CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A new report from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance shows the Charlotte region had a record five million square feet of office space hit the market last year, leading the nation in office space development.
The area also ranked fourth in the fastest-growing tech hubs in 2021. From 2010 to 2020, the Charlotte region was ranked first.
“Even if you look at the past two years during COVID, kind of a difficult time broadly peaking, tech employment growth grew about six percent,” said Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Principal Researcher Antony Burton.
Being an epicenter for financial institutions primes the area for an overload of FinTech jobs. But Burton found it’s not just tech that’s driving the market, it’s demand for industrial warehouse space as well.
Having four interstates and being within four hours of three different ports is a major draw to manufacturers. The CRBA report show warehouse jobs in the region nearly doubled from 2019 to 2021.
“We have a lot of infrastructure benefits that allow us to draw more development,” said Burton.
Towering high rises and never-ending construction in South End may paint a picture of concentrated growth, but more and more businesses are choosing to travel along the interstate, increasingly finding their homes in Rowan County, University, Ballantyne, and Gaston County.
On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper announced Macy’s would build a new $584.3 million fulfillment center in China Grove, creating nearly 2,800 jobs.
“Because Mecklenburg is growing as fast as it is, and because the land is coming at a premium, some businesses are going further out along the interstate if they need large parcels of land,” said Burton.
One of the greatest causes of growing pains could be finding the manpower to fill all these jobs. But with North Carolina’s university systems pumping out workforce-ready graduates, Burton isn’t too concerned. Not to mention, there’s a constant stream of transplants, mostly from the Northeast, moving into the region.
“Recent numbers just came out last week from the US Census Bureau. We added about 30,000 residents to the Charlotte region last year,” said Burton.
Looking ahead, the growth doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down. CRBA reports there are more than 10 million square feet currently under construction and about 40 million square feet of new development in the pipeline.