GUIDE: The Growing Skyline in Charlotte’s South End

The current and in-progress buildings changing the neighborhood's profile—and what's coming in the future

Charlotte UAV (Click to enlarge.)

SOUTH END HAS LONG BEEN known for its brick-clad industrial buildings of long ago and its ever expanding canvas of apartment buildings. It has never had much of a skyline; its tallest building, the Arlington, stands alone, casting a desert-rose glow on the surrounding landscape.

At the beginning of the year, it was obvious that pretty soon, South End would have a skyline of its own. This year The RailYard, by Beacon Partners, and Dimensional Place, by Cousins Properties opened, adding three more towers.

These are the latest development projects that’ll etch this growing neighborhood’s profile into the sky:


Design Center Tower

Rising from the corner of Camden and Worthington, Design Center Tower will loom over the Design Center. Folks in line at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will have a new interest to observe, while they wait in line for their sweet treats. 

Developed by Childress Klein and Ram Realty, the Design Center Tower will house 2,000 employees of Mooresville-based Lowe’s. The tower will pay homage to the architectural heritage of South End, featuring brick, steel, and glass; simple and strong materials, that carry upward to its 347-foot pinnacle. 

When completed the tower will not only be the tallest building in South End but the tallest building outside of the 277 loop.

    • Height: 347 feet
    • Floors: 23
    • Use: Office and retail
    • Retail: 20,000 square feet
    • Office Space: 375,000 square feet
    • Completion Date: 2021
    • Architect: Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio


Vantage South End

Of the projects that’ll make their presence known in the next few years, Vantage South End might be the most impactful, density-wise. While it may not be as tall as Design Center Tower, it’ll feature three buildings: two office towers, and one hotel. 

When completed in 2021, Vantage South End will serve as the new gateway to the neighborhood, closing the current gap between uptown and South End by light years. 

The project, designed by LS3P, features two unique eleven-floor cantilevered glass office towers, that lean diagonally toward uptown. Their interior facades radiate away from a centrally placed 1-acre park, with ample green space, event space, and public art. The orientation of the buildings will maximize views from not just the office tower, but the 200 key boutique hotel that’ll accompany this project. 

Vantage will also feature 57,000 square feet of retail space, one of the largest offerings of any project under construction in center city. 

    • Height: Office Towers 190 feet each, Hotel tower 250+ feet
    • Floors: Office Towers 11 floors each, Hotel tower 20 floors+
    • Use: Office, Hotel, Retail
    • Retail: 57k square feet
    • Office Space: 577,000 square feet
    • Completion Date: 2021
    • Architect: LS3P


2151 Hawkins

The area around the Design Center and Atherton have been a hotbed for development activity over the past few years, so much so that the main streets in the area are starting to reach full build-out. This phenomenon has lead to surrounding streets like Hawkins getting a piece of the action. 

2151 Hawkins, being developed by Portman Holdings, will benefit from its proximity to Atherton, the Design Center, and its placement along the Rail Trail. This placement is what excites me most about the prospects, as it aims to be a transformative piece to this very important pedestrian asset.

When completed, 2151 will contain 280,000 square feet of office, and 26,000 square feet of retail, including a Sycamore Brewing anchored food hall, oriented toward the Rail Trail. As part of the Sycamore deal, Portman will be purchasing the original brewery and its associated land, for Phase 2 of the development.

    • Height: 225 feet
    • Floors: 16
    • Use: Office, Retail
    • Retail: 10,000 square feet, Sycamore Brewing; 16,000 square feet, additional
    • Office Space: 280,000 square feet
    • Completion Date: 2021
    • Architect: Gensler


Square at South End

Every city has its “Street,” whether it be Michigan Avenue, Broadway or Hollywood Boulevard. In Charlotte, that street is Tryon, and with dwindling space available uptown, developers are turning to South End to provide office users with a South Tryon address. 

The Square at South End, by Beacon Partners, is the latest to call South Tryon home. The Square will be a true mixed-use development, starting with phase one, a 10-floor 150,000 square-foot office tower. Phase 2 will be apartments, and we expect ample retail somewhere between 8,000-10,000 square feet. 

Our favorite part about the project, however, is the lush green park, Wilmore Centennial Park, that will be woven into the fabric of the building, providing green space to a neighborhood desperate for open space. As land gets snapped up, available land for parks is becoming endangered, we love that this building is taking that into consideration. 

    • Height: 190 feet
    • Floors: 10 office, 6 residential
    • Use: Office, Retail
    • Retail: 8k square feet
    • Office Space: 150,000 square feet
    • Completion Date: 2021
    • Architect: Axiom Architecture


The Hawk

The success of the Design Center has been a boon on Camden Road, and the area directly around it. Not only do more people want to work near this area, there is even more desire for homes. 

Rising on the corner of Hawkins Street and Doggett St, The Hawk by Ram Real Estate, looms at the end of Tompkins Alley, the main pedestrian artery of The Design Center. When complete, its 13 floors will contain 71 apartments that promise to offer the most luxurious fits and finishes of any apartments in Charlotte. 

    • Height: 168 feet
    • Floors: 13
    • Use: Apartments, Retail
    • Retail: 6,000 square feet
    • Completion Date: Summer 2020
    • Architect: Cline Design


There are three additional proposed projects in various states of planning, that could prove to alter the South End skyline, but their futures’ are less clear:

Mystery Spectrum Project
In July 2019, local development firm The Spectrum Cos. successfully rezoned 2.16 acres at the corner of Mint Street and Carson Boulevard. The parcel sits at the nexus of uptown, South End and the Gold District, and thanks to its location, could bear a fairly high-density or mixed-use development. Spectrum has not yet disclosed its plans for this parcel, but the high profile nature of the parcel, could lead to another fixture of the growing South End skyline.

Centre South
District Dilworth is slated to rise across South Boulevard from Lincoln’s Haberdashery. The project, a joint venture between CHA (Charlotte Housing Authority) subsidiary Horizon, and The Fallon Company, out of Boston, has shiny renderings, but it has been slow to develop. The potential development is 16.7 acres and could include a wealth of different uses. 

  • 745 new apartments, (145 affordable)
  • 20 for-sale townhomes
  • 330,000 square feet of office space
  • 57,000 square feet of retail space, 
  • 180 room hotel

Stiles East/West Project
On the corner of West Boulevard and the Blue Line, right beside East/West Blvd Station there is a collection of parking lots, behind Grace Covenant, Manchester and Tupelo Honey. If all goes to plan these parking lots will soon be replaced. Out-of-town developers Stiles Corp, and Shorenstein Properties, are planning at least one 23 floor 385,000 sq foot office tower, and in the future, might built a second, where Tupelo and Manchester stand today.

CLT Development is a social media account that covers, explains, and occasionally critiques commercial development in Charlotte, while fostering and leading discussion about urban planning/transit/city building initiatives. It is managed by Clayton Sealey, with the help of contributors. Website and newsletter to come in 1st Qtr 2020.

Categories: The Buzz