set to transform the area between Uptown and South End with what the developer calls a “world-class live-work-play environment.”
"I think it's exciting because, you know, as two areas that are, you know, great for business, plenty of people are living there as well now,” said Antony Burton, principal researcher with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. “There's plenty of amenities there. So, I think connecting the two, you know, is a huge win for the Charlotte region."
According to the alliance, the Charlotte metropolitan area saw the ninth-fastest growth over the past decade and has 104 people moving into the Charlotte region every day.
Burton said employers are eyeing the South End and Uptown areas as places to attract top talent.
"They want, you know, cool office space, and they want it in locations where there's plenty of amenities around,” said Burton, “so certainly that's the case in upper South End and South End in general and in Uptown."
In order for the new project to built, Midnight Diner, which currently sits on the block of land, will relocate to a “nearby location,” according to a release.
Development has grown around the diner in recent years.
"I remember when there was nothing there,” said Audrey Bell, a long time diner customer. “When they started putting the buildings up, I was just in awe."
The news follows the closing of Price's Chicken Coop in South End after nearly 60 years in business. Zack's Hamburgers in the Lower South End area closed in July after more than 40 years in business, and Mr. K's Ice Cream sold its last soft-serve after more than 50 years in the neighborhood.
Bell said she is sad to see Midnight Diner move out but understands Charlotte is a growing city. She still plans to visit, wherever its new location is.
"I know we have to grow, but when you have places like this, historical buildings that have been here, can you just build around?” said Bell. “We're still going to come."
Burton said the business alliance is working to support existing businesses and welcome new ones to the area.
"As a city, as a region, we understand how important local, existing businesses are,” said Burton. “We need to continue to support them, while also, you know, attracting new businesses and continuing to grow."
Burton said he expects the momentum surrounding South End to continue with a young, well-educated workforce wanting to live in the area and companies wanting to staff up their workforce.
"When companies see people like LendingTree and that sort of thing going into that area, like Lowe's, like Allstate,” said Burton, “I think that really provides a good, you know, proof-case to other companies that this is a great place to be."
Construction on the site is expected to start at the end of 2022.
WCNC Charlotte reached out to Midnight Diner asking where it plans to relocate to next but has not received a response yet.