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Author: Manager

Referral from CREW Austin member Jane Smith

Thank you to CREW Austin member Jane Smith of JAE Law Group, PLLC for asking me to serve as local South Carolina counsel for her client’s disposition of property in Fort Mill. Interestingly, I had assisted on the client’s acquisition of the property seven years ago!

Nancy Olah, Nancy Olah Law

Keiko Pace

Thank you to Scarlet Powell with AVI-SPL for the recent referral to work with a new client on their conference and huddle rooms! I appreciate you thinking of us and appreciate the opportunity!

Nancy Olah

Thank you to Vanessa Hall with Colliers International Valuation & Advisory Services for providing appraisal services for my client’s medical office property. Nancy Olah (Nancy Olah Law)


CREW Members Working Together

A huge thank you to Gold Sponsor, JLL, for awarding the waste/recycling equipment & services contract for the new Ally Charlotte Center to O’Leary Waste. Developed by Partner Level Sponsor, Crescent Communities, ACC is a wonderful addition to our Center City Skyline!

CREW Charlotte October Luncheon – Empty Spaces

Submitted by Holly Alexander, New South Properties

CREW Charlotte featured “Empty Spaces” as the topic for the October virtual luncheon.  The panel consisted of Cassie McCrain, Managing Director of Real Estate Asset Management at Barings; Paula Saunders, broker at New South Properties of the Carolinas; Jessica Brown, Executive Director at Cushman Wakefield; and moderator Holly Alexander, also a broker at New South Properties.  These local experts dove into how leasing office and retail space has been changing and will accelerate in a post-Covid world.  Many landlords are getting creative with repurposing traditional space and several tenants are looking at those empty spaces opportunistically.  Regardless, retail will likely not look the same and “real estate operators will have to sharpen their pencils and look for creative ways to add value,” McCrain said.  Our local office marking is faring well to date.  Unlike other major metropolitan cities who have seen a dramatic uptick in the subleasing of office space, Charlotte remains relatively unaffected.  Brown stated about 60% of the sublease opportunities in Charlotte measure less than 10,000 square feet, with about a quarter of all sublease space in uptown.  While the jury is still out on the what, we will see changes to how we approach space design, layout and features, including how to better integrate health and wellness into our everyday spaces.

CREW Charlotte November Luncheon: Economic Outlook: The New Crystal Ball

Submitted by Amy Massey, PE, Kimley-Horn

It was a pleasure for CREW Charlotte to have Laura Ullrich, PhD, speak at our November 10th virtual luncheon. Laura, who serves as regional economist at the Charlotte branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, provided an overview of past, current, and potential future economic conditions on both the national and regional levels. Much of Laura’s informative presentation focused on recovery trends in light of changing economic projections for 2020 and beyond compared with what had been expected in late 2019 and even early 2020 due to COVID-19.

With Laura’s primary research focus areas being in higher education, school finance reform, local and state-level tax and expenditure analyses, welfare policy, and the economic impact of local development– all of which are factors in this recovery effort– it is apparent that all sectors have been affected. However, the impacts are not being felt the same in every sector, geographic area, or population demographic. Examples of the hardest-hit and perhaps longer-lead recovery elements would be the hospitality sector, dense urban areas, and lower-income individuals.

Whereas SC is faring slightly better than NC in recovery progress, both Carolinas have more positive momentum than the US overall. Very large metro areas (i.e. NYC) are seeing trends of outflux to smaller metro areas (i.e. Charlotte); however, larger central business districts in the Carolinas (i.e. Charlotte, Raleigh) are seeing a bigger impact due to the lack of office workers, business travel, and the associated trickle effect into other associated sectors. In general, jobs are coming back; just at a slower pace as we continue forward.

Moving on, there are looming questions of how the colder weather will impact us and the economy especially looking at Europe and the unfortunate re-shut-downs happening there. But the recent bright spot with positive vaccine news brings fresh hope in terms of improving our health, happiness, and of course economic recovery in returning to ‘normal’ sooner rather than later.

Click here for Laura's presentation.

Circular Charlotte

submitted by Sivilay Xayasaene with Gresham Smith

Our virtual June luncheon presented by Amy Aussieker, Envision Charlotte Executive Director, highlighted Charlotte as the first in the US to take on the challenge to become a circular city. Circular Charlotte’s model is designed to produce zero waste simply by adopting a comprehensive waste diversion strategy while also creating more than 2,000 jobs. Amy identified business cases of textiles and food waste that can be diverted from landfill and be reused or upcycling food waste into compost.

The Innovation Barn will be the hub for circular economy, housing many case studies. Within the barn is an incubator lab, plastics lab, 3D printer, chipper, extruder, aquaponic garden and hydroponic garden. The labs are open to the public and provide opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop their circular economy ideas. People will have the ability to bring in plastic and make a new phone case or rapidly prototype products straight from the lab. In addition, Electrolux will have a teaching kitchen that will also supply the Café and serve refreshments. Maintained by Envision Charlotte, the Barn is designed by Kim Marks’ team at Progressive AE, constructed by JEDunn at 932 Seigle Avenue and schedule to open late fall.

Members who attended the luncheon expressed excitement to tour the new facility as well as volunteer. More information on the Innovation Barn and what can be recycled can be found here.

To see Amy's complete presentation, please click here.

Mecklenburg County Manager Talks Next Phase Reopening Plans

Submitted by Sivilay Xayasaene

For our July Luncheon, Mecklenburg County Manager, Dena Diorio, provided an overview of how the county responded to covid-19 and details of reopening plans. The detailed timeline provided insight on why decisions were made and how they responded to things that came before we had our first case.

Planning efforts begin on February 28th with the modification of the Pandemic Influenza Response Plan to meet covid-19 and the activation of the Policy Group. The Policy Group includes public health staff, emergency management, CMPD, Atrium Health, Novant Health, medics, CMS, the Sheriffs Office, the Courts, City of Charlotte, the six towns and all our Public Information Team. This group is designed to make collective decisions about our community wide response to covid-19 and allowed tracking of the virus. On March 9th the EOC (Emergency Operation Center) was opened allowing the county to access federal and state dollars. Dena continued to address the challenges of acquiring PPE’s, prioritizing testing with limited test kits, and gaining understanding of what a medical surge would look like for the community.   

The beginning of the crisis started with Governor Cooper declaring a State of Emergency and the county’s first presumptive case of covid-19. CDC recommended guidance were followed. As crisis continued hotels were rented out for homeless residents to increase social distance or isolate those infected.  First responders who were exposed or tested positive and did not want to return home were also provided hotels. Park and rec facilities were open to provide child care for first responders. On March 17th, county services were closed and transitioned to a virtual platform. A shining star during this time was Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) who coordinated the efforts of 210 non-profit organizations that wanted to provide volunteer services and resources to people in the community.

On March 26th, a stay at home proclamation went into effect. By early April conversations started with hospitals on needs for field hospitals. County was asked to coordinate with the state of North Carolina to build a field hospital to manage a surge of 3,000 in hospitals. Projected peak was late April. Construction was ready to begin for the facility at UNCC until FEMA stated federal government would not be able help with any supplies needed or staff in order to make the hospital functional.  Another request was for a 600 bed facility at Charlotte Convention Center. After further evaluation request for field hospitals were withdrawn. On April 16th there were 1,098 cases of covid-19 and projected peak flattened and moved from early May to mid-July.

On April 29th Governor Cooper announced the three phase reopening plan.  On May 8th there were 2,007 cases of covid-19 and the county moved through Phase 1. On May 22nd Phase 2 went into effect with about 3,000 confirmed cases. By June 24th, Governor Cooper extended safer at home order to July 17th and required face coverings when social distancing is not possible. At present date, data continues to show an increase in positive cases. Check out the audio and presentation to hear more about the data collected including questions and answers from the group in attendance.

The Culture of Equality in the Workplace

sumbitted by Colleen Brannan, Branstorm PR

Presented by Caroline Dudley, Managing Director of North American Recruiting for Accenture, our May virtual luncheon was based on recent Accenture research, The Hidden Value of Culture Makers. During this one-hour interactive Zoom session, Caroline kept a group of CREW Charlotte members engaged by making participants apply study findings to their own beliefs and company cultures.

According to the study, the majority of leaders surveyed (68%) believe an inclusive workplace environment/culture is vital to the success of their business but just 21% say it’s a priority (76% cited financial performance.) Interestingly, two thirds of leaders (68%) feel they create empowering environments in which employees can be themselves; raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure. However, just one third of employees agreed.

While it seems we have a long way to go on culture as a priority, Caroline said we can all do our part to create a culture of equality no matter what your role is in the organization. Some suggestions included:

  • incorporate culture into personal goal setting for yourself and those you manage
  • create employee incentives related to culture to celebrate culture makers in your company
  • remember cultures of equality extend outside the workplace to our roles in the nonprofit community and professional organizations like CREW.

When culture makers lead, organizations grow twice as fast. Here’s the Culture Makers video to get the conversation started at your company.

Other Accenture studies, such as Getting To Equal 2017: Closing The Gender Pay Gap and COVID-19 The Industry Impact of Coronavirus can be found at