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Luncheon Summary

The Riverwalk Vision with David Williams of GRH Development Resources

Submitted by: David Rushing

Who you missed: David Williams, Managing Director of GRH Development Resources. David is a 25-year real estate and construction professional who oversees all aspects of the company’s development and construction projects. Dave has completed over $300,000,000 in residential, mixed-use, industrial and office projects throughout the Midwest, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Additionally, he is responsible for managing community relations, permitting and design, and overseeing the company’s project managers. He is also active in business development, property management, working with various agencies to attract additional users to the Riverwalk development, and shared responsibilities for financial institution relationships.

David holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Miami University and a M.S. in Environmental Science & Engineering from Ohio University.

What you missed: "Creating a Vibrant Development Through A Public Private Partnership" was an overview of the Riverwalk development located near the I-77 corridor at the N. Cherry Road interchange on the Catawba River in Rock Hill, SC. David told us about the entire project from start to finish. The property was previously owned by Celanese Corporation of America and operated as a cellulose acetate plant until 2005. In addition to cellulose acetate (a synthetic fiber widely used in the textile industry), Celanese also manufactured bulk chemicals including methanol and formaldehyde, and used large amounts of acetone and benzene to reuse the acetic acid used in the manufacturing process. The facility was self-sufficient and included a power plant, water filtration plant, raw water intake, wastewater treatment plant and landfills, and, at one point, the 2.5 million square-foot facility employed over 2,500 employees. The project included the search and closing on the property(1000 acres zoned for industrial), 2-year demolition and remediation, rezoning, a private/public partnership (detailing scope scale, cost & density needs), filtering through site environmental and physical restraints, utility needs, traffic and access, market studies and a charrette (an intense period of designing or planning) with local politicians, companies and citizens. Riverwalk is now home to several subdivisions with homes by residential developers including Saussy Burbank, Evans Coghill, and Chesmar Homes. Also in development are 300 high-end apartments along the Catawba River. The Giordana Velodrome which hosted the 2012 US Cycling Championships and a BMX Supercross Track are on the property. A YMCA is being constructed to overlook the Giordana Velodrome. In addition, ground breakings are planned for a 1,000,000 square-foot distribution center and a 100,000 square-foot facility providing 360 high-paying jobs. An events center provides wedding receptions and other communal events along the Catawba River and the Riverwalk Trail, a 2.5-mile corridor along the Catawba River, provides hiking and biking opportunities for residents and connects to numerous mountain bike trails within the development. The former TSD post closure units are being developed into baseball and soccer fields that adjoin the residential developments.

Why: The overall goal of the project was to transform a former industrial complex and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) facility into a new mixed use, residential, commercial, and industrial complex. The new Riverwalk development would help catalyze economic redevelopment opportunities in the entire region, while incorporating the natural beauty and surroundings of the adjoining Catawba River. Furthermore, each project stakeholder had individual goals within that overarching goal:

  • Private goals were to address an estimated $45,000,000 environmental legacy and develop a community distinguished by over three miles of river waterfront and a planned mixed use development consisting of authentic housing, shopping, entertainment, office, and schools.

  • Public goals for City of Rock Hill were to cause redevelopment of the former industrial site, replacing the loss of high-wage manufacturing jobs and loss of tax base; and

  • Public goals for the State of South Carolina regulatory agency and U.S. EPA, to successfully support the redevelopment by providing a cooperative and open dialogue to address the environmental legacy economically and quickly, in order to support the successful (job creation, economic activity and taxes) and protective (mitigation of human health and environmental risks) redevelopment of the site.

How: The project was funded without access to commercial financing and had to rely solely on investor equity, salvage recovery, tax incremental financing, and by the use of bond generated funds to install the infrastructure. These funds were needed to cover the $9,000,000 demolition, $3,000,000 remediation, and $50,000,000 infrastructure costs.

Securing the necessary financing for the project required over two years of creative planning, as well as extensive negotiations with multiple local and state entities.

For more information please visit: http://www.brownfieldrenewal.com/renewal-award-project-environmental_impact-riverwalk-24.html. where excerpts of this summary were used.

Sky’s the Limit for Higher Education in the Center City

Who you missed: A panel discussion led by Moira Quinn, Senior Vice President of Communications and Chief Operating Officer for Charlotte Center City Partners. The Panel was Dr. Cheryl Richards, CEO and Dean of Northeastern University Charlotte, Jerry Coughter Executive Director of UNC Charlotte Center City and Joanne Beam, Director of Wake Forest University Charlotte.

Dr. Cheryl Richards began her career in higher education 25 years ago at Colorado State University and has since held leadership posts with the University of Denver, Regis University, EDUCAUSE and Central Piedmont Community College. Dr. Richards has twice been recognized by the Mecklenburg Times as one of Charlotte’s “50 Most Influential Women” and was honored in 2014 as “Woman of the Year.” The Charlotte Business Journal recognized her as a “40 Under Forty” leader as well as one of the “Top 25 Women in Business.” A frequent presenter and speaker, she has also served as guest host for Carolina Business Review.

Dr. Richards holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication, master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education and Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education. She and her husband of 20 years are proud parents of two children.

Jerry Coughter climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2013, helping raise $60,000 through the Rotary Club for Polio victims. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of Hope Haven and is an alumnus of Leadership Charlotte (Class 33). In that capacity Jerry serves as a member of the Alumni Group’s Education Committee, helping to bring informative programing to the community on topics including healthcare and civil discourse. Jerry holds a BS in Molecular Biology from Clemson University, an MS in Microbiology & Immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MBA from the Byrd School of Business at Shenandoah University. He is a doctoral candidate in Science & Technology Policy at the George Mason School of Public Policy. Jerry is a Grade 8 level referee with the United States Soccer Federation and officiates youth soccer matches in North and South Carolina and Virginia. He is the father of two teenage daughters.

Joanne Beam is an active volunteer who currently serves on the board of Good Friends (in Charlotte) Board of Trustees of the Charlotte Latin School, and the Executive Committee of the Association of Philanthropic Council. Beam is well connected within civic and University circles. Recently The Mecklenburg Times named Beam one of “The 50 Most Influential Women.” In 2013, she was named one of the Charlotte Business Journals “25 Women in Business.” In 1998 she was named one of the “Forty Leaders Under Forty” in the Piedmont Triad. Beam grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and moved to North Carolina to earn a degree in business from Wake Forest University.

Moira Quinn’s background revolves primarily around media and management. Moira started at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, as a college intern. She became a studio cameraman and was the first woman in Charlotte to work as a full-time TV news photographer. During the ‘80’s Moira co-hosted, produced stories for and served as interim producer on the TV show PM Magazine. She is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte where she is Trustee Emeritus and on the Board of Advisors for the Knight School of Communication. Moira has also served on the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association where she was President during the University’s Sesquicentennial. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

What you missed: The Growth of Higher Education in Center City and why UNC Charlotte, Wake Forest and Northeastern chose Uptown Charlotte. The discussion centered around 1) how and why these institutions chose Charlotte, 2) how and/or why they chose new or existing facilities, 3) the type of student that is attracted in an urban setting, and 4) how these students impact Charlotte’s growing population post graduation.

Why: Having campuses in Uptown Charlotte has created a dynamic educational outlet for today’s working professional. Being in the middle of the Charlotte metro area enables institutions of Higher Learning to offer advanced degrees with a high level of convenience for these professionals. They can work and provide the wage to their families and further advance their careers by attaining these advanced degrees. Uptown Charlotte, while initially skeptical of their new neighbors, has embraced the Universities and the students by getting involved in community service programs and working together to keep uptown vibrant and desirable. Jerry Coughter remarked, “we would not be successful if only the school was getting into Charlotte, we also needed Charlotte to get into UNCC.”

Charlotte's Economy and Where We are Going with Johnny Harris

Johnny Harris 
John W. Harris formed The Harris Group in January 1992, and in 1999 formed LincolnHarris, an affiliate company of Lincoln Property Company. Johnny is responsible for development and management of over 20 million square feet of property throughout the Southeast and was formerly President of The Bissell Companies, Inc., a major commercial real estate and investment management company.

Johnny, a lifelong Charlotte resident, has served on numerous boards including Piedmont Natural Gas, USAir, Inc, and the National Collegiate Athletic Foundation (NCAA) and has served on the Airport Advisory Committee, NC Department of Transportation and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority. He is also a past Chairman of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, NCAA Final Four Charlotte Organizing Committee, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Sports Commission.

Opening Remarks
Johnny opened his remarks to the crowd of over 225 by sharing that there is no better place to be than Charlotte. With unemployment figures down below 5.5%, with more employees at both Bank of America and Wells Fargo than in 2007, with a greater influx of Millennials into the Queen City and with $750 million in active construction projects in one submarket (SouthPark), this is the “beginning of our golden years”.

Protecting Our Airline
Johnny urged the crowd to work to protect Charlotte’s hub status with American/USAir. The fuel tax break that American receives needs to be extended. He shared that while the $6 million tax break sounds large, the economic impact received from that tax break is over $1.6 billion dollars to our region.

These breaks keep Charlotte attractive and provide us the ability to maintain that hub status. Charlotte Douglas has 683 average daily departures, over 40,600,000 passengers in 2014 (2.3% increase over 2013) and nationwide ranked 6th in movements/operations and 8th in passengers for 2013…

It is 1978 and We’re Atlanta
Airline deregulation sparked Atlanta’s growth.

Johnny outlined that whether you are pro or anti fracking, you have to admit that due to the lowered fuel costs, we are at the beginning of twenty-five years of great economic development.

The prior six year slow down is now fueling extreme demand, not only in multi-family but also in office. He described Ballantyne (and Smoky Bissell) as one of very few places in the country with significant development over the past six years, but said they eventually are going to run out of land.

SouthPark has $750 million in active construction, with another half-billion coming in the next eighteen months.

What is next? Look between the airport and the river. Johnny cites it as the only place with “big land”….. and “big land brings big users, and that is good”.

Well, Not Really Atlanta
We’re growing and we are the place people want to be. Economic Growth, Employment Growth and Millennial Migration – it is all Charlotte.

What Other Things Should We Pay Attention To?
The Intermodal Facility opened last year within the airport footprint and doubled the capacity of Norfolk Southern's prior uptown facility …. But it is already full.

Talk of a High Speed Train at the State level for a connection between Raleigh, Charlotte and Atlanta …. Possibly a privately funded railway (similar to plans for a line between Orlando and Miami).

Medical Services are now the 3rd largest sector in the Charlotte region.

Anything to Worry About?
When asked what concerns him, Johnny didn’t have too much to worry about but did mention the need for strong leadership in Charlotte and in North Carolina. He mentioned running out of viable sites for construction as well as the need to make sure that the quality of what is being built remains a priority.

Final Thoughts
Johnny’s final thoughts were that regardless of where in the country someone lives, if they really do their homework, Charlotte is the place they should strive to be. It is about quality of life and with our proximity to the mountains and the ocean, our airport, cost of living, and job growth, the quality of life in Charlotte is pretty good.

He also shared that had he and his five member operations committee at Lincoln Harris been at a CREW luncheon 25 years ago, they would not have fit in without any women in that group; but today, two of the five positions are held by women and he seemed to imply that CREW probably helped that along!

2015 Outlook for Charlotte Metro and the Carolinas with Frank Warren of Kimley-Horn

Frank Warren, CRE, is a Senior Economist with Kimley-Horn and Associates. With over 25 years of real estate market research, appraisal, and development experience, Frank brings a uniquely comprehensive perspective to consulting assignments. Developer and investor clients rely on his insight to determine demand for commercial and residential projects, and to recommend specific concepts to maximize marketability and value. Frank also works on a wide variety of comprehensive planning and economic development assignments for local governments.

Charlotte’s New Normal? How shifting location preferences and infrastructure investments are driving new development patterns. Frank began his presentation by discussing all the changes that have shaped the City of Charlotte since 1964 including four interstate highways, two airport terminals, three UNC-C campuses, three baseball stadiums, three basketball arenas, the return of rail transit, and the dissolution and rebirth of Center City. Recent job growth in the Charlotte MSA (metropolitan statistical area) was heavily focused in Mecklenburg County, further enhancing it as the employment center of the region. Although, suburban job growth, primarily focused in York and Lancaster counties, has been facilitated through affordable land, state incentives, and business-friendly tax rates.

Demographic shifts are impacting location choices that households and employers are making. Nationally, household formation has dropped dramatically from a peak of two million new households per year to a trough of 500,000 during and following the Recession. The region’s renter household growth has been strongly focused in Mecklenburg County, representing not only organic growth but also pent-up renter demand. Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, will continue to shape real estate. They generally value experiences over possessions, drive less, are always connected, and are increasingly diverse. They also face challenges like student debt, jobs, and incomes.

These employment and demographic shifts have impacted the real estate market throughout the region. Apartment growth has been heavily concentrated in a few submarkets in Mecklenburg County, primarily urban or with access to retail or transit opportunities. Similarly, office and retail vacancy rates and rent growth trends are strongest in urban locations. Development of new office space will likely emerge along the south corridor light rail line in the next five years. Older product in Midtown, Cotswold, Park Road, and Southpark will start to redevelop.

Key Takeaways:

  • Divided Economy . Growth is accelerating in states and metropolitan areas with educated workforces and at least 18-hour urban cores; the balance of the country is trying to remain relevant.
  • Mixed-Use Success . Demographic patterns, lifestyle preferences, and a focus on sustainability will continue to make mixed-use developments attractive.
  • Suburban Redux . With downtown urban areas thriving, suburbs are the next great opportunity.

2014 Excellence Awards

CREW Charlotte celebrated an exciting year at the final luncheon of the year. We spent the afternoon recapping the successes of 2014 and honoring our members. Six members were presented awards for their outstanding contributions. The awards spanned from “Member of the Year” to “Networker of the Year” to “Deal of the Year.” The afternoon’s highlights are as follows:

· Rising Star Award: Emily Buehrer with BLOC Design received the Rising Star award for her extraordinary contributions through her involvement in the Communications Committee and advancement of CREW’s social media presence since becoming a member in March.

· Member of the Year: Whitney Bauman, Marketing and Business Development Manager with MSS Solutions, was honored as Member of the Year, an award that recognizes a CREW member who has made an outstanding contribution to the chapter in 2014. Whitney was an active participant on the Programs Committee and co-chaired the Queen City in Pink Committee. Through her efforts, CREW Charlotte’s Queen City in Pink campaign had a record year with over 275 participating buildings.

· Networker of the Year Award: This award was presented to Carrie Sharp, Sales Partner at Indoff Commercial Interiors, for her demonstrated efforts as a master networker actively sending referrals and business to other CREW members.

· Outreach Award:: Past CREW Charlotte President, Margaret Martin, CFO, MECA Realty received the Outreach award due to her service and promotion of the success of women in commercial real estate.

· Deal of the Year:This award recognizes a CREW Charlotte member who spearheaded a commercial real estate transaction including multiple CREW members and best exemplifies the capability to handle a commercial real estate deal from start to finish. The award was presented to Cristy Nine, Vice President and transaction manager of CRESA, for completing the US Synergetic corporate headquarters relocation project in Fort Mill. Under an exceptionally tight deadline, the project team, which involved eight CREW member companies, delivered.

· President’s Choice Award: This CREW member or company made contributions throughout the year that were vital to the ongoing success of the chapter. It was presented to Wanda Townsend with Johnston Allison & Hord. Both Wanda and Johnston Allison & Hord have provided long-running contributions, and have been instrumental in the success of CREW Charlotte.

Lack of Available Space in the Charlotte Metro Area

Who you missed: Ronnie L. Bryant, CEcD, FM, HLM is President & CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership. Mr. Bryant leads the team that promotes the 16-county Charlotte USA region throughout the world as a premier location for businesses considering expansion or relocation. Mr. Bryant has more than 20 years of technical, managerial and economic development expertise, and a proven track record of establishing and implementing successful economic development programs. He specializes in existing industry expansion and retention, with a strong emphasis on regionalism and marketing

What you missed: Evolution of Economic Development in Charlotte: Mr. Bryant discussed three key elements that need to be on everyone’s radar screen as we consider economic development:

  • Structure: When considering the delivery of economic development services in our region, what has changed and what should we be doing differently to continually challenge ourselves to raise the bar and break down barriers?

  • Focus: We have to be laser focused, because our competition is. We need to understand how to meet the needs of existing businesses; the resources that are necessary to recruit new businesses; and how we can encourage entrepreneurs to choose the Charlotte region to implement their new ideas.

  • Space: Everything in economic development has a real estate component. In today’s competitive market, timelines for providing space with proper square footage, zoning, infrastructure, etc. is very tight. We need to have options for real estate that already meet the needs of potential businesses in order to be competitive with other regions.

If we can continue to understand these three principals and get them right, the Charlotte region will continue to attract the economic development we need to sustain our community and remain competitive for the long haul.

Why: Executing economic development as a single jurisdictional unit by itself is a setup for failure. By combining the resources of the various jurisdictions within the 12 North Carolina and 4 South Carolina counties that comprise the Charlotte region, we can gain an advantage in competing against other regions. The next evolution of economic development for Charlotte will be the creation of a Piedmont – Atlantic mega region, combining the resources of the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and parts of Alabama. This will allow the southeast to compete with the northeast and northwest where mega regions have already been formed to pool resources in attracting new business to larger regional footprints. We can no longer see Atlanta as our competition. 

Critical to the evolution of economic development is understanding the role that the evolution of the real estate landscape plays in supporting business development and retention. Mr. Bryant believes that the Charlotte region’s best years are ahead if we do not become complacent, but instead work together to ensure that the resources, including space in the form of appropriate real estate opportunities, are available as recruitment tools for attracting new investment in our region.

Business Imperative for Future Organizational Success

Who you missed: Valerie McMurray, Human Management Consultant and Board Certified Executive Coach with the NorthStar Consulting Group. Valerie has dual Masters of Science in Organization Develpment and Executive Coaching from McColl School of Business at Queens University. She is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation and Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education. She has been trained/certified in a variety of assessment and leadership programs including Myers Briggs Type Instrument, FIRO-B, Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, WorkPlace Big Five Profile, MSCEIT, Gallup, DISC, CareerLeader, Servant Leadership, Staub Leadership, and Wilson Learning Systems.

 

What you missed: If you missed our last CREW luncheon, you missed an excellent presentation by Valerie McMurray entitled “Business Imperative for Future Organizational Success”.

McMurray explored statistics/findings regarding women in the workplace and their overall economic power. Studies have shown that companies with a higher percentage of women at the top benefit from the following results:

– Neutralization of the group think phenomenon

– Increase in new ideas

– More & better innovations

– Enhanced company reputation

– Well balanced approach to all aspects of the business

Studies have also revealed that women are the breadwinners in 40% of US homes, control 80% of consumer spending, and that achieving greater gender parity would increase the national GDP by 12% by 2030.

Why: McMurray concluded by sharing the following “Top 5 Women Executive Success Factors”:

– Lifelong Learning

– Self Awareness & Openness to Feedback

– Effective Communication Skills

– Being a Risk Taker

– Building Strong Relationships

The Data Center Market: The Data Center Impact on Charlotte's Commercial Real Estate

Who you missed: Ben Rojahn with CBRE’s Data Center Solutions Group moderated a panel comprised of David Jones, Co-Founder and President & CEO of Peak 10; Todd Aaron, Co-Founder and Co-President of Sentinel Data Centers; and Martin Walsh, Vice President of National Mission Critical for Balfour Beatty.

What you missed: CREW Data Center Presentation: As electronic file storage has become critical to businesses of all types and sizes, the infrastructure needed to securely store data has become a niche industry and an area of significant growth. Businesses of varying sizes often look to offsite facilities for storing data, creating an industry focused on providing the structures needed, and therefore creating a demand for construction expertise in building the specialized facilities, as well as companies to manage them. Balfour Beatty’s Mission Critical division combines the company’s extensive construction experience with a specialized knowledge of the IT and security installations required to create a secure facility. Peak 10 works with smaller businesses or specific divisions of larger corporations that have decided to outsource their data storage. Sentinel Data Centers works with very large enterprises that may have the resources to invest in their own data storage facilities, but choose to have the flexibility to better react to changes in the market by allowing a third party to invest the capital needed to develop and manage the facilities.

Why: While those of us involved in commercial real estate may not think a great deal about data storage on a daily basis, we all rely on it in various ways. Financial institutions, health care systems and major retailers all store personal data about each of us that needs to be safe from cyber-crimes as well as natural disasters. As we rely more and more on the ability to have everything we need at our fingertips, stored in the “cloud,” data storage facilities will continue to be a growth sector. The construction of these facilities requires traditional real estate development activities such as site selection, design and construction, including electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems, as well as specialized construction of security and IT infrastructure.

Speed Networking

CREW Charlotte was excited to bring back Speed Networking for our August luncheon. It offered our members and guests a chance to share their most dynamic business statement, otherwise known as an elevator speech. Movers and Shakers moved throughout the room, making rapid-fire connections.

Through this experience we learned that Speed Networking is not a super highway to true business building. Our audience ended the afternoon with a hand full of business cards and a brief introduction to a person’s business interests. Like every networking opportunity, the key to success in Speed Networking is follow-up. A lack of follow-up will prove to be a quick road to nowhere.

This fun event provided our members with an opportunity to get revved up and enjoy life in the fast lane. CREW Charlotte hopes that we see an uptick in our “Members Making Deals” website link in the weeks following this event!

Sustainability Equals Real Money: The Whole Impact of Sustainability on Charlotte

Who you missed: Amy Aussieker is the Executive Director for Envision Charlotte, where she is responsible for developing strategic plans for community outreach, fundraising, vendor and partner relationships. Amy’s background is a blend of corporate, non-profit and entrepreneur expertise. She spent several years as Group Vice President for Sales and Marketing for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for leadership, fundraising and community relations. She also served as a business development and community affairs executive with Balfour Beatty Construction, and she founded, operated and recently sold a successful retail business.

Amy has previously served as a board member for the Arts and Science Council, co-chair for the School Bonds, chair for the Hot Jobs/Cool Communities initiative for the City committee, co-chair of Charlotte’s Citizen Transit Advisory Group and a board member for Slow Food Charlotte. She has been recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 award winner and a Top 25 Women in Business Award recipient.

What you missed: Amy and her team strive to help develop Charlotte, NC into a global model of environmental sustainability. Launched in 2010, Envision Charlotte believes that environmental sustainability, when combined with a pro-business approach, benefits the regional economy. Uptown Charlotte, NC currently has 61 participating buildings with 21 million square feet of office or commercial space, hosting 67,000 workers. Through Envision Charlotte, regional corporate and government leaders are working together to measure factors of sustainability in real time through individual sensors on each participating building.  The goal is to make Charlotte one of the smartest cities in the world, resulting in a superior place to do business. Those factors of environmental sustainability are broken down into 4 pillars; Air, Water, Waste, and Energy.

Air: Charlotte ranks 19th worst in the country for air pollution. The energy that we use while commuting to work, working in our offices, and in our homes leads to the production of air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions and smog. Over the next 5 years, Envision Charlotte aims to deploy innovative programs to reduce energy use and promote cleaner air, including ride and drive programs, promoting the use of electric vehicles, and other forms of alternative transportation.

Water: Demand for water is expected to exceed supply within the next 30 years. Uptown Charlotte uses 238,000,000 gallons of water every year. Envision Charlotte has developed a program to track and report water usage in uptown buildings called Smart Water Now. Through this program they are working with building owners, managers, engineers, and tenants to take simple steps to reduce water usage and improve efficiency.

Waste: With over 100,000 pounds of waste generated each day in uptown Charlotte, the landfills that’s serve the city are on track to be full within the next 5 years. Envision Charlotte aims to divert at least 20% of that waste away from the landfill by increasing recycling programs and sensoring waste from buildings to study how they can reduce their production of waste.

Energy: 30% of Uptown Charlotte's energy is wasted in office buildings. Envision Charlotte has a goal of reducing 20% of Charlotte’s energy use in the next 5 years through Smart Energy Now. Through this program, office workers and business leaders are becoming more educated on how small simple changes in their daily habits and routines can have a huge impact on overall energy use. Since Envision Charlotte has started measuring energy use there has been a reduction of 8.2%, with 6.2% coming from changes in behavior alone.

Why: The message is simple. By lowering the amount of energy use, waste production, and water consumption, you will lower the cost of doing business in Charlotte, and therefore bring in more business and opportunity!

Envision Charlotte believes that everyone can make a difference in helping Charlotte become more environmentally sustainable. Because of their hard work, Charlotte, NC, is well on its way to becoming the most sustainable urban core in the country.