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Business Begins in South End

Discover why South End is quickly becoming the most-desirable place to work in the Southeast—and why you’ll want to find your next office here, too.

South End is on the rise, and while our dynamic district may be located at the “end” of Uptown, we’re a destination for beginnings. Since the mid-1800s, the area has been a place of possibility, innovation and inspiration. And now in the early 2020s, our amazing amenities, hip vibe and vibrant community continue to attract and lift up every type of professional from every walk of life: entrepreneurs and small business owners, corporate employees, freelancers and consultants, and beyond. Our neighborhood is a place where ideas come alive and people come together. Discover why South End is quickly becoming the most-desirable place to work in the Southeast—and why you’ll want to find your next office here, too.

A History of Innovation

South End has had a spirit of innovation from the beginning. In the early 19th century, people flocked to the area in hopes of striking it rich during the nation’s first gold rush. In 1852, the first train arrived in the Queen City through the South End area, positioning the area as a hub of business. Then 50 years later in 1892, locally owned Atherton Cotton Mill opened, leading the way for other mills to open over the next few decades, creating Charlotte’s first industrial district and transforming the local economy. The area’s early days set the tone for a culture of hope, resilience, creativity and risk-taking. 

Throughout the 20th century, South End continued to see innovators and pioneers call the area home, from the man who created “air conditioning” and the first bottlers to incorporate under the Pepsi name to the patent holder of 16 designs of high fashion women’s silk hosiery, and even the creator of some of our favorite childhood snacks. (Read more details about South End’s innovative history here.)

The area saw ups and downs. Gold mines and factories closed, but new businesses and entrepreneurs took their place. The creative personality of the area brought artists and designers to the scene in the mid-1900s. The Charlotte Art League opened in 1964, creating the first organized group to support creatives in the community, a tenet of South End that continues today.

Through the 1990s to today, South End has continued to evolve and adapt. An organization was created to promote and revitalize the area, adaptive reuse projects brought new life into old mills (and new projects continue to today), more restaurants, retail and residential started opening, and the LYNX Blue Line light rail started service, one of the biggest game changers. The light rail spurred a wave of development that transformed the once industrialized district into a vibrant, progressive, walkable neighborhood. Creative entrepreneurs opened breweries, tech startups, marketing agencies, interior design companies, architecture firms, art galleries, retail shops and more. South End had arrived (again) as a hot, if not the hottest, destination to live, work and play in the Charlotte region. 

The Intersection of Culture & Commerce

Today, South End’s intersection of culture and commerce is thriving more than ever. Creative entrepreneurs, unique small businesses and major corporations are popping up on every corner (literally). With the inspiring, adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit of the innovators who came before them as role models, the business community in South End supports collaboration over competition, creativity over formality, and thinking differently over the status quo. Pair the like-minded community of innovative professionals with the abundant area amenities that support the “work hard, play hard” mentality, and you have a winning formula for a “best place to work” experience in South End—and that’s exactly why professionals and entrepreneurs, especially millennials, continue to be drawn to the area.

“In my opinion, no other area in the Southeast has this much to offer in a single neighborhood. South End is quickly becoming the most exciting live, eat, work, play destination in the region,” Adam Williams of Legacy Real Estate Advisors told the Charlotte Business Journal. “It’s in the national spotlight for a reason, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

When the more than 17,000 workers who call South End their work home step outside the office, they are within walking distance of nearly 100 restaurants, coffee shops and bars, approximately 125 shops, several craft breweries, more than 20 fitness studios, nearly 30 salons/spas, four LYNX Blue Line light rail stops, the 3.5-mile Rail Trail, five Charlotte Joy Ride e-bike sharing stations and dozens of public art pieces. All the conveniences you need are in one spot, enhancing the quality of life and experience for employees and residents (and those lucky ones who choose to be both).

The business community in South End is made up of a diverse mix of business types, representing a wide range of industries. Nearly 50% of the restaurants and shops in South End are locally owned small businesses. Several forward-thinking startups also found their place here, like Tresata, a predictive analytics software company, and technology consultants Torrent Consulting. South End has also attracted major corporations to move their headquarters or start a tech arm of their company here: Krispy Kreme opened its Global Product & Innovation Center, which includes a 24-hour doughnut vending machine and a doughnut wall mural; Lowe’s opened its Global Technology Center in a 23-story office tower; Dimensional Fund Advisors established its East Coast headquarters here; British-based electric vehicle company Arrival is opening its North American headquarters on South Tryon Street; the RailYard is home to one of EY’s Wavespace Growth and Innovation Centers and one of Allstate’s Operation Centers; and LendingTree moved its global headquarters here.

"The evolution of South End over the past few decades has been fascinating … there is no more dynamic and vibrant submarket in all of Charlotte,” said LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda. "Proximity to our financial services partners in Uptown and the amenities of South End, combined with convenient light-rail and highway access, make this an ideal spot for our company and the 500 employees who live throughout the metropolitan area." 

Professionals who don’t have a formal office space are also flocking to South End. Coworking spaces like CoWork by Camden, Tabbris and WeWork as well as shared studio spaces at Dilworth Artisan Station and C3 Lab provide temporary work space for freelancers, consultants, entrepreneurs, ecommerce business owners, artists and more. Another option for professionals is to sign up with Recess, a membership-based tech company that partners with breweries, restaurants and bars that are empty during the day and turns them into flexible workspaces. Wooden Robot Brewery has an ongoing partnership with Recess and is the perfect spot to grab a beer once you log off. 

Be a Part of South End’s Next Chapter

The development momentum in South End is going strong. There are approximately 2.2 million square feet of office space planned or under construction, nearly 300,000 square feet of retail space planned or under construction, more than 3,800 new residential units on the way and 380 hotel rooms in the works. The professionals, entrepreneurs and executives that are working in and investing in South End today are writing the next chapter of South End’s story. Are you ready to be a part of it?

Tell us about your experience working in South End and share photos of your workspace tagging @SouthEndCLT and using the hashtags #SouthEnd and #SouthEndRising. Learn more about growing your business in South End here.