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Living in Southwest Charlotte

To natives, southwest Charlotte was always just Steele Creek, because for a long time that was the only neighborhood in this part of town.

How times change. Over the past decade, the number of households in southwest Charlotte has doubled. And thanks to the new leg of I-485 which recently opened and the rising housing costs in south Charlotte, southwest Charlotte is expected to be one of the primary residential and business growth spots of the future.

While Steele Creek offers the charm of an established neighborhood, this area has much to offer if you’re in the market for a new home. Recently developed communities line N.C. 49, the main thoroughfare of southwest Charlotte, and higher-end communities are under way on the Mecklenburg side of Lake Wylie. You’ll find southwest Charlotte homes listed in real estate area 7.

The Sanctuary, a 1,300-acre community off Shopton Road West on the shores of Lake Wylie, is one of the most unique developments in the region. Referring to each of its homesites as “preserves,” The Sanctuary’s sites range from two to more than 13 acres, averaging about five acres. The community features 20 miles of nature trails, 200 acres of natural areas and The Camp, a lakefront community center with swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, kids’ room, playground, picnic areas and a boating center. Twenty million-dollar homes are part of the development; homesites range from $300,000 to $2 million.

Another luxury community is The Palisades, covering 1,500 acres of a Lake Wylie peninsula just south of N.C. 49. It offers a Nicklaus Design championship golf course, country club, equestrian center, soccer complex and nature trails. Homes at The Palisades range from the $300s to more than $2 million.

Covering 1,050 acres, Berewick is a mixed-use development near I-485. The development includes office and retail space, as well as multi-family housing in the town center. Berewick also offers several neighborhoods with single-family homes ranging from $140,000 to $450,000.

Following the residential buildup, the area has seen a surge of retail and entertainment growth. The Ayrsley project at I-485 and N.C. 49 includes 140 acres of business development. This new design features shops, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, a branch of the YMCA, and luxury apartments and townhomes designed with the feel of an old European village. Calling itself the “Town Center of Southeast Charlotte,” the development anticipates the creation of 53,000 new jobs, which would make it the second-largest employment district in the state.

For many years, southwest Charlotte was attractive only to industrial companies. Today, it draws high-tech companies and national headquarters, with new buildings and office parks announced frequently.

The 400,000-plus-square-foot campus for Microsoft Corp. is at ArrowPoint, off Arrowood Road. In addition to Microsoft, ArrowPoint’s major tenants include BellSouth and the U.S. headquarters of Royal & SunAlliance Insurance.
Moving its headquarters from Minneapolis, Minn., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association now calls Charlotte home. Aptly located on the Billy Graham Parkway, the 63-acre site features the Billy Graham Center for World Evangelism as well as the Billy Graham Library, which chronicles the history of evangelism and the life of the famous evangelist. The library anticipates thousands of visitors each year, and the center itself Off Carowinds Boulevard is the 31,000-square-foot building and 18-acre Southeast Campus for nondenominational Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, which opened in 2003.

Whitehall, one of Charlotte’s largest office parks, includes a technology park and corporate center. Source Technologies has created its state-of-the-art U.S. headquarters here.

Whitehall Commons, a 585,000-square-foot shopping center – the largest in southwest Charlotte – includes a Wal-Mart and Lowe’s, and plans for residential projects could add 6,500 homes to the mixed-use development.

Within Whitehall’s 700 acres is the 45-acre Whitehall Nature Preserve. Take a tour and you’ll find the preserve, owned by the Catawba Lands Conservancy, is home to several varieties of salamander and frog indigenous to the rare, seasonal wetlands.

You will not believe you’re only minutes from the city when you visit McDowell Park on Lake Wylie. The park features 1,108 picturesque acres of forest where you can hike, picnic, camp or visit the nature center.

Another recreational spot is Renaissance Park, near the Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road. This popular county park includes an 18-hole golf course, athletic fields, biking trails and tennis courts.

Off Tyvola Road, the Charlotte Coliseum, which seats 24,000, hosts numerous concerts and other sporting events throughout the year.

Just around the corner from the Coliseum is the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. While you can visit just about any day of the week, on spring weekends you’ll find the greatest selection of vendors from all over the Carolinas. Wander through each shed and chat with farmers while selecting your produce, flowers, baked goods and even crafts.
Central Piedmont Community College recently opened the Harper Campus off Arrowood Road. The high-tech campus specializes in teaching graphic arts, printing, electronics and welding. It is home to the Harper National Flexographic Center, a key-learning center for those who want to enter the printing field.

The Steele Creek Library on Steele Creek Road near N.C. 49 recently opened its brand-new 15,000-square-foot facility in front of the new Southwest Middle School. The new building provides a wealth of books, technology and programs for families.

Paramount’s Carowinds, a 100-acre theme and water park that straddles the N.C.-S.C. border, is a major family attraction. The young and young-at-heart enjoy more than 100 rides, shows and attractions.

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, US Airways’ largest hub, serves 124 cities with 635 daily departures. The airy, sun-lit terminal welcomes passengers with rocking chairs and piano music, along with shops and restaurants, but you’ll have to move quickly to get a rocking chair – it’s a hot property for folks between flights.